Speed Up Your API Requests: 5 Simple Optimization Tips

Feb 3, 2024 ยท 2 min read

Making API requests can be frustratingly slow at times. Sitting and staring at a loading spinner while precious seconds tick by reduces productivity. Luckily, there are some easy ways to help speed things up.

1. Use Async/Await Instead of Promises

Promises simplify asynchronous code, but async/await syntax makes it even cleaner:

// Promises
function getUser() {
  return fetchUser()
    .then(user => fetchPosts(user)) 
    .then(posts => renderPosts(posts))
}

// Async/Await
async function getUser() {
  const user = await fetchUser();
  const posts = await fetchPosts(user);
  renderPosts(posts);  
}

Async/await allows non-blocking waiting which prevents the UI from locking up.

2. Set Reasonable Timeout Limits

Set a timeout on requests to prevent hanging if the API is slow:

async function getUser() {
  const response = await fetch('/users', {timeout: 3000});
  return response.json();
} 

Now it will throw an error if exceeding 3 seconds.

3. Check for Caching Options

Many APIs support request caching. This stores a copy of responses to speed up identical requests. Enable it if available.

4. Use a CDN

Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) have edge servers worldwide to geographically reduce latency. For public APIs, see if they offer a CDN endpoint.

5. Throttle Concurrent Requests

Limiting concurrent requests prevents overloading APIs and keeps browsers responsive. Libraries like Bottleneck simplify this.

The key is optimizing requests to maintain perceived performance. Careful management of calls allows buttery smooth user experiences. With async patterns and throttling, your API usage will sail smoothly.

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