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How To Build An API (Easy Guide for Beginners)

20th May 2020 Print

Building an API is a surprisingly attainable goal, even if it might seem tricky to total novices. To get you started, here are a few steps to follow which could lead to great things.

API basics

Before delving any deeper into the world of APIs, it is sensible to establish what one actually is. An application programming interface is essentially designed to allow separate systems to share data and instructions smoothly.

From web browsers to smartphone apps, from internal business software to customer-facing solutions, APIs make the digital world go round. You can use a travel API that lets people compare prices on flights to develop an app for travel, or you can use an address verification API to create a compelling real estate app.

While it may be necessary to learn Python in the long run to make the most of what APIs have to offer, the simplest uses are accessible to beginners with little programming experience under their belts.

Using tools

The reason that building an API can be straightforward is that there are plenty of tools available to automate the more mundane, manual parts of this process for you.

For example, if you are working with a representational state transfer (RESTful) API, it is possible to use the HTTP foundations of this variety to your advantage. While you can start from scratch, it makes more sense to turn to solutions like Swagger, which make use of the OpenAPI specification, to leverage tools that can help from the early stages of the design to the broader rollout of your efforts.


If you have the beginnings of an API, or you are working to integrate a third party API with your app or service, you need to be willing to test it thoroughly to ensure that it performs as intended. Ironing out bugs and improving efficiency will deliver better results in the long run.

Checking out existing APIs can be useful if you are hoping to see how established solutions function, to give you an idea of some approaches which may also be applicable in your case. For example, API marketplaces like RapidAPI can be useful in this respect, as they let you effectively test drive lots of different interfaces, again conjuring up code according to the parameters you set down to save you a lot of legwork.


Eventually when your API is up and running, or at least nearing the final stages of being built, you will want to think about monitoring, especially if it is going to be made available externally.

Monitoring API performance will let you carry out further troubleshooting and also pinpoint any exploitation or misuse by third parties that end up accessing it.

There are plenty of API monitoring tools to consider, ranging from Uptrends and Rigor to New Relic and Traceview. While this may seem like yet another investment on top of your earlier input, it will be worth it to make sure that your shiny new API behaves as it should.

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