The term API may refer either to the specification or to the implementation. Whereas a system’s user interface dictates how its end-users interact with the system in question, its API dictates how to write code that takes advantage of that system’s capabilities. Application program interface (API) is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. An API specifies how software components should interact and APIs are used when programming graphical user interface (GUI) components. A good API makes it easier to develop a program by providing all the building blocks. API is an abbreviation for Application Programming Interface which is a collection of communication protocols and subroutines used by various programs to communicate between them.

For example, Weather Underground sells access to its weather data API. Before I learned software development, API sounded like a kind of beer. RapidAPI is the world’s largest API Hub with over 4 Million
developers and 35,000 APIs. Donations to freeCodeCamp go toward our education initiatives, and help pay for servers, services, and staff. Testing your API endpoints might be challenging after developing them, but there are some super helpful tools I’ll share here that’ll help you test your APIs efficiently.

What Is JSON?

These components can be maintained in relative isolation, and the functionality behind them can be reused between different applications. APIs are essential to good software design, and they assume a range of incarnations in the different layers of our software. When you are writing software, it is valuable to think of the code you are writing as a component, potentially reusable in other systems. If you do, you’ll likely focus on a limited set of functionality, and you’ll think about how the API surface area will interact with other components.

api meaning

We deliver hardened solutions that make it easier for enterprises to work across platforms and environments, from the core datacenter to the network edge. Once the prototype is tested, developers can customize it to internal specifications. Businesses need to respond quickly and support the rapid deployment of innovative services. They can do this by making changes at the API level without having to re-write the whole code.

What are APIs Used For? API Explanation For Beginners:

Using an API allows developers to add specific functionalities to their applications and can speed up the development process. An API, or application programming interface, is a set of rules that define how applications or devices can connect to and communicate with each other. A REST API is an API that conforms to the design principles of the REST, or representational state transfer architectural style. For this reason, REST APIs are sometimes referred to RESTful APIs.

  • Many applications and users do make use of APIs as a general tool, but they are also considered services and will normally require more controlled development and deployment.
  • APIs are essential to good software design, and they assume a range of incarnations in the different layers of our software.
  • And, most importantly, they have a much stronger discipline for security and governance.
  • This improves collaboration by reducing redundant work, increases visibility into API-related projects, and supports greater organizational alignment.

The API merely defines the interface; the piece of software that actually provides the API is known as the implementation of the API. For example, there are API’s for OS (WinAPI), API’s for other applications (like databases) and for specific libraries (for example, image processing), etc. To the browser, also known as the client, Facebook’s server is an API. This means that every time you visit a page on the Web, you interact with some remote server’s API. In this example, one program is you (the person ordering food), and one program is the kitchen.

An API Gateway is an API management tool for enterprise clients that use a broad range of back-end services. API gateways typically handle common tasks like user authentication, statistics, and rate management that are applicable across all API calls. An application programming interface can be synchronous or asynchronous. This means you and your customers can power digital apps and spur innovation in real time.

api meaning

From your users perspective, APIs allow them to complete the action without leaving your website. In technical terms, the difference is the format of the request and the response. Alternatively, your browser can often send an API request directly to Google’s server bypassing your server. When I think about the Web, I imagine a large network of connected servers. And is there a broader meaning than the one used in development and business? You wouldn’t want to have to continuously make a request to an API to see if a payment has been made.

api meaning

Fielding is a computer scientist and a prominent figure in the networked software industry. As a graduate student at the University of California Irvine, Fielding invented a robot for the web called MOMspider for a class project. Perhaps you want to access all tweets that mention the #jimmychoo hashtag. You could email Twitter and ask for a spreadsheet of all these tweets. But then you’d have to find a way to import that spreadsheet into your application.

api meaning

As the name implies, an API gateway serves as a single point of entry for specific “clients,” or apps that want to access your API. Do your developers need to spend an unreasonable amount of time and money to create a brand-new mapping system from scratch? Not only will you api explanation save money and developer time, but customers also benefit from interacting with one of the best mapping applications ever made, and one they’re likely already familiar with. In essence, the API is a messenger that pulls information from one place and feeds it to another.