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Website Design Website Development

Pros and Cons of Third-Party APIs in Web Development

Nowadays, you might see many apps and sites who have a small map integrated into them, which is usually powered by Google Maps. You might wonder how they can integrate another company’s tool into their site, and the answer to that is that it’s possible using APIs, or Application Programming Interface.

The usage of APIs in the development world is quite common nowadays, be it app development, software development or web development. That is because APIs allow us to integrate features and functions easily by building onto the work provided by other developers, without having to code from scratch. It makes it easier for developers to create feature-rich websites without much hassle. 

As I said before, APIs are quite commonly used in development nowadays. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Maps and many more APIs are integrated with other websites to give us the chance to connect and share, or benefit from those features. But not all API use is third-party. Many web development companies design multiple tools, and use APIs to provide a sense of interconnectivity between them. 

But there are a number of benefits and problems associated with third-party integrations, which might affect the overall performance and look of the website. Let’s see what they are.

PROS:

Let’s first look at the pros of using third-party APIs when developing a website. 

– Rapid Product Deployment:

Product Deployment
Rapid Product Deployment

This approach relies on buying or licensing third-party APIs for the time being to work with your product, after which you work to develop your own version of that API’s functionality. This way you can get your product out the market quickly, without spending a lot of time and resources. That means that once your core product, or your minimum viable product is ready, you can integrate it with the external API for additional features and roll it out, and in the meantime, develop your own version for the future.

– Saves Time and Money:

Time and Money
Saves Time and Money

It saves time by allowing you to roll out the product in a shorter time, so that it starts generating revenue. In the meantime, your developers can develop additional features for the future iterations of the product, so that it saves you time to market, as well as initial development costs. This also gives you the choice to allocate your developers to develop an in-house alternative to the API, or to keep using the API and assign the developers to enhance and maintain the product itself. 

– No constrained development:

No constrained development
No constrained development

This is a big plus for smaller companies or startups, as their team of developers might not be as diverse skill-wise, by allowing them to integrate features that might be beyond the in-house developers skills, and which might be too expensive to have developed from outside.

Also, if the API is from a reputed development company, it is surely going to be of a higher quality compared to the product developed by a new developer following a few tutorials.

– Easy access to data

Easy access to data
Easy access to data

It allows new and small companies’ access to data that they might not have gotten previously. An example can be a food delivery service, which has a Map API integrated, as well as the required data to target potential clients and fulfill orders by customers nearby. This is a very important tool for many new companies with limited resources.

CONS:

So we now know the benefits of using third party API when choosing external web development services. Let’s look at some of the harms as well. 

– Multiple Dependencies outside our control:

Multiple Dependencies outside our control
Multiple Dependencies outside our control

The problem with adding multiple external APIs is that our product depends on many outside providers, which might affect the overall outlook of the product. Too many dependencies can be harmful, both in the short and the long-term. One short term issue can be that it might interfere with the functions of your core product, such as your website itself. A long term issue can be that these multiple dependencies might cause issues with adding future dependencies in the future. 

– Can cost quite highly:

Can cost quite highly
Can cost quite highly

The cost of the licensing these APIs for your product can cost quite astronomically. That is because these costs are controlled and dictated by the developers themselves, and the less common API, or the bigger the developer, it might result in very high costs.

Sometimes it might be better to not have a functionality from a third party, as it might not bring the revenue that the associated cost of licensing would warrant. Therefore it is very important to evaluate your product, and then decide the budget for the APIs before looking for external APIs. In the end, you may need to spend a lot on required APIs, but then you can be sure that the cost is spent on features required, not on extras.

– Difference in performance times:

Difference in performance times
Difference in performance times

Obviously, as the functionality is dependent on multiple service providers, issues with their processes and performance will result in a negative effect on our product as well. Also, as they are dependent on these other providers, some of these dependencies might not work for some clients, which might result in the overall performance of the website, which might put off some of these clients.

– Knowing and choosing the right API provider:

Knowing and choosing the right API provider
Knowing and choosing the right API provider

Choosing the right provider is the big issue with external API. Sometimes you might find similar APIs from multiple developers, and you might select one based on some personal metrics you might have set. But these metrics might not be the best way to choose the perfect API provider. Your first choice should be to look for an API from some of the biggest developers out there, such as Facebook, or Google or even Twitter. 

If you do decide to get an external API, make sure to choose one from a big company, as a smaller company might not be available to help in case you run into any issues. A bigger company, on the other hand, has 24/7 support teams to help you out when you run into any problems.

