Building Highly Performant and Scalable Applications with API-Driven Methodology

Hands together, gesturing teamwork

We work on projects all the time that deal with different applications, code, and background. Recently a new application we are building would provide an interface that tied multiple 3rd party vendors and a finance package into one application for end users. The expectation for the application was fast growth over a short period of time. Since it was not only a tool for end users but has potential uses for other businesses, white labeling the application was also a requirement.

Scalability was a big part of the application for our team. Scalability isn’t always in the forefront of conversations with clients. However, this specific project it was going to be a very intricate part of the development of this application.

Recently, we had successfully migrated a large PHP project over to AWS Elastic Beanstalk. With several hundred users per day and growing steadily the shared hardware it was running on was beginning to create problems with performance. After some modifications to support AWS ELB and going into production, we were impressed with the ease of scalability on the application. Auto-scaling took care of load issues due to unpredictable usage spikes and helped us reduce the overall cost of hosting fees to our customer.

Given the successful migration with the PHP project to AWS our team naturally turned to see what options were available on the AWS platform. All of our previous projects consisted of web frameworks, but we had been discussing investigating an API-driven development model and this was the chance. The decision made and the API interface designed in OpenAPI, we started building out the back end with serverless and AWS services.

Using an API-driven development model has decoupled the back and front ends of development. Allowing the UI developers to define the most critical features that the API developers can implement. This has allowed for a greater flexibility in handling unforeseen issues and shorter development cycles.

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