What is An Application Programming Interface?

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Application Programming Interface

Application Programming Interface

In this article. I’m going to be talking about what an application programming interface. Both in general and related specifically to web development. Let’s start now.

To get started API stands for application programming interface. Which is just a fancy way of saying what one application exposes to another. That is the API. Let’s take an

Example of a restaurant to describe how an API Works in non-technical terms.

So when you go to a restaurant you don’t go directly up to this chef and tell him what you want to order. You need to look at the In order something off of the menu. Because the menu tells you what the restaurant offers that is their API. This menu the API essentially tells you what that certain application is giving to you and the things that you can use from the application. So you go to the restaurant and you order something off of that menu. Then after you order something from that menu you tell them what you want. And restaurant is Going to give you whatever you ordered off of that menu. They’re going to give you back data.

So when you access an API that API you’re going to send it what you want, then it will send you back information based on what you wanted It.

application-programming-interface
Application Programming Interface

But if you go to this restaurant, for example a steak restaurant and you try to order a peanut butter jelly sandwich, they’re going to throw an error at you. They’re going to tell you we don’t serve peanut butter jelly sandwiches. You have to choose something on the menu and this makes API’s secure because the only exposed what you want to expose to the rest of the world.

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Web Application’s Role:

For example, a web application is not going to expose to the database with all the Information passwords. They’re only going to expose to you the login and sign up pages and not the actual database itself. This makes that website secure because they’re only exposing the parts that they want to some of the most common forms of API’s that you’ll run into as a developer are going to be rest API’s on the web and library API’s from code that you pull into your project.

Web API’s

Let’s first talk about these web API’s, which are going to be most likely rest API access. These API’s exposed different endpoints also known as URLs, which you can access to get certain data from that API. You can also access these endpoint in order to modify data on these servers, but it only is what the application actually exposes to you and wants to let you modify.

For example, you may be able to update it user through a rest API, but they’re not going to let you update the password. They’re only going to let you update the name in the email. For example. You also will to get users from this API, but they’re not going to return to you the password of the user the does give you the name and the email. This is a way that these servers can be secured by only exposing the information. They want through this API which is the contract that the server and the client are having between each other.

application-programming-interface
Application Programming Interface

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Common Application Programming Interface

The other most common Application Programming Interface, which is not really referred to commonly as an API. But is still technically API is an actual library that you pull into your code. These libraries have a bunch of different methods to find on them that do specific things. When you call them and return to you specific data when you call them, this is exactly what an API is it’s a contract between this Library code that you’ve installed and your actual project that using that libraries code you have different ways that you can access it only. Of the methods that they And you aren’t able to access the internals of that Library unless it’s through the methods that the API of the library exposes to you.

In Conclusion

The common theme with API’s is that the only exposed to exactly what they want you to be able to access. And hide away absolutely everything else that they can in order to make their API as secure as possible. Also commonly with web API. You’re going to need some form of token to authenticate yourself with this API. Which will allow the application to know whose axis in the API.

In order to limit what that person can access based on their specific permissions in conclusion. API’s are absolutely everywhere from technology to non technology related fields, and it’s really just a contract between two things. Look how they can interact with one another.

It’s mostly used to make things more secure and easier to use. Because you know how you can use something. And it hides away all the stuff that you cannot access which makes it secure.

That’s all an API is. If you guys benefited with this article. Please make sure to check out my other articles.

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