The Business Case for Extensible APIs
In today's fast-paced digital world, innovation and speed are critical for companies offering a client-facing application to retain their competitive edge.
Despite the need for rapid and innovative deployments, backend development has long been a cumbersome process, lacking substantial improvements to developer experience that their frontend counterparts have seen in recent years to optimise workflows.
One area of friction for backend devs are APIs, or Application Programming Interfaces, which allow applications to talk to one another, providing an accessible way to exchange data across organisations. Up until now, developers have had two options when setting up APIs:
Build everything from scratch
Use an off-the-shelf solution to quickly build an API from a database or a schema
Building from scratch: A long and winding road
Take for example Company X, a neobank startup wanting to deploy a client app.
Building the application’s API from scratch can be a time-consuming and costly process, which can delay the company's time to market and put a strain on resources.
As a startup, Company X may not have the necessary technical expertise in-house to build the platform, which can lead to further delays and quality issues. Compounding these challenges is the high probability of facing integration difficulties when building from scratch, ultimately creating further delays.
If Company X overcomes these issues and deploys a platform built from scratch, it will still face a significant issue. Self-made platforms require the builders, in this case, Company X’s development team, to be responsible for the continued maintenance and support of the platform. This presents a continuous drain on resources which, at this point in Company X’s journey, would be more optimally placed focussing on developing business logic and curating memorable customer experiences rather than cumbersome maintenance processes.
Using an off-the-shelf solution: A viable but limited option
On the other hand, should Company X choose to use an off-the-shelf solution to quickly build an API from a database or a schema, there are several issues that they may come across.
Firstly, the off-the-shelf solution may not be extensible enough to allow customisation beyond its standard capability, preventing Company X from introducing features needed to continue catering to its customers’ needs down the line, particularly as Company X continues to refine its product market fit and roll out new differentiating features
Moreover, as Company X grows and its platform acquires more users, an off-the-shelf solution may not be able to scale appropriately, leading to performance issues and downtime.
So, what other options are available?
With its out-of-the-box API, Platformatic makes backend development easy, accessible and flexible. To do so, Platformatic provides developers with the frameworks, infrastructure and automations needed to build bespoke platforms in one simple command. Powered by Node.js and Fastify, Platformatic helps developers avoid time-consuming function deployment and infrastructure building, allowing them to focus their efforts on writing the business logic needed to create truly innovative and memorable applications, simply.
The business case for using a highly extensible API such as Platformatic is clear
Using a customisable API provides multiple benefits to both the developers who are working with the API, and to the business as a whole. We took a look at some of these benefits:
1-Extensible APIs allow for the development of tailored solutions.
Customer needs are constantly changing. Additionally, different customer segments have different needs. Extensible APIs enable developers to create personalised solutions for different customer segments, creating a truly unique solution for every individual user. Companies that are able to stay on top of the evolution of customer needs and reflect these changes in optimised application features and functionalities, particularly in highly competitive sectors such as Company X’s fintech positioning, are laying the groundwork for increased customer satisfaction, and subsequently, increased revenue.
Extensible APIs like Platformatic have been designed with modularity in mind, enabling the simple and rapid addition of new functionality without affecting the existing codebase. For example, if Company X wanted to add a new feature enabling users to analyse their spending habits, Company X’s developers would simply need to add new modules to the API.
By allowing developers to extend the functionality of an API, a culture of innovation and creativity can be fostered, with developers not facing rigid constraints imposed by non-extensible APIs. This can lead to the development of new product functionalities and use cases, allowing companies to expand their offering. Additionally, freedom to experiment is something that many developers want to be offered by their employer– an extensible API provides a way for companies not only to provide a more innovative product but to also fuel developer creativity and growth, while making their organisation an exciting place to work for technical talent.
4-Agility to quickly respond to changing market conditions
Extensible APIs also provide businesses with greater flexibility and agility in responding to changing market conditions. When attempting to implement a change with a non-extensible API, developers are at the mercy of the API providers’ willingness and availability to facilitate said change. With an extensible API, the company is able to extend said API’s functionality without undergoing time-consuming, repetitive work changing the application’s underlying infrastructure. This frees up backend developers’ busy schedules, both improving the developer experience, while also allowing companies to ship faster and remain agile.
In conclusion, the business case for extensible APIs, such as Platformatic, is compelling. By offering the ability to developers to customise as needed, encouraging innovation and creativity, and providing greater agility in fast-paced markets, businesses using extensible APIs can better meet the needs of their customers and stay competitive in today's fast-paced digital landscape.