By Paul Regan 25 February 19

Seven reasons to be API-first

Whatever we build with Edit, it starts with an API – and there's more than one good reason why you should too.

Edit is a full stack content management platform and comprises four key components: an API, templating layer, a CMS interface and image manipulation tool. Together they can handle every aspect of your digital product, individually they each can work to support (and often speed up) other technology, but in almost every application we recommend you start with the API.

Why? The TL;DR says it's faster, cheaper, easier and properly future-proofs your product. To make this article into more of a coffee break, here's a list of seven further reasons you want to think about it:

1. You can power multiple products from a single source
Often we talk about this from the point of view of COPE, but it goes further than that. With an API-first approach, a single source of data can power multiple products built with completely different technologies – a web application, a mobile app, a smart TV... we even once configured a product using our tech to directly deliver film to a luxury hotel in-room entertainment system.

2. It'll let you sketch in code
Granted you'll need a talented team who simultaneously design and develop (we have one if you'd like a hand), but building API-first allows your design team to directly manipulate content and data to build interfaces on the fly. This ticks both 'faster' and 'cheaper' boxes, plus often means responsive sites work better across browsers and devices.

3. Your teams can work in parallel
Different components of the site can be worked on at the same time, which means less waiting around (and more time for your engineers to get on with the stuff they are good at). This same abstraction of back- and front-end also means the engineers can make changes to the bits your users can't see without affecting the interfaces they can.

4. It makes it easier for engineers to reuse code
Ok, caveat here – this has a huge dependency on documentation and the fact your APIs are well-configured, but we all fall into that camp, right? That being the case, you are more likely to be able to have new teams pick up where others left off, or reuse 'detachable' chunks of the build as new technology demands an upgrade.

5. API-first products are more reliable
APIs are central to almost all digital products and prioritising their development up front means less effort in break/fix later on. The alternative is often layers of unnecessary complexity and compromise.

6. You'll be faster to market
There's a shred of truth to the fact that any project planned well up front will run more smoothly, but well-planned APIs at the head of a project will help every other component fall into place more easily. Guess what that means? A cheaper build cost too.

7. Future-proofed digital product
API-first supports COPE (Create Once, Publish Everywhere, remember?) and COPE separates data from presentation, making your content reusable and future-proof for all upcoming devices and platforms.

Convinced? Want to get started with Edit? Get in touch and we'll do our best to help.