Interface Design

Core Technologies:

  • REST APIs: Representational State Transfer (REST) is the predominant architectural style for building web services. It provides a structured, standardized way to expose backend functionality. Key benefits:
    • Lightweight: Simple format (usually JSON), ideal for efficient communication.
    • Scalability: Handles large numbers of requests gracefully.
    • Language/Platform Agnostic: Can be built and consumed across different technologies.
  • GraphQL: A query language for APIs that offers more flexibility and control than REST. Key benefits:
    • Reduced over-fetching/under-fetching: Clients fetch only the data they need.
    • Strong Typing: Reduces errors and improves codebase understanding.
    • Great for complex data scenarios
  • WebSockets: Enable real-time, bi-directional communication between the backend and clients (like web UI). Key benefits:
    • Real-time updates: Data changes are pushed to clients instantly.
    • Persistent Connection: No overhead of constant HTTP requests.
    • Useful for streaming data, dashboards, chat systems, etc

Integration Technologies:

  • Message Queues: Help in decoupling components in complex pipelines, promoting asynchronous communication.
    • Reliability: Durable messaging in case of component failure.
    • Load Balancing: Handles bursts in incoming requests.
    • Popular options: RabbitMQ, Kafka, Amazon SQS, ActiveMQ
  • RPC (Remote Procedure Call): Allows direct function calls between distributed systems. Modern variants (like gRPC) are highly efficient and cross-language compatible.
    • Tight Coupling: Good for direct, synchronous communication patterns.
    • Faster than some REST interactions in specific scenarios

Data Formats:

  • JSON: JavaScript Object Notation. Lightweight, human-readable, and the most common standard for data exchange in web APIs.
  • XML: Older but still used, allows for extensive markup of data.
  • Protocol Buffers: Binary format from Google. Efficient serialization and deserialization make it suitable for high-performance scenarios.

Choice Considerations:

  • Pipeline Complexity: Simple pipelines might need only REST APIs, while complex data structures and real-time needs could point towards GraphQL and WebSockets.
  • Data Transfer Volume: Large data volumes might favor Protocol Buffers for efficiency.
  • Real-time Requirements: WebSockets are essential for real-time data flows and updates.
  • Developer Experience: Your team's familiarity with technologies plays a role in selection.