Mobile Apps and APIs: Everything You Need To Know
If you didn't know, mobile apps and APIs are driving business growth and connections. As of 2017, Google Play Store reported 2.8 million available apps, with Apple's App Store reporting 2.2 million available apps. While originally offered as tools for productivity and information retrieval, such as calendars and email, the market has quickly expanded to the demands and needs of users. Other tools, such as social networking, utilities, photos, and video players, are among the most popular app types for popular operating system stores.
As apps have gained notoriety for popular mobile devices, the need for organizations to allow users to access information in a seamless and quick manner arose. In the creation of a mobile app, it is very likely that some form of backend integration will be implemented to make the app work. This is where APIs integrating with apps came to fruition. An API, application program interface, is a software intermediary that allows 2 or more applications to communicate with each other. Essentially, without the introduction of APIs, mobile apps would be limited in their capabilities.
Here's everything you need to know about the API and mobile app connection.
APIs help to deploy to multiple platforms
One of the major benefits of focusing on an API driven mobile app is the ability to deploy to multiple operating systems and platforms. With storage, UI components, and processing being shifted and delivered to the backend of an app through an API, frontend code can be reduced. This change in app creation reduces the barriers that come with migration, as porting the application will need less work.
Related article: Why You Should Port Your Android App to iOS or Vice Versa?
APIs increase communication & connection
Users demand more than just efficiency and performance from their mobile applications, they also insist on a more connected experience. Easily and instantly interacting with the digital world around them without leaving the mobile application space is a priority most users expect. Regardless of the platform or application software they run, users want the data that drives their experiences to be in synchronization.
For this experience to happen, the touch-point of a mobile app needs to be provided through backend systems from an API. APIs are what facilitate the real-time seamless flow and connection of data between devices and apps that mobile users desire.
Related article: How to Integrate Google Maps into Ruby on Rails App
APIs power mobile app experiences
There are many design choices developers have to make when creating and implementing network-based APIs, with RESTful APIs among the most popular. Interfaces using these APIs are easily accessible via HTTP, and are the easiest to call from for mobile apps. As API-first strategies have become an increasingly popular design to focus on, mobile apps are built around the creation of the API.
With well-designed interfaces, mobile apps are moving to have business logic and processing to the backend, requiring apps to have less change. With APIs powering backend systems, developers can control and update an app with ease.
APIs are time savers
APIs put an end to the need of writing entire code from scratch. With readily available pre-built APIs out there to use for free from top web services, the mobile app development cycle can be reduced and shortened. For example, mobile app game developers are able to use and integrate APIs from Google Drive or DropBox within their mobile game. This API that is integrated allows users to save game sessions within the cloud-based storage, which can then be retrieved at any time. The developer is able to use this code within the game, instead of writing new code to facilitate these features.
APIs add social interaction
The majority of mobile apps include features to share information on various platforms. Through APIs, users are able to customize their mobile app experience by allowing users to connect to other sites and applications through a mobile app. Social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, can have articles relayed, purchases made, and comments with other users on multiple networks through the use of APIs.
Mobile apps are created to perform the most basic tasks and functions, such as communicating, interacting, and delivering. APIs are the bridges that translate the features of operating systems, applications, or any other technological services for procedural use. When implemented simultaneously, mobile apps and APIs can deliver a seamless experience to users without additional hassle to the developers.
This is a guest post by Nick Andrew Rojas. Nick is a self-taught serial entrepreneur who has worked with various startups as a business consultant. He's also a journalist focusing on technology, marketing, and social media. He loves meeting new people online and being challenged with new projects. He loves to connect, so reach out on Twitter! @nickarojas.