What You Should Look For in an API Client

Advances in technology have changed how developers build applications. For instance, today, most web applications are based on the client-side of the client-server architecture. This means that all the logic related to the User Interface is implemented on the client-side (often the browser) using JavaScript instead of having it at the server-side.


This has made things easy and allowed web pages to be rendered faster than before when everything was implemented on the server-side.

Server-Side Architecture

Initially, most web applications were based on the server-side of the client-server architecture. This meant that all the tasks related to the User Interface took place on the server.

In this architecture, when a user (the client) visits an application, they send HTTP calls to the server which, in turn, responds with HTML. The client, on the other hand, has one task – displaying the exact HTML that the server responds with. Some frameworks that still use this kind of architecture include the Spring MVC and ASP.NET.

How Does the Server-Side Architecture Work?

The first thing to initiate any action is a user visiting an application on their browser that implements this kind of architecture. When that happens, the browser sends a request to the server, usually a GET request.

The server then gets all the required data from the database and puts it into HTML. It then returns this HTML back to the client (the browser). The browser then displays the HTML which comes with markup and data.

Client-Side Architecture

The client-side architecture can be seen as the opposite of the server-side architecture. If an application has all or most of the tasks related to the User Interface handled on the client-side, then such an application has implemented the client-side architecture. This is the most popular architecture with web applications today.

In this architecture, the server provides an API (Applications Programming Interface) that is tasked with returning data in a format known as JSON. The client is then responsible for creating the page that a user wants. It does this by using data provided by the server, then using DOM manipulation to ensure that the data is inserted into HTML using JavaScript.

How Does the Client-Side Architecture Work?

A user launches an application running under the client-side architecture in their browser. The first thing that the browser does is sending requests to the server asking for the HTML. Here, the HTML lacks any data and comes in the form of a template where data can be inserted later, unlike in the server-side architecture. With the HTML, the browser is able to display something, usually labels, layouts, and images.

After that, the work of APIs comes in. The server comes with an API that the browser (the client) sends one or more requests to, asking for the data from the server. These are usually GET requests. The server then gets the requested data from its database and sends it back to the client. With the data, the client (the browser) uses DOM manipulation to insert the received data into HTML for display.

The client-side architecture is the most commonly used in applications today. If you look at the top design tricks to increase click-through rates, you will realize that the tricks use this architecture.

Developers building client-side applications need to look at a number of things to make sure that their applications run well without any interruptions. These include;

  • Caching: The first thing they need to look at is whether their architecture has been optimized to allow caching or not. For instance, the HTML that the client receives from the server is static. This means that it can be cached. In addition, some API calls are similar, or rather repetitive, meaning that they can also be cached.
  • Network Usage: Developers need to make sure that their applications use the network efficiently by fetching only the data that is required. This is important in slow network connections.
  • Database Usage: In addition to efficient network usage, developers need to ensure that the database provides exactly the data that is needed.
  • Reuse of the API: This is one of the most important things with APIs. Developers need to make sure that they are able to use the API for other functions in the client-server architecture.

Finally, the client-side architecture comes with many benefits, key among them making things dynamic and applications faster. In addition, new web standards have made sure that developers do not have to worry about the versions of web browsers that users might access their applications with, making this architecture the better option for them.

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