5 API Issues and Resolutions
APIs, or application programming interfaces, are the connective tissues that are driving business transformation and fueling product development lifecycles. APIs have changed how the digital world interacts by facilitating the exchange of data across systems and machines regardless of language or location. As more businesses and software rely on APIs, it opens the door to more errors as developers are interacting with code developed through an outsourced agency and the code is not always visible. Luckily, there are 5 common issues that arise when using APIs and relatively easy fixes based on the error codes received.
Issue 1: Wrong Protocol, HTTP v. HTTPS
As discussed in our previous blog, there are two protocols for API endpoints, HTTP and HTTPS. The HTTPS endpoint adds an additional layer of security to help prevent malicious intent and is becoming ever more popular among API providers to stay relevant and valuable. While most have switched to HTTPS, there are errors that can occur without the HTTPS endpoint.
HTTP Errors Codes
4XX Errors: Client-Side Status Codes
- 400 Bad Request: One of the most common HTTP status codes. This code means that the URL used for the request does not exist on the API server, the API request was not composed properly, or there is an issue with the application.
- 401 Unauthorized: The credentials being used cannot be authorized by the server. This can be caused by either using incorrect login information or not having proper permissions.
- 403 Forbidden: There are authorization issues such as lacking permission to access the URL even when authenticated, using the wrong API key, or trying to access features without proper permissions.
- 404 Not Found: Another common HTTP status code that indicates that the server can’t find the requested resource from the API provider such as a URL not existing or incorrect data parameters.
- 405 Method Not Allowed: The server received and recognizes the request made but the method used for the request is not supported.
50X Errors: Server-Side Status Codes
- 500 Internal Server: A generic error code that has many reasons for occurring, but it typically indicated that there is an issue with the providers internal systems or how the request was written.
- 502 Bad Gateway: A server that is acting as a gateway or proxy receives an invalid response.
- 504 Gateway Timeout: A server that is acting as a gateway or proxy doesn’t receive a response in the allocated time due to connectivity issues or incorrectly written requests.
While API errors can be caused by many issues, most can be resolved by referring to your API documentation. In your documentation, make sure you are calling the correct endpoint as well as formatting requests properly. Our SiliconExpert team members can help debug your issues as well.
Issue 2: Using the Wrong HTTP Method
Depending on the action you are looking to complete, there are different HTTP methods such as GET, POST, PUT, PATCH, DELETE with RESTful APIs and different endpoints require different HTTP methods.
- GET, retrieve a resource
- POST, create a resource and associate with proper hierarchy and receive a dedicated URL for reference
- PUT, edit a resource by replacing content entirely
- PATCH, update a resource without replacing it
- DELETE, delete a resource
When using the wrong method, the API will return one of the error status codes such as the 405 Method Not Allowed. To fix this issue, double check the API documentation to make sure that you are using the correct HTTP method.
Issue 3: Invalid Authorization
Most APIs require authorization to access so that the providers can control how the data is shared and used. Authorization can be by an API key, username and password, OAuth 2 token, or a JSON web token. Authorization is often required every time a request is made to the server.
Improper authorization will typically be indicated by a 403 Forbidden error. To fix this error code, refer back to your API documentation as well as verify that your credentials are accurate. If you are a SiliconExpert client and you are still having issues, reach out to one of our API team members.
Issue 4: Caching
Caching is often used for heavily used APIs as it helps drive efficiency without overloading servers for repeated frequent requests. However, there are two issues that can arise due to caching,
- Prolonged caching time, or the amount of time information is stored, causes outdated information
- An error state is cached and will still return error even if it has been resolved if cache is not cleared
To resolve this issue, consider reducing caching time to catch and fix outdated information. Additionally, you can check with your API provider or SiliconExpert representative to see if there is a testing environment that doesn’t use caching.
Issue 5: Invalid Fields
This issue happens when data is not only being requested from an API server but also passed to the server. In the case, you want to make sure that you are only sending data that the API server recognizes and eliminate the data that it doesn’t support. You can double check that your data matches the specifications by references the API documentation or talking to your SiliconExpert representative.
Get Started with SiliconExpert
The benefits of using an API typically outweigh the issues that arise such as driving business efficiency by making faster and more informed decisions, centralizing data for ease of access across organizations, paving the way for automating tasks or increasing product development time. With SiliconExpert’s API solutions, you can bring our comprehensive electronic and mechanical database into your system to illuminate your product design and supply chain. If you’re ready to get started or have additional questions, reach out to our API team of experts today.