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Why develop REST APIs?

Build a cloud-based backend with REST APIs to give your customers access to your product on any device from anywhere in the world. Whether you start with a single web app or you launch with web, iOS and Android apps, you need Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to allow each client app to communicate with your cloud-based backend application. In essence, the user interface (UI) fetches data stored on the cloud and updates data fields entered by users via APIs. Most APIs — also known as web services — are either Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) or Representational State Transfer (REST) APIs and they respond with data in eXtensible Markup Language (XML) or JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) format. Modern web applications utilize REST APIs with JSON responses because it’s quicker to integrate REST APIs and it’s faster for applications to parse JSON, which makes your product’s end user experience better.

Your first version APIs are private to your company and used by the web and mobile applications your development team builds. When you have significant user traction, release well documented public APIs, which let third-party developers build custom software products that serve a niche or enhance functionality that’s months or years away on your product roadmap. Often, third-party developers integrate an existing product with your public APIs, exposing your product to a new group of potential customers. The public APIs you expose don’t have to be free. Charge third-party developers per API call for access to your most valuable data or when you help developers save time.