APIs make data or functionality of an existing application available for other applications to use. Prositeweb inc. specializes in API development.
Do you have any concerns in setting up API development? Or do you want to implement API development on your website? This article is made to help you. We will elaborate on what APIs are, how to use them, the benefits of using them.
What does the acronym API mean?
API: Progamming Interface in English, commonly known in French by the Application Programming Interface.
The API is a computer solution allowing applications to communicate with each other and to exchange services or data with each other. More simply, it is a set of functions that makes it easy to access the services of an application using a programming language. The API makes available a code allowing two software programs to communicate. APIs are implemented by function calls made up of verbs and nouns.
Typically, interface programming applications are released for third party development purposes as part of an SDK software development kit.
The API allows the use of a program without worrying about the complex operation of the application. APIs are used for launching e-mailing advertising campaigns automatically without mastering the application. Nowadays, they are found in many software such as operating systems, application servers, in the world of graphics (openGL) in SaaS applications such as office365, Gsweet, databases, Open data and many others. There are two API communication protocols.
– SOAP (Simple Object Aces Protocol).
– The REST (State Transfer Representations).
Note here that the REST is nowadays the most used API because of its great flexibility.
The API is a tool specially designed for industry and intended to control production assembly lines, robots, handling, Machine tools and many others. In the railway sector, the API is a perfect device for automating networks.
– the API has fewer components.
– Huge operating possibilities.
– Professional flexibility.
APIs are opportunities for companies to expose their valuable data and services to the market. Thus, APIs also make it possible to revisit application architectures at the time of cloud and mobile.
Very expensive but with rapid development, costs are falling.
API development requires a few parameters to be taken into account. API design is a very complex operation involving very subjective metrics. A small business that adopts RESTfull API design principles may face inconsistent naming and obscure interfaces.
It is necessary to have good semantics. This implies identifying the correct naming, the correct parameters, the structure of the data thus passed, the use of HTTP headers and the related conventions.
Although the design of your APIs is good and conventions are applied consistently, developments will be of little use if they are not accompanied by a function guide and a means. To explore the different n points. However, thanks to the swagger, it is possible to develop and test APIs. One of the key points of swagger is the validation of the model.
To get started with the API, it is important to understand how it works. Moreover, the correct description and training of the API should be tested at the start of the development process. One of the key tools in this area is Postman a Chrome browser extension. This Postman browser allows you to define collections of n points with URLs, parameters, headers and data to be executed.
– SOAP / XML takes XML as input (in POST) and outputs XML as output. The API a SOAP / XML service is “self-describing” and allows the generation of “stub” in many languages
– REST / JSON takes json (in GET / POST / PUT / DELETE, it depends) as input and outputs JSON as output, by varying the HTTP return codes
– HTTP FORM / XML takes form parameters as input (the kind of parameters that one gets in PHP via $ _GET or $ _POST) and outputs XML.
Note however that the most used is the REST API.
A REST API is the most used and frequent type of API on the internet.
REST stands for “REpresentational State Transfer”. However, using a REST API on the internet is to query a third-party server using the same methods as offered by the display of a web page or of the forms included in these same web pages. So we will query this server from a URL communicated by the API editor. Therefore, this query will be done according to different methods: GET, POST, PUT and DELETE.
Moreover, if you use the internet, you do GET and POST every day without knowing it: requesting the display of a web page from its address is to perform a GET action. Filling out a form on one page and validating it is doing a POST type action.
It’s not just a matter of making requests to an API, you also need to know what they cause! Typically, a request in turn causes a response to be received. This response, like a web page for an address requested in a browser, is a series of data returned to the sender with the result of the request. Two major feedback formats are used: JSON and XML. Sometimes you can choose in an API which format to receive in return.
A practical example of RESTful APIs.
Consider that you want to watch “data integration” video tutorials on YouTube. Being on YouTube, you type ‘data embedding’ in the search box, and press enter, and it pops up a list of data embedding videos. Right?
A REST API works in a similar way. You search for something and a list of results is returned by your requested service.
However, REST determines the structure of the API. Developers are required to follow a certain set of rules when building the API. For example, a rule states that linking to a URL must return information. The REST API breaks down a transaction to generate a sequence of small components. Each component addresses a specific fundamental aspect of the transaction. This modularity makes it a flexible development approach.
Note also that a REST API uses the HTTP methods described by the RFC 2016 protocol. It uses the following queries for this purpose:
We can note:
The REST API offers great scalability. since the clients and servers are separate, the product can be scaled by the developer team without too much hassle.
In addition, it is also easier to integrate REST with current sites without refactoring the website infrastructure. This allows developers to work faster instead of spending time reworking a website from scratch. As an alternative, they can simply add additional functionality.
Using REST APIs, users can easily communicate even if the client and servers are not hosted on the same server. This, offering an important advantage from a management point of view.
Thanks to the separation between the client and the server, the REST protocol allows developments in the different areas of a project to take place autonomously. In addition, the REST API is tunable to the operational syntax and platform, providing the ability to test many environments during development.