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What is an API? In English, please

Posted on: July 4th, 2023 by rufert15 No Comments

But, if you see a software platform or service has added new APIs for various hardware or services, it should be easier for developers to take advantage of such features. They mean you can interact with apps, smart TV services, your car and more and yet you never see them. They don’t know that it is a powerful technology capable of achieving great things. Additionally, today, APIs are treated more like products than code. They are designed for consumption for specific audiences (e.g. mobile developers), and they are documented and versioned in a way that enables users to have clear expectations of their maintenance and lifecycle. This observation led to APIs that supported all types of programming, not just application programming.

api explanation

A two-way interactive communication session between the user’s browser and a server can be made smoother and faster with the help of an organized set of APIs known as WebSockets. WebSocket APIs play a vital role in helping receive event-driven responses, and they also help in easier management of sending messages to a server. Plus, the entire process involving this doesn’t even require having to poll the server in order to receive a reply. APIs are used to integrate new applications with existing software systems. This increases development speed because each functionality doesn’t have to be written from scratch.

Common third-party APIs

To avoid this, the client caches or stores these images after the first response and then uses the images directly from the cache. RESTful web services control caching by using API responses that define themselves as cacheable or noncacheable. If you aren’t available, but one of the frontend developers on your team wants to consume it, that could be a proble. If there is no guide or instructions explaining what each API does and there are no sample requests and responses, it can really slow down the development process.

api explanation

This beginner’s guide to APIs covers API basics, such as common types of web-based APIs and the future of APIs. APIs are the center of software development to exchange data across applications. The API testing includes sending requests to single/multiple API endpoints and validating the response. It focuses majorly on business logic, data responses and security, and performance bottlenecks. In contrast to a user interface, which connects a computer to a person, an application programming interface connects computers or pieces of software to each other.


First up, we’ll start by looking at APIs from a high level — what are they, how do they work, how to use them in your code, and how are they structured? We’ll also take a look at what the different main classes of APIs are, and what kind of uses they have. Postman is the #1 place where developers come to work with APIs.

An API specification defines these calls, meaning that it explains how to use or implement them. In a layered system architecture, the client can connect to other authorized intermediaries between the client and server, and it will still receive responses from the server. You can design your RESTful web service to run on several servers with multiple layers such as security, application, and business logic, working together to fulfill client requests. The latest version, OAS3 (link resides outside, includes with hands-on tools, such as the OpenAPI Generator, for generating API clients and server stubs in different programming languages. GraphQL is a query language that was developed specifically for APIs. It prioritizes giving clients exactly the data they request and no more.

Middleware is a collection of local APIs that both conspire to provide a remote API and work together to consume other remote APIs. Another observation is that APIs exist at different levels of a program and contain each other. Karate is an open-source tool for operations like API test-automation, performance-testing, UI automation into a single, and so on. Testing your API endpoints might be challenging after developing them, but there are some super helpful tools I’ll share here that’ll help you test your APIs efficiently. An API (Application Programming Interface) serves as a middleware that lets you channel data between software products. In this article, I will explain what APIs are, why you need them, and we’ll dive into API specifications, documentation, and more.

You need them to process an order and confirm payment if you are selling anything. You need them to collect data if that is the goal of your solution. While the way people talk about APIs sounds horribly complex, in reality they are very easy to understand.

  • If your website’s server is making the API request, then your website’s server is the client (similar to your browser being the client when you use it to navigate to a website).
  • Since the actual HTTP transmission happens in text, your browser will always do the best it can to display the response.
  • For example, when you log in to your email server, your email client uses authentication tokens for secure access.

Unlike GUIs, an API helps software developers to access web tools while a GUI helps to make a program easier to understand by users. Microservices is an architectural style that divides an application into smaller, independent components (also called microservices), connected using REST APIs. Building an application as a collection of separate services enables developers to work on one application component independent of the others, and makes applications easier to test, maintain, and scale. Traditionally, API referred to an interface connected to an application created with any of the low-level programming languages, such as Javascript. Modern APIs, however, adhere to REST principles and the JSON format. They are typically built for HTTP, resulting in developer-friendly interfaces that are easily accessible and widely understood by applications written in Java, Ruby, Python, and many other languages.

api explanation

REST API calls are ideal for cloud applications due to their statelessness. If something goes wrong, you can re-deploy stateless components, and they can grow to manage traffic shifts. OAuth combines passwords and tokens for highly secure login access to any system.