In this post, we’re going to have a look at what is an API and why it’s so important today’s web.
API Full Form: What is an API?
The term API stands for Application Programmable Interface, and it’s a way for different. There are many types of API and the reasons why they are used. For starters, APIs can be used to get access to data from third parties.
As an example, it would be the weather app on your phone. Google or Apple have not gone out and put temperature sensors all over the world. Apple, for instance, is using the API of The Weather Channel. API’s allow different apps and services to exchange information.
What Are APIs? Simply Explained
These days, it’s hard to find a service that doesn’t have an API. There are APIs to look up recipes, lyrics, information on barcodes, zip codes, available parking spaces, public holidays, and so on and so on.
Let’s go to an example, That this is Facebook’s infrastructure, Facebook’s database with all the user’s information and information that users post all the images everything that Facebook owns and their data centers and their code everything that defines Facebook.
So if it was 10 years ago people would go to Facebook’s website and they could access Facebook’s functionality through Facebook’s web application or maybe through their app. If it was still based on that previous architecture but there is one huge problem with this or with the Twitter’s or Google’s kind of approach towards the matter just by allowing the users accessing their services through their own products.
Let’s go through an example, let’s say that I’m going to build my own app, I’m going to call it my app and I’m
going to give it some functionalities that usually these like apps these days have.
Let’s say that I’m going to give it some shared functionality maybe even the Facebook login or Google login whatever you think is possible with apps these days. The big problem is that if I want to employ any of these big names features into my own app or even if I want to connect my own app to a server which we’re going to talk about in the future post the problem is that I can’t really access these services via their web app or mobile app that’s an issue.
If there is no way for me to connect these services directly and exchange information then basically I would not be able to use their services and information on my own cost their app. So basically that’s what API allows us to do.
The API opens an interface that I can connect you via my app and I can use that particular company services in my own app by just coding those services and that API into my own app and use their billion-dollar infrastructure and bring more services to my users. Of course you can have your own API on your server as I mentioned before if you’re abused as a back-end server which provides the app with the content and user management then you need to build an API for your own back-end servers but basically, if you want to access any service outside of your own app’s code then you need to use an API.
A kind of a standard API to use those services each of these services that you see these days they have their
own kind of API that you can use in your app and the good thing is that it’s crazy what you can use in your app
basically for free sometimes you need to pay some money to use these API’s but the majority of times they’re free and sometimes there are some limitations on the use of API.
So you won’t go and overuse the API and overuse the service but you get the idea you would be able to kind of boost your app’s functionality using these billion-dollar services in your app just by adding a couple of lines of code.
So it’s a great way for today’s web to kind of connect different services with each other and bring more functionality to people. Another example would be in the web kind of area Facebook comments that’s basically kind of accessing Facebook’s functionality through an API.
So hope you get the idea. It’s a very simple and basic idea. A very valuable way to increase your app’s functionality whether we’re talking about a mobile app or a web app.