What are the best programming languages for building APIs?

Antonio Cucciniello

June 12th, 2017

Are you in the process of designing your first web application? Maybe you have built some in the past but are looking for a change in language to increase your skillset, or try out something new. If you fit into those categories, you are in the right place. With all of the information out there, it could be hard to decide on what programming language to select for your next product or project.Because any programming language can ultimately be used to write APIs, some can be better and more efficient to use than others. Today we will be discussing whatshould be taken into consideration when choosing the programming language to build out APIs for your web app. 

Comfort ability

This goes out to any developer whohas experience in a certain language. If you already have experience in a language, you will ultimately have an easier time developing, understanding the concepts involved, and you will be able to make more progress right out of the gate. This translates to improved code and performance as well because you can spend more time on that rather than learning a brand new programming language. For example, if I have been developing in Python for a few years, but I have the option between using PHP or Python as a programming language for the project, I simply select Python due to the time saved already spent learning Python.

This is extremely important because when trying to do something new, you want to limit the amount of unknowns that you will have in the project. That will help your learning and help to achieve better results.

If you are a brand new developer with zero programming experience, the following section might help you narrow your results.

Libraries and frameworks

The next question to ask in the process of eliminating potential programming languages to build out your API is: Does the language come with plenty of different options for libraries or frameworks that aid in the developing of APIs?

To continue with the Python example in the previous section, there is the Django REST framework that is specifically built on top of Django.Django is a web development framework for Python, made for creating an API in the programming language faster and easier. Did you hear faster and easier? Why yes you did, and that is why this is important.

These libraries and frameworks allow you to speed up the development process by containing functions and objects that handle plenty of the repetitive or dirty work in building an API. Once you have spent some time researching what is available to you in terms of libraries and frameworks for languages, it is time to check out how active the communities are.

Support and community

The next question to ask yourself in this process is: Are the frameworks and libraries for this programming language still being supported? If so, how active is the community of developers?

Do they have continuous or regular updates to their software and capabilities? Do the updates help improve security and usability? Given that not many people use the language, nor is it being updated for bug fixes in the future, you may not want to continue using it.

Another thing to pay attention to is the community of users. Are there plenty of resources for you to learn from? How clear and available is the documentation? Are there experienced developers who have blog posts on the necessary topics to learn? Are there questions being asked and answered on Stack Overflow? Are there any hard resources such as magazines or textbooks that show you how to use these languages and frameworks?

Potential languages

From my experience, there are a number of better programming languages.Here is an example framework for some of these languages, which you can use to start developing your next API:

Language

Framework

Java

Spring

JavaScript(Node)

Express

Python

Django

PHP

Lavarel

Ruby

Ruby on Rails

Ultimately, the programming language you select is dependent on several factors: your experience with the language, the frameworks available for API building, and how active both the support and the community are. Do not be afraid to try something new! You can always learn, but if you are concerned about speed and ease of development, use these criteria to help select the language of use.

Leave a comment down below and let us know which programming language is your favorite and how you will use it in your future applications!

About the Author

Antonio Cucciniello is a Software Engineer with a background in C, C++ and JavaScript (Node.Js) from New Jersey.   His most recent project called Edit Docs is an Amazon Echo skill that allows users to edit Google Drive files using your voice.  He loves building cool things with software, reading books on self-help and improvement, finance, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on twitter @antocucciniello, and follow him on GitHub here: https://github.com/acucciniello