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Custom API Development Services: What is the Process and How Much Does it Cost?

124 Views | 9 min | Published On: April 12, 2024 Last Updated: April 22, 2024

In today’s digital world, APIs play an important role in the software development process. According to a survey conducted by MuleSoft, around 84% of businesses leverage APIs. 

Why? – It’s simple: businesses that use APIs are 24% more likely to be profitable than others. APIs enhance customer satisfaction, cut down costs, and speed up project deployment  - everything under one umbrella. 

Undoubtedly, building a custom API for your business will help you boost your business bottom line. But, if you’re perplexed about the process and cost – this detailed guide is for you. 

Here we will explore the process of custom API development service including the necessary steps and factors influencing the development cost. Let’s get started!

What is an API?

An API (Application Programming Interface) is software that enables communication between two applications. APIs are an accessible medium to extract and share data within and across organizations using requests and responses. 

Let’s understand API with a simple analogy:

Suppose you (the client) are at a restaurant and want to order food. The kitchen (the server) will cook your food. The waiter (as the API) serves as a liaison between the kitchen and you, taking orders, coordinating with them, and delivering your meal to the table.

In this case:

  • You (the client) represent a system or software application that needs to access certain information.

  • The kitchen (the server) represents another system or software application that holds valuable information and performs specific tasks.

  • The waiter (the API) represents an intermediary between you (the client) and the kitchen (the server), allowing them to communicate and exchange data seamlessly.


Now, let's understand this analogy to a real-life example:

Imagine you're utilizing a social media application. You wish to view your bio, profile, and other details here. Here’s how the process works –

  • You open the social media app and navigate to the profile page

  • The app sends the request to the server through API, requesting for profile information

  • The API (just like the waiter) will take your order and communicate with the server (the kitchen)

  • The server gets ready to respond after retrieving your profile data from its database.

  • After the server sends the response, the API sends it back to your application.

  • Lastly, the details of your profile are visible to you on the screen of your social media app.

In this case, your social networking program (the client) and the server that stores your profile data are connected through the API. It makes data interchange between the client and the server easier, making it possible for your app to easily retrieve and display the information in your profile.

What are the Different Types of APIs?

There are 4 types of APIs. Let’s check each one of them:

4 different types of APIs

1. Open/ Public APIs

Open or public APIs are made accessible to the API publisher and other users. It helps an organization improve its offerings in terms of services and solutions. Though, certain APIs are free and majority segment of them need a subscription, and also you must purchase an API for your business.  

2. Partner APIs

Partner APIs are only intended for use by two or more corporate partners and are not available to the general public. It facilitates improved software integration amongst the involved parties. Partner APIs also facilitate data transmission and communication between companies.  

3. Internal/ Private APIs

Internal APIs are created within a company and are also referred to as private APIs or in-house APIs. Here, the APIs serve as a bridge between various platforms, services, or organizational components; notably, they are not meant for use by other parties or for external access but within an organization.  

4. Composite APIs

Composite APIs are made up of both data and service APIs. By employing it, multiple operations can be included in a single application. Composite APIs come in quite handy when you need to cater multiple closely related API requests in a specific order.

When You Should Consider Custom API Development for Your Business?

Custom API development goes beyond using pre-made APIs; it entails creating unique solutions that are tailored to the specific requirements of a given system or software application.

Unlike pre-built APIs that offer broad functionalities, custom APIs are made to meet specific business demands, ensuring adaptability, performance, and scalability.

Let’s discuss the top 4 reasons when to opt for custom API development for your business. Check out:

top reasons to choose custom api development for your business

1. Prioritizing Security

If you prioritize security, then you must go for custom API development. As such, some potential challenges  are associated with pre-built APIs adoption for data interchange within your organization. If there isn't an application programming interface that meets your security requirements, consider building your own. 

2. Stay Ahead of Competition

If you want to stay ahead of your rivals, then you must build your custom API. Partnering with the right software development company like Apptunix will assist you in every aspect of developing a custom API – enhancing performance, improving security, and increasing sales, leads, and ultimately revenue. 

3. Seeking Tailored Solutions

If you want to create a gateway to access data in an out-of-date file format or transfer data between a legacy database and an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, a custom-built API is your one-stop-solution. This approach will work better for you because there might not be a pre-built one that can meet your requirements or needs.

