Open API is also commonly referred to as a public API. API stands for application programming interface, and it allows for the owner of the network of services or one service to provide users with universal access to those services. Most if not all APIs are meant to give developers access to those resources which are in turn used by the end user.
How Common are Open APIs?
Well, they are very common! Open APIs are published openly on the internet and shared by developers. For instance, a software development company may publish a number of APIs mainly to encourage third-party developers in other industries to figure out ways to use those APIs in creative applications. So, it ends up being a win-win business model for everyone.
The Many Benefits of Open APIs
By using an open or public API, many third-party developers make money by mainly licensing the new program which is a combination of all the advanced functionalities or innovatively accessing a service that users want or value. In return, the developer of an open API expands their user base without needing to spend extra money to develop software for a specific industry and they still get to retain rights to the source code.
Disadvantages of Using Open APIs
Just like any customer-oriented product the reputation of the business can either be damaged or improved depending on just how well the open API is received by the development community. So it is important to avoid issues with an open API. Thus, the API needs to be free from bugs, perform well, have no security flaws and not leak private information.
Also, open APIs can end up being a source of frustration for the developer too since the company publishing the API has the authority in this case. So, if the company decides to modify the terms of the API, or decides to charge for what was once free, the third party developer has to accept these new terms.
Architectural Make up an Open API
Open APIs can easily be designed in a number of ways though the main priority is its architecture. It is for this reason that using custom data formats or proprietary protocols are not a good idea. On the contrary, using open source technology and various community-driven standards is most acceptable.
SOAP Vs. REST APIs – Which is Better?
API architectures fall into one of two categories, i.e. online rest API or SOAP APIs. APIs based on the SOAP architecture use XML as the default data exchange format. RESTful APIs use JSON. Both of these technologies have their own pros and cons.
Currently, the trend is in favor of REST APIs, and many have moved away from APIs based on SOAP. Older APIs may provide both REST and SOAP bases to support legacy clients. Though newer implementations will only use access based on REST.
Managing an Open API
Once an API goes public, it can be hard for an organization to control how it is used and who uses it. So, API management has to be considered seriously from the get-go, or there will be issues with customer satisfaction. One instance of this is organizations decommissioning older APIs or changing their syntax for a RESTful method call or altering the JSON or XML payload or even retiring some functionality.
Difference Between Closed and Open APIs
The whole concept of an open API that has restrictions may sound absurd, but in reality, it is not. An open API can be accessible to the general public and can also be invoked from any place on the internet.
A closed API or a private API can’t be accessed openly via the internet. It requires access via a set of restricted API calls through a firewall or perhaps a VPN service. Since closed APIs are held in highly secure servers, they don’t employ strict user authentication because it is assumed that the user making that call is in the trusted realm. Also, closed APIs are used for internal services and processes. On the other hand, open APIs are more focused on delivering user based capabilities and services.