To conclude, choosing third-party APIs is a necessity nowadays to develop a competent and reliable website full of features. Though it might seem that there’s a lot of issues associated with choosing these external APIs, the fact of the matter is that if you know what you want and how much you can spend to develop it, choosing the right API provider is not that difficult.

So, best of luck choosing the best APIs for your website!

If you are looking for innovative and reliable web design services, go on over to Sky Potential and discuss your needs with their expert teams.

Also Read: What is OBS Studio, and how it’s effective for users?

Categories
Marketing

What is OBS Studio, and how it’s effective for users?

The first question for many people would be – What is OBS Studio? For them, OBS Studio is a popular video capturing and streaming software, which amazingly is also open-source. It allows you to broadcast streams, such as game streams or tutorials or basically any kind of video stream, on to popular video platforms such as YouTube and Twitch, as well as creating screen casts. All in all, it is a total beast in terms of features and functions.

As OBS Studio offers a large number of features to its users, it is the perfect tool for experienced users. But for novice users, or those who just want a simple program to capture video streams, this software might be a little too much.

OBS Studio contains a plethora of features and functions, which offer a lot of flexibility for a user who wants a complete tool, but requires that the person put in the time to learn it properly. To help us, it comes bundled with a help wizard that will help you set up the software the first time we open it up to stream or record a video.

The best way to use OBS Studio is when you have a multi-screen setup, where you can monitor the tool working on one screen, and view your video or gaming stream on the other, but it can be done with a single screen as well. Unlike its competitors, OBS does not overlay the stream with anything while it’s working, instead it does its work in the background quietly and efficiently. You have to start the streaming or recording function manually after you start your game, or just before, depending on your preference.

Professional streamers on Twitch and YouTube sing high praises about the high customization of OBS Studio, but unless you plan to put in the time to learn the software, or need a tool that goes beyond simple streaming or recording, this is not the tool for you. It also seems to be missing some of the handy features that other programs might offer, especially for beginners. Being able to hit a hotkey configured to save the last moments of a stream to record an amazing or rare occurrence is feature not available by default in OBS Studio, unlike its rivals such as Nvidia’s GeForce Experience, but it can be configured manually. And once it is set up, it offers a lot more than the preset feature in other tools.

In some cases, OBS is the obvious choice. If you plan to create a game walkthrough for YouTube by first recording your gaming session, then converting it into a proper tutorial, then OBS Studio is the way to go. That is because it allows you to add a number of things to your recording, or even your stream to enhance the end result, such as the ability to add a webcam shot in the stream via picture-in picture, your channel’s watermark or logo, and much more.

How OBS Studio works?

How OBS Studio works?
How OBS Studio works?

Before starting a stream or recording, you have to set up the “Scene” for it in OBS Studio, which will contain all your recording sources, such as your webcam, your game or other activity on the screen, your microphone, logo or watermark and much more. Once you are done with that, you need to click on “Start Recording”, and then go on to what you wanted to record. Once you are done, you can click on “Stop Recording”. A word of advice, the first time you run OBS Studio for an official recording, make sure you check that the tool is configured properly before starting the recording, or else you will waste all that effort over a full length stream with nothing good to show for it.

As mentioned previously, OBS Studio offers a lot of configurations, but for the most part you need to be familiar with only a couple of them. The first thing to know is setting up the video recording setting. These setting include the video encoder to use, the format of recording and the quality of the recording. The default setting would be hardware encoding, but we suggest you change it to a software encoding option, preferably the x264 encoder, as it will prevent you from suffering a few issues that might occur with hardware encoding.

The second thing to know, is to set the correct capture resolution. If you record a video on a 1080p monitor, running a game at 720p due to performance issues, then the resulting recording will have the video running at the upper left corner of the screen instead of full screen. In short, you need to set the canvas resolution to the resolution of the game.

These lengthy and detailed configurations are some of the reason many casual or new users. But for the more advanced crowd such as pro game streamers or software houses offering walkthroughs and tutorials of their products, who are skilled in its use, or require a robust tool for their recording and streaming, it is the perfect tool.

Performance:

The most surprising thing about OBS Studio is its low running impact on even budget PC builds. Unlike many of its competitors, such as Stream labs, recording or streaming on budget build resulted in a very small frame drop, averaging a reduction of 3-8 frames per second. While this might be a problem for some, considering that the systems we are talking about are average at best, this is a very impressive feat. Sessions of heavy gaming might result a drop in the upper levels of this range, but in PCs with better specs, this might not even be a problem at all.

Conclusion:

A great program for professional users, it might be a bit intimidating for new users. For professional users such as development companies offering their software services to their viewers, or even for users using budget builds, the plethora of configuration options offered by OBS Studio can help you create a video that is equal to the best quality Twitch and YouTube streams and videos.

