Practical mobile API tips

API is short for Application Program Interface means a technical environment in which you can access to another party’s platform. The Usage of Social networks and the internet is increasing during recent decades. Therefore people are more willing to engage and communicate via these channels.

APIs fill the communication gap between legacy backend systems and modern mobile applications, making data available on any device, anytime, anywhere. Today’s apps bring convenience directly to you wherever you are using APIs. In short, APIs enable apps to interact with each other. They can enhance the user experience.

API, mobile, apps

Mobile apps, unlike desktop applications, have limited resources, such as battery life, processing speed, and bandwidth use, and UI/UX design decisions need to account for this. Fortunately, some tricks and adjustments to the quiet application programming interfaces (APIs) that often provide data to mobile applications can help improve load times while being attentive to resource consumption.

Some popular APIs

There are numerous APIs used among users all around the world.

  1. Facebook’s API is one of the most famous APIs used by developers. Developers are able to limit access to profile information to verify identification on login. It also allows users to use their Facebook account in order to sign up for different games and applications such as Candy Crush. Facebook’s API also allows its own users to post content to their News Feed from third-party mobile applications they’re using.
  2. LinkedIn’s API is another famous APIs among developers. As you may know, LinkedIn is a business network in which you can find new employees or apply for new job vacancies. This app is the strongest platform in the job seeking field and people are willing to communicate via this channel. As a result, LinkedIn’s API is best reserved for business applications—with notable partners like Evernote, which leverages LinkedIn’s API to enable users to scan business cards in Evernote, then directly connect with that user’s LinkedIn profile.
  3. Google Maps’ API enables mapping and location services in third-party applications. If mapping is central to your mobile application, you’ll probably need to pay Google for access to their API.

Because of the importance of APIs as a link between apps, it is necessary to ensure that all the channels are secure. It is crucial to block hackers’ penetration to API information. Insecurity can proliferate in mobile apps – these applications often reference several APIs, and if any of these APIs are insecure, then the information obtained by the app is compromised. One practical method to locate mobile app security issues is to run a sniffer to analyze the call-home traffic from the mobile app. Often times you’d be surprised at the information passing back to the internet: confidential information, passwords, you name it.

Even with the use of more secure protocols, an attacker can perform man-in-the-middle attacks against the API server and a mobile app installed in a device he controls in order to be able to extract all secrets and understand how the app queries the API server and what responses he gets back.

API, mobile, app

The internet was built on HTTP, but mobile platforms enforce HTTPS requirements with modern encryption and trusted signed certificates. A mobile backend needs to use HTTPS for every endpoint. Your development, staging, and production environment servers should all be using the same type of signed certificates. This will save you headaches later when migrating/testing features on each environment, allowing you to catch security issues upstream before they become a problem on the live server and start affecting real users.

 Data coming from legacy APIs may not be optimized for display or processing on a mobile device and can degrade the user’s experience. Nonetheless, many enterprise mobile solutions need data and information that is stored on legacy systems.

In these cases, a mobile back end as a service (MBaaS) can act as an abstraction layer between the legacy system and the mobile device. MBaaS offerings provide the tools and environment necessary to create mobile-centric APIs that are designed to integrate with legacy systems, offer faster load times, and generate mobile-friendly data.

Unlike with traditional firewalls, APIs security requires analyzing messages, tokens and parameters, all in an intelligent way. The API gateway checks authorization then checks parameters and the content sent by authorized users. It then ensures that when logs are written that they’re redacted, that the customer data isn’t in the logs, and does not get written into storage. And it accomplishes these steps in the proper order.

API, data, MBaaS

When configuring throttling rules, usage of API keys or OAuth, the API gateway acts as the enforcement point. This is the traffic cop, ensuring that the right users are allowed access, and the wrong ones are being blocked. An API gateway can be used either for incoming requests, coming into your APIs. The API gateway allows you to encrypt parts of the message or redact confidential information, then meter, control, and analyze how your APIs are being used.

The APIs are in essence the keys to unlock the service or data from another source. Depending on the API the key can be used once, anytime, or only to unlock certain doors. That’s why reading through API documentation is very important to understand what the app will be able to do, and how long it will take to build. With App Press, you can connect your app to any service or database as long as our team has the API. If there is no API, you can work with our solutions team to get around that obstacle.

So much can be done with an API gateway, but its main benefit is moving security from the application to your organizational infrastructure, allowing you to treat the security of your application and API like a first-class citizen.

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