5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Third-Party API
While third-party APIs are powerful and resourceful tools for many startups, be sure to take caution when choosing your provider. You’re essentially putting the security of your business and into the hands of someone else, so make sure your provider is trustworthy before jeopardizing your startup. Here are five things to consider when choosing the right third-party API.
It is usually safer to go with a provider that has been in the business for a long time, knows what they are doing, and has a good track record. Startup APIs are still maturing, and if their API is slow, buggy, or has security holes, it will affect your application and its users.
If you’re considering a third-party provider, especially one that is not as well known, make sure you do your research. Look into what other companies experience with that provider, and make sure to ask questions about updates, security, uptime, and platform reliability.
Documentation is typically your first introduction to this API provider, and their effort can tell a lot about your future relationship. Consider the following;
- Is it clean, organized, and well thought out?
- Did they withhold any important details?
- Do they show examples of what a request and response look like?
- Do they tell you what you can expect from them such as update frequency, and how they will communicate changes?
When your application depends on a third-party API, it should be treated as your very own API. You want to include it in your sprint test plans, make sure it provides the response you need, have a plan for alerting customers when your provider has downtime, and have a backup plan.
- Support capabilities
Ensuring you get the support you need is an important aspect in choosing your API provider. Smaller providers or startups may not offer the amount of robust support that your business needs.
When working with a third-party API, you not only gain their qualities and strengths, but you take on their flaws and bad practices as well. This is why choosing an API that you can rely on, and trust is imperative for the success of your company, and your customers. All in all, you want to make sure that the structure of reliance doesn’t hurt your business. Taking these five aspects into consideration can help determine which third party API is right for you. Just remember, at the end of the day it is still you responsible for the product your users depend on.