4. Accessing Limitless Resources

Incorporating APIs for small businesses or firms will be a good approach as it addresses the deficit of  a development team, high budget, or resources. On the contrary, if you are a huge firm then opting for custom API will be highly beneficial for your business. 

Step-by-Step Process of API Development

Following, we’ve discussed the process of API development. Let’s learn:

step-by-step process to build API

Step 1: Define Goals and Intended Users

It is crucial to define your goals and target audience to make your API successful. It must offer value to both intended users and businesses. Make sure to understand the needs of your users, which will help you to define API requirements. 

Primarily, your API requirements are categorized into 2 parts – functional and non-functional. The former helps to determine the things your API will perform. The latter deals with segments such as security, reliability, and performance. These requirements guide the development process.

Step 2: Design & Architecture

Developing a design and architecture that fulfills your needs and takes into account the needs of developers using API is essential. 

All the APIs must meet 5 non-functional requirements, which are listed below:

Usability Developers should be able to comprehend and make use of your API easily.
Reliability The API should have minimal downtime.
Scalability The system needs to be resilient enough to handle abrupt spikes in demand.
Testability It should be easy for testers to identify any flaws or errors.
Security The API should not be accessible to malicious users.

Step 3: Development of API

Now, it's time to develop your API. Also, it is important to note that it is an iterative process and requires modifications in the process to add or improve functionalities, test them, and create thorough documents. 

Write concise, well-documented code to implement API functionality in compliance with the specified requirements. Utilize the proper libraries, frameworks, and programming languages to streamline the process efficiently. 

Step 4: Testing

You can initiate testing your API before deployment with API virtualization. You must perform rigorous testing that includes end-to-end testing, integration testing, unit testing, security, reliability, and other types of tests. 

Make sure to address any bugs, errors, or other issues identified during testing to maintain the quality standard of your API. 

Step 5: Monitoring & Feedback

Once the API is deployed, it’s time to monitor its success metrics. We’ve listed some crucial metrics, make sure to track them depending on the type of your API and goals. 

  • Response times;
  • API uptime;
  • Requests per month;
  • Monthly unique users;
  • Time to receive the API key;
  • Server CPU/memory usage; 
  • Monthly revenue; and more

You can use different tools like Amazon CloudWatch or Postman Monitoring to track performance, availability, uptime, response time, and more in real-time. Additionally, it is also crucial to obtain user feedback and implement changes to your API.


Must-Have Features for Custom API Development

Here we’ve listed crucial features that you must incorporate into your API:

features to include in custom api development

1. Search by Criteria

Incorporating search functionality is the most basic feature that you must include in your API. It enables users to filter and retrieve data based on different criteria. To implement this feature, you must consider data synchronization.

2. Paging

With paging, large datasets can be broken down into more manageable, smaller chunks. As a result, performance and user experience are much improved. This technique contributes to reduced load times, resource consumption, and seamless data exchange.  

3. Sorting

The sorting tool allows users to arrange data in the desired order. It helps ensure that every data page is sent to the end user separately. Sorting ultimately makes results easier to access and analyze, which boosts their utility and adaptability.  

4. JSON Support/ REST

It is essential to use RESTful or JSON format-compatible APIs for better communication. The user experience is seamless during uploads and other operations due to its lightweight and stateless nature.

5. Authorization via OAuth

OAuth (Open Authorization) integration permits regulated and safe access to API resources. It is smoother and quicker. Overall, it reduces processing time and eventually increases the functionality of your API.  

Best Practices for API Management

Following, we’ve listed top practices that you should consider for API management. Let’s discuss:

API management best practices

1. Throttling Implementation

It assists in protecting the network from DoS (Denial of Service) attacks, redirects traffic overflows, and provides backup APIs.  

2. API Gateway Enforcement

It is crucial to designate the API gateways as the enforcement point. Further, it works as a vigilant guardian that grants access to only authorized users. It enables you to encrypt messages, effectively monitor and regulate API usage, and modify sensitive data. 

3. HTTP Method Override

To make sure the RESTful web services override, you should utilize the HTTP method. For the override, you can use the X-HTTP custom HTTP header. It will make the functionality better.

4. Infrastructure Assessment

In today’s world, real-time analysis is easily accessible. However, there’s always a risk of memory leaks or CPU drain in the API server. And it is not practical to have a developer on call around the clock. 

