The use of APIs is as varied as the minds of developers allow, creating interesting Web apps and adding real value to businesses across a range of industries. But, with the majority of APIs performing request-and-response transactions, Phil Leggetter’s post on the Pusher Blog gives five reasons why developers should embrace real-time APIs that push new data as it becomes available.
- Make Use of Real-Time Data
Despite a seeming lack of awareness, real-time data is already available in many systems. Events such as changes in data, any interaction between systems, or user interactions with applications and systems all revolve around a data payload. Any of these can be exposed via a real-time API and consumed by apps for real-time functionality.
- Faster Access to Business Value
Since many API consumers access your data because they gain some measure of value from it, then it makes sense that up-to-date data offers the most value. If a developer is already polling your API for data changes, this exhibits a desire for a real-time API that can push the data to your users as soon as possible.
- Some Data is Time-Sensitive
Real world examples of time-sensitive data include market data and betting systems, communications implementations that rely on the two-way transfer of data, and monitoring systems that depend on incoming data to act upon. All of these systems, and many more, will benefit from a real-time API.
- Empowering Developers for Enhanced Experience
Removing the need for developers to constantly poll your API for changes improves their experience by reducing application processing overhead and code complexity. Furthermore, catering to developers’ needs helps to turn users into advocates, extending the reach of your API.
- Users Expect Real-Time Experiences
Despite being fairly obvious, this is a standard expectation since many widely-used applications, such as Facebook, already offer this feature. Google Docs leverages this technology for its real-time collaboration potential that makes “change tracking” an obsolete task. Similarly, Uber updates users on the location of their impending ride, and these types of features are the driving force behind many of these applications.
Providing your users with a real-time API can add considerable value to your existing offering, supporting increased uptake among new users while ensuring your existing users have no reason to seek alternatives.