As an acronym, API appears in almost every tech article that you can possibly go through. However, what does API stand for, and why is it important?
What is API?
We can take an everyday example to illustrate what an API is.
We communicate with each other on a daily basis, that being with spoken/written language, gestures, facial expressions, and many other things. The same goes for user interface components. In order to interact with computers, applications, or websites, they need a menu, keyboard, and mouse.
On the other hand, a graphical user interface is not needed for communication between software components. Differently known as machine-readable interfaces, APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) allow these software components to communicate data and features.
Data transfer between different software products is made possible through an API, which is a collection of programming code. It also includes the conditions of this information exchange.
There are two components that make up the API are:
- Technical standard detailing the data interaction possibilities across solutions, with a specification done as a request for processing and data delivery protocols.
- Software interface created in accordance with the requirements.
Software that wants to access data or functionality from another software calls to that API while describing the conditions under which the data or functionality must be made available. The other program returns data or functionality that was requested by the earlier application.
And the API describes the communication interface between these two programs.
How Do APIs Work?
Client and serves are two terms that are used to explain the API architecture. The app which sends the request is known as the client, and the app which sends the response is known as the server.
Based on the circumstances surrounding their creation, APIs can operate in one of four ways:
Simple Object Access Protocol
With the SOAP APIs, the client and server communicate using XML. This API was more popular in the past. That is why it is a less flexible API.
Remote Procedure Calls
These APIs are known as Remote Procedure Calls. Through RPC, the client finishes a function on the server while the server returns the output to the client.
This API is a modern type of API that uses JSON objects to pass data. This kind of API has two-way communication between client and server. It is more effective than REST API since the server may deliver callback messages to the connected clients.
Many companies in the tech industry have made themselves popular in this environment. We will mention two of the API companies that are the most popular at the moment.
Google is one of the biggest companies in the technology world. Many other companies rely on them for how they should handle themselves.
A well-known API within Google is the Google Maps API which is used by many websites with integrated maps.
Another API example is Cross-platform Vulkan which enables the creation of real-time visuals of the highest quality for usage in apps and drives communication between a program and a graphics processing unit.
- API appears in almost every tech article that you can possibly go through.
- APIs allow these software components to communicate data and features.
- Data transfer between different software products is made possible through an API.
- Client and serves are two terms that are used to explain the API architecture.
- Two examples of API companies are Google (Google Maps) and Cross-platform Vulkan.