The concept of API started rolling in near the 1960s. It’s not a new concept rather it set a new trend of making code reusable for multi-purpose programming. If it just strikes your mind because it’s just a new concept for you readers than this read will defiantly amuse you.
Application Programming Interfaces (API) made the digital experience of users more advance, which was not possible before. Business nowadays is much into investing in API Strategy to improve the internal operations and to produce significant dividends. Everything starting from marketing, business Mobile, and web applications are working on API strategies in order to improve digital operations.
What is API?
API does a lot of heavy stuff on your mobile and on the web. They are responsible for nearly every single operation we perform on mobile or web applications against just few clicks. Running your favorite music application, downloading software and applications running in the background are made possible via this. API’s quietly work for your every concern giving you an interactive way to deal with your multiple applications with multiple operations.
Here’s an example how API serves you. Just consider you are hungry and want to try something really appetizing. You connect to all restaurants and dining hotels in cities via a single application on your phone. You can access the menu, add advance toppings to your favorite pizza, book and order check availability, trace your order and all operations you may need. How’s that done? This is done via the help of API every individual hotel in your city has. API helps to search for your interest and its availability, look into databases, and select what you wanted on a single click. Hence you were able to get what you desired in no time with the help of API by integrating information of all available hotels.
Let’s start with another analogy that belongs to cash withdrawal and depositing from automatic teller machine which in short terms called as ATM.
What do you expect from ATM to respond you like? Obviously, you want a machine to tell you all details of your account including your bank account information, the amount available and all details of the transaction. This machine is not doing all such tasks itself but through a customized programmed code that allows, specific users, to access a certain part of the information in case the pin is correct. This is what is done via API which takes user request to the other end with a reply while accessing information within the database.
In programming terms API’s allow ATM to coordinate with your bank. In simple words it is taking human generated request passing through the number of security checks and then translating that human-generated request into machine language, grants permission and update your every action performed by updating information. When it comes to User Interface action against every single click, distinguishing among every single user performing the same set of actions against different pin codes is because of APIs.
Summarizing above example every single operation performed generates outputs according to the API used.
What API Does in Technical World?
A website used a URL address to execute a call to the server and pull up a webpage in a browser. API’s not only facilitating calls to the server but execute every single request smoothly. It helps in connecting to web browsers allowing developers communicating and to play within databases and other web services. They act as universal converter plug by giving a standard set of operations and instructions.
Components of API
- Journey or flow of events begins with shared assets as they serve as a currency to APIs. They can be anything that individual companies want to share. It can be internal data between teams or externally with other developers, the price of code or services that company owns and consider valuable to share.
- Next API acts as a server or gate away to the server. It offers the point of entry for all audience, including developers who will make those assets to create their own software but it also serves as barriers or refined filter for those assets. As you will never open a whole application or entire server to outside world. API helps in revealing only the type of information that you want a user to see in order to prevent data leakage and maintaining the integrity of your system.
- It is very rare that API will directly communicate with the end users. The end user is never immediate audience. Mostly the application is developed to serve user through a set of events and properly channeled network of API. In this part, API serves its sole purpose as to produce final yield there are clusters of API involved. It also helps developers to reuse programmed code multiple times.
- All of this results in application to get connected to data and all related services. API further allows providing richer data and more intelligent experiences for users. API-powered applications are adaptive in nature with all devices and operating systems results in providing more efficient experience.
- In the end, the end users enjoy the final products. These applications enable users to enjoy the tremendous and flexible environment to access their multiple tasks, flow into databases and using multiple social profiles and third party application through a single window.
Why is API Necessary?
As mentioned earlier, your whole internet experience runs via APIs. Instead of accessing various different platforms with multiple operations you can directly access right away from one platform. You can go through the directories and perform your complex operation in a very simple way.
In technical terms, API is divided into 3 parts
Application: This part includes applications that one use for smartphones or programmed software for performing any specific task.
Programming: Developer uses API’s to write code for their software.
Interface: Interface or front-end is the window from user interaction with the application to perform any particular operation. I-e sends messages, select hotel etc.
API makes web presence more efficient by interacting with data and storage, become middle layer by providing data to programmers so End users can easily access what they want to.
Type of APIs
- Public APIs belong to companies like Slack for developing customized software that will solely serve them for their own platforms. Those Public APIs will work for certain input and output values. There’s no need of submitting an application for approval in case API is public. They are usually documented and easily can be accessed without any delay.
- Private APIs whereas are specific to company’s goals. They are being used within the company domain. It’s just a company has multiple software’s, private components and it uses one platform to manage all of them. Changing private API is havoc and huge stress to handle as it involves a lot of loop holes.
API development needs a lot of domain knowledge and extensive experience. This is because APIs cannot afford any bugs and do not come up with versions of codes. There are very rare Software Development Companies that are serving for this purpose. API development is not just an overnight or weekly project but it involves constant effort and extensive requirement gathering.