With the help of some tools like AWS CloudWatch, you can observe the infrastructure and architecture. It will help you  steer clear of the issues.

5. Security-Centric API Design

While it's important to keep your API technology secure, however, it should not come at the expense of accessibility. If it takes more than five minutes for any user to authenticate, your API is not user-friendly. Consider opting for Token-based authentication that  enhances security and user experience at the same time. Also, ensure everything must be hack-proof. 

6. Comprehensive Documentation

It is crucial to have a specified document for your API. It facilitates the integration of APIs and the usage of data to generate solutions by developers. To sum up, comprehensive API documentation improves the efficiency of API technology, lowers expenses, and speeds up project implementation—all of which increase profitability. 

Benefits of Developing Custom APIs

Investing in Custom APIs will offer several benefits for your business. Some of them are listed below:

advantages of custom api development

1. Boosts Revenue

The global API economy is expected to reach $267 billion by 2025.

Custom APIs expand user base and sales potential by introducing state-of-the-art features or enhancing existing services, creating opportunities for new revenue streams. Let's look at the overview of API traffic by industry:

API traffic by industry

2. Develop New APIs Quickly and Easily

Tailored APIs facilitate the rapid design and implementation of new features, expedite product releases, and streamline the development process. 

3. Enhance Productivity

Custom APIs streamline and automate processes, while maximizing production and efficiency with reduced labor costs and increased team productivity.

4. Cost-Effective

Creating custom APIs to fulfill particular business requirements ensures the best use of resources and prevents wasting money on off-the-shelf solutions, providing long-term cost savings and return on investment (ROI). 

5. Protection & Safety

Robust security features are included in custom APIs to safeguard confidential information, minimize threats, ensure compliance with industry regulations, and maintaining corporate integrity.

6. Connect Business with Cloud Application

Custom APIs can be easily connected with cloud-based applications and services by taking advantage of the scalability and flexibility of cloud computing, which eventually increases organizational agility and competitiveness. 

7. Effective Documentation

Custom APIs navigate developers with thorough guidance with clear instructions and examples. It helps them to facilitate seamless usage and integration, reducing development errors and time. 

8. Seamless Integration

APIs allow seamless integration with third-party systems and services. It helps to foster collaboration and interoperability and expands the business's ecosystem and capabilities.

9. Allows for Automation

Custom APIs support automation, freeing up resources, boosting ROI, and driving innovation and business growth.

10. Collects Data for Intelligence Analytics

Custom APIs facilitate the collection of valuable data from many sources and provide insightful analysis and insights. It helps to streamline processes and assist in decision-making. 

How Much Does it Cost to Build Custom APIs?

Let’s now talk about the elephant in the room – the cost of custom API development for your business. The estimated cost could range between $25,000 to $80,000 or more depending on its complexity and features. 

If you’re looking for a cost-effective option, then you must consider MVP (Minimum Viable Product) which offers all intended functionalities. It is an affordable approach if you are a small startup or businesses that want API for their business. 

Wrapping Up

Of course, you care about your business and planning to get started with API development. 

To kickstart your development process, you must ensure to partner with a top-notch API development company like Apptunix. We are a team of top developers, designers, and other professionals who offer top-notch API development services.

We'll walk you through every step of the procedure to make sure your demands and specifications are met and a secure API is created. Being a reputable mobile app development business, we're dedicated to producing top-notch outcomes.


Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Q 1.What are the different tools for API development?

Some of the popular tools for API development include Postman, SoapUI, Swagger, RestAssured, and more. 

Q 2.What is JSON API?

JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is an encoding scheme developed to eliminate the need for custom code in each application to communicate with servers in a specific way.

Q 3.What are REST API development and SOAP API?

A software architecture style called REST (Representational State Transfer) API establishes a set of guidelines for building web services. 

Conversely, SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is a more complex protocol that incorporates standards other than REST, like security.

Q 4.How long does it take to build API?

Developing an API can take around a few days to months, depending on the complexity of your API. 

Q 5.How much does it cost to hire API developers?

Hiring a freelance developer will run you $50 to $100 or more, depending on their location and level of experience. But if you want top-notch API development without compromising quality, be sure to get in contact with a reputable API development company like Apptunix. 


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