Application Programming Interface(API) Guide

    Application Programming Interface(API) – A Ultimate Guide Explained

    • November 26, 2021
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    Table Of Content:

    1) What is API?
    2) Why do we need an API?
    3) Types Of API
    4) API Examples
    5) How can one use Python requests with REST APIs?
    6) How to use API in JavaScript
    7) Difference between API & web services
    8) What is REST APIs & Its Example
    9) Top Free & Paid APIs for Mobile App Development
    10) What are the top backend API services for your mobile app?
    11) Key Takeaways

    Have you heard about API and were confused in understanding what it means? Let’s find out.

    API (Application Programming Interface) is used to set functions and procedures that allow for app creation to access data and feature other services, applications, or any operating system. API makes it easy to develop a computer program that offers building blocks and is put together by a programmer. Dive in to understand.

    What is API?

    An API is termed as the specification of possible interaction with a software component. For example, take a car and imagine it as a software component. The API includes data about what it can do like its features such as accelerate, brake, listen to the radio, and more. Understand how you can make it do things by putting your foot on the pedal and pushing. Similar to API, it does not explain what’s inside the engine, but you get to know the whole set of skills if you know how to drive.

    Let’s understand with another example, in case the above is not cleared. You want to buy movie tickets online. So, the first step is to visit the site, enter your movie details, add payment details, and print your tickets. But have you wondered what’s going between entering your data to getting a printed ticket? This is what API is. It is a collaboration behind the scenes with other apps.

    In short, API is not the database or server. Instead, it is a code that governs the access point for the server.

    Why do we need an API?

    Allow us to explain this with a scenario like you want to access another app data or their functionality. For example, you are using Twitter, and you want to add all Twitter tweets that mention the hashtag #fashion. Therefore, you have to email Twitter and ask them for a spreadsheet of all tweets, but can you import the spreadsheet into your app? Even if you have it on your database, the chances are that while you add it somehow in your app, it becomes outdated quickly.

    It is better and simpler for Twitter to only provide you with a way to get the data you can directly access and use in your app. Here comes the use of API, which offers access to information and can be used in different applications.

    Types Of API

    There are mainly four types of API used:

    • Open API: It is available publicly for everyone to utilize. It is also known as developer-facing or external, where API is used for any third-party developers. The API program helps in increasing brand awareness and receiving an additional source of income that executes correctly.
    • Partner API: It is a custom design by enterprise and offers access to business partners to buy specific items like vouchers or tickets. The typical use case for partner APIs is software integration between two parties. In the meanwhile, it monitors how exposed digital assets are used.
    • Private API: They are not public consumption but are used internally. The interfaces are designed for improving services and solutions within an organization. It helps in-house developers or contractors to use API to integrate IT companies and build a new system or any existing leveraging system. Even if the apps are public, the interface won’t allow you to access those files without an API publisher directly.
    • Composite API – Its diverse data and services APIs. It is foremost the ability to speed up the implementation course. It generally combines two or more APIs to craft a sequence of interdependent operations. It is beneficial to address complex or tight behaviour to improve speed over individual APIs.

    API Examples

    We find plenty of public APIs that may interest you and benefit you. The ability to access some platform company code programs via API makes it very prominent. Few of the examples of the API include:

    • Google APIs

    It allows us to connect your code to a whole range of Google services with maps to translate. Also, API is essential to Google because they lead API management platforms.

    • Facebook APIs

    It allows programming by accessing Facebook social graphs and marketing tools. The company restricts what user data can access via APIs in the fallout.

    How API works

    If you want to understand how APIs work, do a deep dive into two using Java API that allows Java developers to interact with the Java platform, Twitter API and public API using social networking services.

    • Google Maps

    There is no secret that Google is among the tech giants that comes with standard way companies operate. It primarily uses integrated maps using Google Maps APIs.

    How can one use Python requests with REST APIs?

    Integrate with a REST API using Python requests. Get the necessary tool and make sure you have Python and pip installed on your machine. The head over command line and install the Python request module with pip.

    Python Web Request Flow
    Source: https://dev.to/

    WSGI (Web Server Gateway Interface) is a standard specification that offers a web server used to run a Python web application. A typical web server cannot run Python web applications. It adds up standardization around with coming up using functionality to comprehensive the web app library.