Casual users on the other hand who are not willing to put in the time to learn the ropes, would do better with simpler tools which offer the shortcuts and other common options that are required on a day-to-day basis without much finicky configuration. Quite different from OBS Studio.

Also Read: What is a Cross-platform Software and how is it effective for businesses?

Categories
Mobile Application

What is a Cross-platform Software and how is it effective for businesses?

The chances for success of any business, whether new or old, relies in part on how they manage their budget efficiently and smartly. The management of company resources needs to be at optimal performance for it to return a good return on investment. 

There are numerous ways a company can increase their visibility digitally, such as with digital marketing or by creating an identity via website etcetera that stands out from the crowd in a positive way.

The duty of increasing visibility, in part, falls to the company mobile app. That is because mobile apps are very common nowadays, with a large number of consumers around the world having a mobile device of some kind. Using apps to secure and increase customer loyalty or enhance the customer’s experience interacting with the brand is a popular method today. Mobile apps allow the customer to have a personalized interaction with the brand and avail their services on their own terms. Personalized deals, ads and much more is customized to a customer based on their app usage statistics. We can say that while websites are the medium bringing us the traffic, it is mobile apps, which help turn them into loyal customers. 

Now, in today’s competitive business environment, it is not just necessary to have a unique identity. You also need a visible presence across many mediums, and that is where cross-platform software comes in.

What is a Cross-Platform Software?

What is a Cross-Platform Software?
What is a Cross-Platform Software?

A cross-platform software or application is a software that we can implement on multiple computing platforms, with little to no change in the code. That means that a cross-platform software written for Microsoft Windows is deployable on mac OS, Linux or even mobile platforms like iOS and Android as well. There are many cross-platform app development frameworks such as Flutter, Xamarin, Ionic, React Native and many more, designed for the sole purpose to help cross platform development for mobile app developers.

Web applications are generally known as cross platform websites, because they are mostly accessible from any web browser. Popular examples include the Google Maps website, Gmail.com’s web interface, and the Bing search website. 

Similarly, cross-platform examples are available in abundance in the world of gaming, where a game is available for multiple platforms and it is up to the user to choose what supported platform they want to use.

Cross-platform programming languages include C++, Java, C# etcetera, but it is more common to find scripting languages for cross-platform development, as they are easier to implement across a wide range of platform options. These scripting languages include Python, PHP, Ruby and bash. 

Why Cross-Platform over Native Development?

Why Cross-Platform over Native Development?
Why Cross-Platform over Native Development?

There are numerous benefits for a business to opt for cross-platform development over native app development. When we hire an app development company to develop an app for our brand, it is important to know your potential customer’s preferred platform. Now, unless it is a necessity to develop native apps, it is better to opt for a cross-platform application, especially if you have a tight budget. The reasoning behind it is very simple. For one, after development, you will only need to maintain one single codebase for any updates or modifications in the end. Not only will it be more economical, it also allows for fewer errors and differences between platforms as updates in the single codebase will affect all platforms.

A few other major benefits to a business opting for cross-platform custom software development include:

– Less testing time required:

Native apps and software require much more testing time, especially if there are multiple versions or code bases. If the right team designs the cross-platform version, the testing will take a much shorter time to perform, as the development and quality assurance departments will only need to test one version of the software instead of multiple versions specific to each platform. Less testing required means lower cost for the company, which means that your development costs will not break you.

– A quicker TMM:

Designing and programming a single program that can run across multiple platforms is one of the biggest points in favor of cross-platform development. This allows our product to have a shorter Time to Market (TMM), due to only needing to develop a single version of the software. As we all know that in today’s cutthroat business world, a shorter TMM can be the difference between a successful business and a failure.

– Ease of customization:

Another benefit of cross-platform apps is that it is easier to customize and add new features to the existing cross-platform app by editing a single code base. That means that by making changes in a single file, they can affect change across all platforms easily. When we develop in the native environment for each platform, we need to spend time trying to replicate the code and functionality from one native app to another, so that the company app on separate platforms would look and work the same, a problem solved by cross-platform development

– Cost efficient development:

Not only does it take less time to develop, it also costs less than native development. Not only are the initial costs for development not as high as native development, but as it takes less time to develop, it also saves us our precious budget by the end of the project. 

Knowing that cross-platform development is so beneficial for business development, you need to now decide how to leverage its power to elevate your brand to new heights and. However, before starting, you need to assess your business goals, your audience and budget. 

A number of brands around the world have harnessed the power of cross-platform apps to grow their businesses to the max. So why should you be left behind?