The API-first vs Mobile-First Approach

When it comes to developing apps, there are two strategies that you can choose from. The basic strategy, known as Mobile-first involves creating a basic landing page and then build either an iOS or an Android app (depending on whether you are targeting the USA market or the European Market. So this means that you start with a single version of your app, and if you are successful, you extent and develop new versions along the way. The API-first approach involves setting up the foundation of your app, which is the application programming interface. Nowadays, there are many Parse server providers that allow you to easily customize your API for different platforms. Its a way to plan for the future and save time and money along the way.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the API-first approach

The API-first approach is often referred to as Mobile Backend-as-a-service. Its great because it allows you to communicate with cloud based storage and link with different software development kits. If you choose a good open source Parse server provider, you will be able to store all types of data and easily access them on different platforms without spinning servers. Moreover, you can play with the API as much as you want without having to write any code.


  • You have access to unified development steps instead of repeating redundant tasks for different operating systems
  • You can easily grow the quantity and the quality of your app according to new market trends
  • You have more time to focus on the factors that really matter like the core app features or the user experience
  • No more boilerplate code
  • Increased revenue and/or visibility. By allowing third parties to access different types of information from your app, you can benefit from increased visibility or even added revenue if you choose to charge those parties for the provided information.


  • No long-running functions, since BaaS is based on a data first-code later approach. Nonetheless this can be solved with short calculators and validators.
  • Untrusted environment for the clients. On top of the basic OAuth and SSL you should also use end-user credentials for improved security.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Mobile-first approach

If your app is specifically designed for a certain market, a mobile first approach might be the best solution for you. However, keep in mind that if the situation changes, you won’t be able to quickly develop for new audiences.


  • Quick launch for a specific market


  • It takes time and money to duplicate your processes and customize your app manually for different platforms
  • You need to constantly switch to PHP to improve your backend
  • It’s hard to access the backend when it comes to big servers of large companies
  • Endless repeat code and constant errors when switching from one OS to another

The API-first approach has clearly more advantages, which is why nowadays it is used by most mobile developers.

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