    Additionally, it comes with deployment options like WSGI compliant server options to host Python web applications. It adds both hosted and self-hosted options using the above process.

    Also, check this Power Programming with Python – The Language of the Greats

    How to use API in JavaScript

    You need to get essential elements that work with API in JavaScript. It helps to create step-by-step pointers to create a JavaScript app with API integration.

    1: Get an API key

    The API key is generally used as a unique string of letters and numbers. To get started working with most APIs, one needs to register and get an API key. Also, to add an API key, one needs to request so the API recognizes you.

    2: Test API Endpoints with JavaScript

    After receiving the API key, we request an API endpoint to check if everything works well as required. Register the service, go to the API section of your interest, subscribe to it, and test endpoints directly on the API page. Now, quickly create a JavaScript snippet using Axios library to request the desired endpoint and try the work in the browser.

    3: Get ready to make your first JavaScript app with API

    After adding the code, check the endpoints and start creating an application, including necessary API calls.

    Difference Between API & Web Services

    Web ServicesAPI
    It supports XML.It uses responses formatted using Web API’s MediaTypeFormatter into JSON, XML, and other formats.
    All web services are APIs.All APIs are not web services.
    It is used by any client that understands XML.It’s used by clients that use XML or JSON.
    It uses SOAP protocol to send or receive data over the network. It does not have lightweight architecture.It has lightweight architecture.
    It offers support for HTTP protocol.It offers support for HTTP protocol: URL Request/Response Header etc.
    Web services use three styles: SOAP, REST, XML-RPC for communication.It uses any style of communication.

    What is REST APIs & Its Example

    REST APIs

    A computer scientist introduced representational State Transfer (REST) in 2000. REST is a software architectural style mainly used for building applications. It has worked over HTTP, often web services. It is considered a simple alternative to SOAP, where developers find it challenging to use it. As it requires writing a code to complete each task and following the XML structure.

    Whereas Web APIs can comply with REST architectural constraints called RESTful APIs. The APIs use HTTP requests to work with resources like PUT, GET, POST, HEAD, CONNECT, PATCH, OPTIONS, TRACE, and DELETE. The ability to support multiple formats for storing and exchanging data is why REST comes with the prevailing choice for building public APIs.

    The RESTFUL system supports messaging in different formats like HTML, plain TEXT, YAML, JSON, and XML, while SOAP allows XML. It provides external APIs to improve its brand visibility. Additionally, Twitter has numerous RESTful APIs. Expedia has both RESTful APIs and SOAP for its partners.

    JavaScript object Notation is one light-weighted and easy to parse text format for data exchange. It uses syntax based on a subset containing a collection of name pairs and an ordered list of values. The universal data structure is used with any programming language.

    Top Free & Paid APIs for Mobile App Development

    Check out the collection of free and freemium APIs for mobile apps. It includes:

    • ZeroBounce
    • Belize
    • Google Maps Geocoding
    • OpenWeatherMap

    What are the top backend API services for your mobile app?

    • Back4app: It is a leading open-source BaaS as it offers products based on multiple open-source technologies. It relies upon developers across the globe along with the robust feature. The backend provides services along with developers that perform swift app development.
    • AWS Amplify: It refers to a set of tools and services for developing AWS based on full-stack apps. It utilizes the development of custom onboarding, and real-time AI feeds, voice-powered experience, and more.
    • Parse: It’s one top backend service option app for web development, mobile app, and IoT. The framework mainly uses projects which deal with iOS and Android mobile applications. It offers a wide range of front-end services like React Native, Swift, Java, Xamarin, and Ionic.
    • Firebase: It’s one leading backend service platform that comes with several cutting-edge features. It offers users valuable tools for web and mobile app development. Additionally, it is based on NoSQL and offers data storage with JSON protocol.
    • Backendless: It’s another option to consider when looking at modern app development. It’s a source mobile backend service with a wide range of tools with effortless application development.

    Key Takeaways

    The role of APIs is higher if we look from the software development angle and collaboration angle. The interface for resources exchange. We enable that needed technology connectivity with delivery services. APIs offer critical insights into real-time possibilities with delivering on the spot. It gives developers the ability to make an API call or request to obtain information.

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