For any modern software company, APIs are essential in ensuring everything is connected and functioning correctly. These Application Programming Interfaces take external services and integrate them into applications, link data sources to internal applications, and much more.
Due to their importance, it’s imperative that your organization’s APIs are at optimal performance. A sluggish API can result in a substandard user experience. Plus, if extended downtime occurs due to slow APIs, this will impact all areas of your company and prove extremely costly.
There is, however, good news. There are various proven and effective steps you can take to optimize API performance. The following guide will place the spotlight on tactics you should integrate.
Security is the priority
It might seem like an obvious point, but a surprising number of organizations overlook the importance of API security. Yet if your APIs are exposed, hacked, or broken, it could lead to the exposure of sensitive data – the type that could cause your organization irreparable damage.
There are various ways in which an API can be attacked. As an example, a DDoS attack might result in the severe degradation of the API performance. If your API is set up for online purchasing, this can make it susceptible to inventory denial attacks.
This list goes on and on.
Even though effective API security is difficult to achieve due to the potential threats and continued evolution of technology, it is essential your company stays on top of it to keep your precious business data safe.
One of the best and easiest methods to enhance API performance is caching. Say you have requests which regularly deliver the same response. Instead of having your API suffer from excessive database queries, you can take this response and use a cached version.
If you utilize a stock quote API, for example, you might use this to find out the prices of stocks at the end of the day. As the response (stock price) changes just once each day at 4:00 pm EST (once the market closes), this response can be cached for the rest of the day. The result: unnecessary database queries are not made to return the stock price, as it is ultimately unchanged.
It’s true: most APIs don’t actually have massive payloads. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule. Some organizations that deal with a lot of numbers and stats, like an analytics company, may have to return an entire year of data. Not only do large payloads like this take extensive time to produce on the server, but that time is only extended when downloading on a client.
There are ways to limit payloads. You can use gzip to compress the payload, which reduces its overall size. GraphQL is also available where clients only request the data they actually require from the server.
A faster network
Even if you have the best designed and efficient APIs, this can count for little if you’re running on a poor network. Always ensure you work with reputable, high-quality hosts and have the right cloud infrastructure in place.