API Development & Integration – A guide to What is an API,Its Aspects, Working & Dominance
What is an API?
API is an acronym for Application Programming Interface. It is a massive economy in itself because of its heavy use. In addition, many blue-chip companies are making money by offering their API to developers for specific purposes.
How does API work?
Assume you are sitting in a restaurant with a menu in your hand. Assume the restaurant’s kitchen as a “system” that will prepare your food. We need a communication link between the kitchen and your table to transfer your order to the kitchen and then serve food back to you. We usually refer to this link as a waiter in a restaurant or API in programming.
Here a waiter is a messenger or API that accepts your order and informs the kitchen what to do. Then the waiter delivers your order back to your table.
To understand it better, let us take a real-life example.
When you book an online railway ticket, you have various options to select from. These include different cities, starting date of journey, return date of journey, boarding station, seat class, Etc. To book a seat, all the options mentioned above with several other needs to be set. In the process of booking seats, accessibility to the database of the Indian railway is needed. However, what if you are not using the Indian railway’s website directly? Instead, you are using an aggregator website such as yatra.com or makemytrip.com. The ticket booking service, in this case, interacts with the Indian railway’s website. Here, the API will request the website’s server to provide all the necessary details and respond to the user.
Aspects of modern API
- Modification timestamp/Search by criteria.
All modern-day APIs provide search functionality to search datasets by their date.
A standard API will put restrictions on the amount of data requested in one attempt and the frequency of data requests. In addition, it should notify how many pages are left to be retrieved.
An API should allow for sorting data according to the time of modification at least.
- JSON support / REST:
Although an API doesn’t have to be RESTful to be considered good, most of the new APIs are REST APIs that support JSON and other formats like TXT, CSV, and XML.
- Authorization via OAuth:
A good API must offer authorization via OAuth. OAuth means that if a user wants to connect an application with another application via some services, they can self-authorize by granting service access to the application.
- Documentation support:
Last but not least, an API must have good documentation for the developers. MailChimp or Twilio are good at this.
Advantages of using APIs for developers:
- Availability of new data
- Integration becomes
Advantages of using APIs for business:
- Increases productivity
- Saves Cost
- Encourages innovation
- Collects data for
- intelligence analytics
- Creates new revenue
APIs come in all different shapes and sizes. Modern-day APIs are treated more like business products and less like code. Because nowadays, developers follow a more standardized approach to creating new APIs, they have a much stronger discipline for security and governance.