Posted on 18th Sep 2017 06:17 PM

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API - Application Programming Interface.

API is a set of tools and protocols for building a software applications. It is the predefined method of communication between 2 web based software applications. Communication means interact when one application likes to access data by another, send data to that application. It is a tool that makes a website data easily understood by a computer. Through this computer can view and edit heavy data easily.  API is a software to software interface without any user interface. An API helps in developing a program, by providing building blocks, which are put together by programmer. API usually simplifies the difficult tasks, by providing a layer that hides complexities.

Examples of API 

Making payment through online, sharing or tweeting through social media through social media account, showing list of tweets are all services of API at back. Using an API, we send a request to allow us to post on social account like Twitter/Facebook, they responds by posting status on social account.
Basically API is divided by 2 sides one is “Server” and other one is “Client”.
  • Server : API is the server that receives requests and send responses. Server asks and retrieves the right information.
  • Clients : Browsers are clients who receives the responses every time, when they browse the web. Here in this case, client types into web, a request goes on to that particular page, server interprets code and displays the page.

How does API work ?

 An API allows a software application to interact with a remote application through series of calls over internet. These API’s are built by larger companies for their software developers to use their services and customers as well.

Categories of API : 

Web based system API :

It is an API to either a web server end or a browser/client end, limited to web applications on client side. It is used as web service software, because, every time software developer doesn’t have to start from scratch to write a program. It provides access to its services through address called “url” on world wide web. Web services uses “HTTP” to exchange information which other applications can understand. Http receives requests and responds to it. This HTTP requests and responds include information in the Header, body of message, metadata, content, type of language. Mostly used data formats in API are XML and JSON. JSON (Javascript object notation), is the backend code written, which API’s can easily interact with. It is used as storing organised data which is easy to access. 

Mostly used web services types are : 
  • SOAP : Simple Object Access Protocol
  • REST : Representational State Transfer
Giant companies like e-bay, Amazon, Google provide web based API. Some of the examples are Facebook Graph API, Amazon S3 REST API, Twitter REST API. 

Operating system based API :

Operating system’s offer an API, so that software programme can interact with multiple operating system which helps in creating windows or mac applications. Error notifications, printing documents access to file system are the different functionalities provided by OS based API. some of the examples of OS based API are WINAPI, COCOA, CARBON, etc., 

Hardware System API :

These API’s allows access to hardware components of a system. These API are very important as they establish communication to hardware like collection of sensor data to display on screen. Some of the examples of hardware system API are Cube Sensor, Hardware Acceleration, Quant Electronic, etc.,