In the fast-changing digital world, it’s hard to keep up with upcoming technologies, techniques, and software solutions. We want to provide the knowledge of our highly experienced team to everyone interested so that marketers, agencies, or developers can keep up.
In the video series “Frontastic explains,” our Lead Editor Catherine sums up the meaning and the impact of the biggest buzzwords in the digital world.
Let’s focus on the topics API and API first today.
APIs as a way to serve your customers
API stands for Application Programming Interface and it’s a way of getting information or data from other sources. To get your information or data from external sources, you don’t have to write it into your own code or store it anywhere yourself. That leaves the code of your frontend smaller and more lightweight and makes it load more quickly for your users.
Examples of sources in the digital commerce business can be:
- Content Management Systems
- Product Information systems
- eCommerce systems
Let’s have a closer look at the different use cases.
Say you have several products that you want to sell on your commerce site. You can use a content management tool to create all your products with images, sizes available, descriptions, or whatever else you want to add, then you’ll have an API for each product that you can easily use for your frontend.
APIs can be used for any kind of data. You could even make a whole site based on APIs from a range of different sources. You could take an API from Instagram to bring in your feed, plus add an API for the weather from the Weather Channel, then another for your calendar from Google, then another from a commerce system like commercetools that has all your clothes that match the weather and the date. All you need to do is say where they should be placed on a page.
So APIs mean that you can easily and quickly bring data into your commerce site and the possibilities they bring are limited only to your imagination.
API-first in modern commerce
API first means that for any given development project, APIs are the basis of sharing data. The approach requires the development of consistent, reliable, and well-documented APIs.
In modern commerce, smartphones, laptops, tablets, and desktops are just some of the possible devices that can be seen as a frontend. Different devices however come with many different screen sizes and projects must be built in a way that looks good and works well on all common devices or sales channels.
APIs allow projects to break down all those requirements into microservices. Building applications based on microservices helps optimize the UX on all devices. An API first strategy allows projects to build APIs for all integrations needed and those can be developed and maintained efficiently for all use cases.
Here are some of the greatest benefits that come with an API first strategy:
- Increase of flexibility since innovations can be launched and tested without affecting the rest of the architecture
- Retail strategies can be built easily across different channels and devices
- Increase of time to market
- Lower development costs
- Well-designed and well-documented APIs enable developers to work fast
- APIs can be used in different parts of business processes which makes it easy to connect interests of marketing, sales, and other teams
API first and headless: Perfect basis for Composable Frontend Platform
Here are just a few examples of how modern and flexible frontends rely on APIs:
Commerce: Handle your data and processes from any commerce solution you like.
Content Management: You’re using a headless CMS? Great! Simply connect it to a unique frontend via APIs to get the best out of your content.
Search: A powerful search directly impacts your conversion rate. The combination of a strong search solution and a tailor-made frontend solution unlocks the potential of any business.
Personalization: Delight your customers with individual user experiences by combining your personalization solution with your frontend.
Individual systems: You’re working with specialized systems? No problem — connect them to Frontastic via APIs and combine their power with our Composable Frontend Platform.
Customer first with API first
API first strategies are the key to headless eCommerce solutions and to tailor-made frontends. Thomas Gottheil, CEO and Co-founder of Frontastic sums up what the benefit is to developers, retailers, and customers.
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Catherine’s the Lead Editor at Frontastic. She’s worked in many different positions at different levels but always with a customer focus and is always looking to create the best experience for users.