What is an OpenAPI?
An OpenAPI can be described as a publicly available API that offers developers programmatic access to a proprietary software application. Generally, APIs govern how applications communicate and interact with each other. A good example is your mobile phone. Imagine a situation where an Android phone only came with applications developed solely by Google and you could not install any other applications. Instead, Google has allowed developers to create applications that you can install on the Android phone.
What if you already have an API that you would like to convert to an OpenAPI? This should be the least of your worries because there are various tools like API transform that allow you to do exactly that. OpenAPIs come with many advantages, to developers and consumers. In this article, we are going to talk about the benefits a business can reap from building OpenAPIs.
1. Establishing Authority for Businesses
We have talked about Android phones above, which run the Android Operating System owned by Google. Google’s growth to prominence can be attributed to the success story they have when it comes to third-party development. Google runs over a hundred different APIs. It started just as a simple search engine but now runs a lot of applications such as Android, Google Mail, YouTube among others. They have been able to establish authority in their business because of the partnerships they have created with third-party developers.
2. Drawing Clouds
Allowing integration not only helps developers gain traction but also makes them experience rapid growth. A developer whose products mainly are software or use IoT devices understands the importance of engaging users. However, it gets costly to constantly develop related products or even add new features to an existing product.
Nonetheless, when it comes to OpenAPI, your products will be made more useful to current users by other developers with added value. This might seem good to be true – having other developers make your product more attractive – but it gets possible only if you make your interface available. For example, before Gmail was established, there were many other email providers such as Yahoo, Hotmail, and AOL among others. However, when Gmail was established, they opened up their interface and allowed third-party applications to integrate with it. Today, Gmail is the largest email provider.
3. Getting Ideas from OpenAPIs
The two points above show how valuable OpenAPIs are to a business. They create some sort of free-market validation. They make it possible for other developers to integrate their products with yours and give you a chance to see how your users respond. Sometimes, third-party options might charge some recurring fees generated by a unique selling proposition in what is called the SaaS business model. However, you might get an idea from a third-party application and build your own solution to save your users from paying the fee but enjoying the same service offered by the third-party application.
For instance, a popular extension called Boomerang was developed as a third-party software that allows one to make their emails return to their inbox at their preferred later date. This feature is useful and Google saw how Gmail users responded and were paying to get the services of the software. Google got the idea and has since added a snooze button that allows users to get a similar service, and at no extra cost.
Finally, it is important to keep up with your extensions and integrations and make sure that you do not have too many options that charge your users. Having this might make users bypass your applications because of the excessive costs you have.