What is API – Definition, Specification, Types, Documentation and More
What is API and what it is for?
- We will explain What is API and what these protocols are for which are a fundamental part of the functioning of current applications and websites.
- Surely you have heard about them more than once when a top-rated service puts limits on their API or creates new ones to extend their use in other applications.
- We will start by explaining to you in the simplest way we can what exactly an API is and what its main uses are.
- Then, we will finish with some examples with which you will be able to get an idea of what they are for and how
What is an API?
- The term API is an abbreviation of Application Programming Interfaces, which in Spanish means application programming interface.
- It is a set of definitions and protocols used to develop and integrate application software
- Allowing communication between two software applications through a set of rules.
- Thus, we can speak of an API as a formal specification that establishes how a software module communicates or interacts with another to fulfill one or many functions.
- You heard of these APIs but did not understand well how they work.
- That is normal because they are never on the surface of a web or application.
- They are not the visible part but the internal circuits that only developers see and connect to make a tool work.
- For an average user, the only thing you will see from an API is the results.
How you can publish the results of a play on Twitter?
- When that application sends you notifications to your mobile or computer.
- As we have said before, APIs can have both functions and can become authentic toolkits.
- When this happens, your application can send a request with a particular structure.
- And this structure will determine how the service or software to which you are sending that request will respond.
- They can be private for the use of a company, open only for partners.
- Public for any developer to interact with them or create their APIs.
- They can also be local APIs for applications that communicate within the same environment or device or remote when you have to access a different point.
- Non-open source services also allow others to use specific features of your applications or services without providing them with all the code.
- These external developers will use a function without knowing how the processes make it possible to work internally.
What is an API used?
- One of the main functions of APIs is to make it easier for developers and save them time and money.
- For example, if you are creating an online store application.
- You will not need to create a payment system or another from scratch to check if there is stock available for a product.
- You can use the API of an existing payment service.
- For example, PayPal, and ask your distributor for an API that allows you to know the stock they have.
- With this, it will not be necessary to have to reinvent the wheel with each service created.
- Since you will use parts or functions that others have already made.
- Imagine that each online store had to have its payment system.
- It is much more convenient for regular users to do so with the primary services that almost everyone uses.
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