What is the full form of API?
The full form of API is Application Programming Interface.
It is a software intermediary that allows two applications to communicate with each other. It is a set of routines, protocols and tools which are used by developers to build software and applications.
It is used in procedural languages, object-oriented languages, frameworks, etc. and the most common APIs are REST and SOAP API.
Each time we use an application like a weather app, instant message etc, we are using API. When we use an application on our mobile phone, the application connects to the Internet and sends data to a server. The server retrieves the data, interprets it, perform the necessary actions and send it back to your phone. The application then interprets that data and presents the information in human-readable form.
Types of APIs
There are mainly four types of APIs which are:
1 Open APIs - APIs which are publicly available to use
2 Partner APIs - They have special rights and licenses which are only available to a few people
3 Internal APIs - Developed by companies for their internal use
4 Composite APIs - Combines different data and service APIs
Some of the most admired API features are as follow:
- Offers a valuable service
- It is quite simple and very flexible to use
- APIs offers exceptional developer support
- Can help an entrepreneur to plan a business model
- Telegram Bots
- Weather Apps
- Flight/Hotel Booking Apps
- Extensible Markup Language (XML)
- A programmer doesn't have to write the entire code for an application
- Saves a lot of time
- Sharing data becomes easy
- Applications based on APIs are high-speed
- APIs are also helpful to customize and enhance applications
- Can be used to access data from applications
- Security Issues
- System crashing issues
- Maintenance is difficult
- The cost of APIs tend to be on the higher side
- Easily hackable
Here are some API examples that we use in our daily life:
When we search for hotels online. We have a variety of options to choose from. Different cities, departure and return dates etc. In order to book a hotel online, we interact with Hotel's website to access their database and see if rooms as per our needs are available and what are the costs.Now see another scenario - we are using a hotel booking service like goibibo - which aggregates information from a number of hotel databases. In this case, goibibo is a hotel search API.
APIs are driven by a set of specific technologies. APIs can work with any common programming language with the most popular approach to delivering web APIs like REST.
APIs returns data in two forms, which are:
Developers take this data and use it in web and mobile applications. XML and JSON are easily consumed by spreadsheets and other tools non-developers can use as well.
This makes APIs potentially usable by anyone. The technologies which are commonly found in APIs were not designated by a single standards body or by a single company. It is based upon the best practices of existing, successful providers over the last decade.
Some of the Advantages of APIs are:
Some of the disadvantages of APIs are: