In computer programming, an API (or Application Programming Interface) is certain information, a bunch of definitions, tools and communication protocols that are used for building software. Basically, it’s a set of methods and packages which makes it easier to build software. It consists of all the building blocks that are used together by mobile app developers.
An API may come in the form of a web-based system, database system, software library, operating system or computer hardware.
Or, you may also say an API is a medium that connects two applications to talk to each other. Thus, web API allows applications to retrieve data to display the appropriate information on the mobile screen- like a Google Map. In simple terms, an application built in iOS and Android requests some data or action from an API.
In the mobile-driven world, a number of businesses and consumers are using the web, and mobile apps to perform daily basis tasks. But they really don’t know as to how an API builds and work?
In this article, we will discuss as to how to develop an API and How it works?
There are various reasons for using APIs in web and mobile applications. Well, imagine you are developing a mobile application and want to integrate Map on it to allow end users to view their current locations on the map. And, for that, you require certain information to make this app work. Now, what will you do? Will you build a new API or use Google API? Building a new API is not easy enough and there may be inaccuracy and bugs or errors. Now you search for alternatives and use something related to it called Google Map API. Implementing Google Map API will not only give you accurate map data but save a lot of time in building a new one.
So based on the above scenario, APIs are simple terms to run applications with. The same way, there are several APIs available that you can undoubtedly use in your mobile applications.
How An API Works?
API gets the information from the server and display them on the end user screen.
Let’s understand it with the example-
Suppose you are planning to roam somewhere outside the city or country. What will you do first? Of course, you will book a flight and hotel ticket for the desired location. For this, you will take the help of a mobile application or website.
For flight ticket booking, you will select the destination, departure and return date, and submit the form. In return, you will get the list of flights with the price, timings, seat availability, and other details. How this actually makes it to you?
To display the result or data on your mobile screen, the platform sends the request based on the user’s query to the airline’s website to access the database of flight and get relevant data via API. The website responded back with the data which API delivered and display on the user’s screen.
Here, flight booking app and airline’s website are like an endpoint, where API works as a mediator to send and receive information.
To understand the API development lifecycle with the working process, contact our experts today!
Here is some basic terminology of the API Development
- API Key– An API key is a code passed in by computer programs to identify the calling program.
- Endpoint– The place where APIs interact with the available resources on another system called an endpoint.
- GET– GET commonly used in APIs and websites. It is a method which is used to retrieve data from a server at the specified resource.
- POST– This method is used to send the data to the API server to update or create a resource.
- OAuth– OAuth is known as a framework or open-standard authorization that provides secure end user’s account information to be used by third party websites or applications without accessing the user’s password.
- REST– A REST is an architectural style that makes the communication easier between the systems.
- SOAP– SOAP (or Simple Object Access Protocol) is an XML-based messaging protocol for exchanging information between the devices.
- Latency– Latency shows the time interval taken by an API in the process from request and response.
- Rate-Limiting– Rate-limiting refers to control the rate of incoming and outgoing traffic. Rate-limiting API defines the number of requests a user hits to an API per time.
- API Throttling– It refers to control the usage of APIs by the consumers for a specific time period.
Tools For Developing An API
- Swagger: It is an open-source framework, which is used for developing APIs. This tool is being used by top technology giants such as Apigee, Getty Images, Microsoft and PayPal.
- Swagger Editor: It is a data format inspired in languages such as Python and XML.
- Swagger Tools and Integrations: This provides a set of libraries and frameworks that are serving the Swagger ecosystem.
- OpenAPI Spec Tooling: It provides a set of frameworks and libraries serving the OpenAPI ecosystem.
- API Studio: Write, mock, and share your Swagger specifications online.
- Dredd: It is widely used to validate API documentation written in API Blueprint against its backend implementation.
- Restlet Studio: Web IDE for API Design.
- API Spec Converter: API Spec can be Converted between different API spec formats.
- Prism: Supercharge any OAS file with mocking, transformations, validations, and more.
- Apimatic: It supports API description formats including Swagger, OAI format, RAML, API Blueprint, IO Docs, WADL, Postman Collections and HAR 1.4 and more.
- Mulesoft Anypoint: This allows to design and publish enterprise-grade APIs using RAML.
- Sandbox: It provides an easy and quick mock RESTful API from API definitions.
- Restunited: Generate SDK, Documentation with Testing and Debugging.
If you are going through this article, then you will have a good understanding of what an API is. Thus, web API development is very easy that can be integrated into any web and mobile application easily. Applications made using IoT technology are used APIs. If you have any query related API, then contact our experts today.