FinServ APIs: How to Improve Governance & Deploy with Confidence
Financial services innovation continues to progress at a breakneck pace. For example, fintech developers can programmatically spin up accounts, move money, and issue and manage cards with Increase or embed financial services into their marketplace with Stripe – capabilities that were unimaginable just a few years ago.
With fintech startups raising more than $50 billion during the first half of 2022, these developers are increasingly seeking robust Open Banking APIs to develop their cutting-edge applications. As a result, financial services companies have an opportunity to build their franchise or risk losing out in a rapidly evolving industry.
Let’s examine how a design-first approach, contract testing, and collaboration tools can improve financial services APIs.
Financial services innovation continues progressing at a breakneck pace, and APIs are the cornerstone of next-generation capabilities. The key to success is increasing velocity without compromising quality.
How to Ensure Agility & Quality
Financial services innovation continues its progression, making development velocity critical to success. But, of course, there's a fine line between development velocity and quality. The "move quickly and break things" mentality may suffice for Silicon Valley startups, but financial services rely on high levels of trust and security.
Fortunately, a few strategies can help maximize development velocity without compromising quality.
#1 Take a Design-First Approach
A design-first approach involves creating a human and machine-readable API contract, such as an OpenAPI specification (OAS), before writing any code. With a robust plan, you improve internal communication and move faster while adhering to high stability, usability, and design standards.
Swagger is the go-to open-source tool for creating OpenAPI specifications. For instance, you can use Swagger Editor to render an OpenAPI definition visually, generate server and client stubs with Swagger Codegen, and make living documentation for internal and external users with Swagger UI.
#2 Automate Compliance & Testing
Linters and reusable code repositories can augment integrated development environments (IDEs), making it easier for developers to adhere to the standards of the moment. For instance, OpenAPI code linters can ensure their schemas match specifications in various languages and platforms before it even reaches CI/CD processes.
Meanwhile, contract testing is quickly replacing conventional end-to-end (E2E) tests as a more maintainable way to ensure API quality. Rather than trying to keep tests up to date, contract tests validate that both the API producer (server) and consumer (client) adhere to a contract – even bi-directionally, in some cases.
#3 Enable Clear Communication
New microservices architectures have added complexity to the tech stack and made collaboration more difficult. With different teams responsible for different microservices, ensuring that everyone is adhering to the same API standards is challenging – and don’t forget patching together end-to-end (E2E) tests across groups.
Team collaboration tools can help mitigate these problems by keeping everyone on the same page. For example, real-time comments in IDEs can help developers communicate with collaborators and track open issues. And tight integration with existing tooling, such as source control or build platforms, can keep everything running smoothly.
Finding Open & Universal Solutions
Open source solutions, like Swagger and Pact, make it easy to reap the benefits of better API design and quality. But, it's challenging to scale these solutions and enforce standards across an entire team. And often, ensuring compliance at the CI/CD stage slows development velocity and can become frustrating for developers.
Enterprise solutions can help solve these problems with more robust tooling and capabilities. But, while these solutions typically include team features, extended integrations, and more features, the best solutions still use open and universal standards. These make them more compatible and more accessible than proprietary solutions.
SmartBear offers two enterprise solutions building upon widely adopted open source standards – SwaggerHub and Pactflow.
SwaggerHub builds up on the OAS foundation with an enterprise-ready platform that makes collaboration easier for teams. For example, the API Editor features embedded API design rules that reinforce standards in real-time. That way, developers don't have to wait until the CI/CD stage to discover potential issues.
Some of the platform's key features include:
- A powerful IDE with smart error feedback and syntax auto-completion to help developers be more productive in the early stage of API development.
- Domains for storing, reusing, and referencing common OAS syntax across multiple APIs, ensuring consistency for API consumers and speeding up development.
- Auto-generated Swagger UI documentation keeps everyone up to speed and working from a single source of truth.
- API mocking to virtualize operations without any code, enabling different teams to work simultaneously toward a solution.
Pactflow simplifies and expands upon the open-source Pact framework's contract testing. For example, Pactflow includes bi-directional contract testing, enabling new contract capture and compliance modes, a broader set of use cases, and a simplified developer experience – making contract testing even more powerful.
Some of the platform's features include:
- Bi-directional contract testing integrates with OpenAPI, making it easy to retrofit contract testing onto an existing system and move from monolithic to microservice architectures.
- The Can I Deploy UI provides a query interface to ensure that you can safely deploy your application. And if something fails, you can quickly see why and debug the problem outside of a CLI.
- Hosted stubs make it easy to maintain test environments while simplifying local development against multiple backends.
The Bottom Line
Financial services continue to evolve rapidly as new APIs open the door to fintech innovation. As a result, FinServ businesses should promote API development to the center stage, creating the best possible developer experience. Doing that, though, requires access to the right development and collaboration tools.
Try SwaggerHub and Pactflow today and see how they can speed up your API development while maximizing quality. Or, contact us to schedule a free demo and learn how these solutions might fit into your development workflows.