APIs: what they are and how they work
Facilitating the creation of software applications and their integration, APIs are essential for any developer. These tools provide software or computer programs with a set of protocols and functions through software libraries, web services or information systems’exploitation. Let's go over the definition of an API and how it works.
C’What is an API in computer science ?
APIS is the acronym ofApplication Programming Interface. In French, the meaning of’API is an application programming interface’applications or application programming interface. It is a IT solution which allows applications to communicate with each other and exchange services or data.
An API provides the necessary elements to solve a problem without revealing the implementation details. This technological component thus allows developers to use a program without having to worry about its operation. As an illustration, a developer does not need to know the details of how to create an.
The user only needs to be aware of the availability of this feature to be able to use it.
An API can be confused with a software infrastructure (framework), since both allow to simplify the task of the developers. However, the frameworks refers to the tools behind the application’an application. They can be considered as the application skeleton, while the APIs are the external party.
What it does ?
The meaning of’API reflects its use. This tool serves as aintermediary between two independent computer systems, allowing them to interact without the need for human intervention. It guarantees the’interoperability of an information system open to others.
An API allows to to simplify the development of applications by making available the functionality or data of existing applications. Thanks to this tool, an application linked to another can continue to function if a version change occurs.
In an enterprise, an API contributes to the streamlining of daily procedures thanks to an optimized data exchange. Communication with customers and suppliers is also improved.
When it makes possible the domain and SS certificate managementL, the application programming interface is called DNS API. In this case, it gives the possibility to create a new application’automate the configuration of various services related to a domain such as web hosting, email registration, etc’web hosting, email registration, etc. In order to better understand, it is wise to learn more about what’is it’a DNS ?
When to use an API ?
Practically all the applications that exist are based on APIs. As an illustration, instead of spending time and resources designing a payment processing system, it is possible touse an API to create an application provided for this purpose. In this way, the application developer can work faster.
The use of an API will also avoid the development of functionalities that have already been invented.
An API is therefore used when creating web or mobile applications. It is for example possible to use this tool to develop instant messaging applications . This can also be used in the design of websites. Moreover, it offers a significant gain in performance and wider possibilities of evolution.
What are the different types of APIs?
There are four main types of application programming interfaces:
- The open APIs. Also known as public or external APIs, they can be used by any developer. Specifically, their security measures have been softened to make it easier to access data. Some open APIs may nevertheless require a key. In any case, they are for companies entry to an excellent means to streamline exchanges with customers or suppliers. For developers, open APIs ensure the rapid implementation of software or application components;
- The Partner APIs. Like the first type of APIs, they aim to facilitate communication between a company and external parties. On the other hand, their access is conditioned by a license or specific rights. In this way, the data is only made available to defined partners. In practice, access to them is only possible for registered servers;
- The internal APIs. Also called private APIs, they can only be used only by the company they were designed for. In other words, their access is limited to internal actors of an organization whose identity is systematically verified before being granted an. These APIs also allow to improve the internal communication. Indeed, they give companies the possibility to share data between their different services in a rational way;
- The Composite APIs. Generally combining several programming interfaces, they can support several integration systems. Because of this feature, composite APIs are particularly useful when the execution of an operation requires the use of several services.
Why is an API important ?
Its importance can be seen through the meaning of’API. As already mentioned above, this tool simplifies the developer's job and saves time. In detail, since the background work is already done, the developer does not have to write a large amount of code.
On the other hand, APIs play a role in the data security. s: they control access to hardware resources and software functions that are not necessarily authorized for use by an application. For example, if a mobile application developer wants to access the camera of an Android or iOS device through the camera API, the user will receive a permission request.
If he refuses it, access to the camera by the mobile application will be impossible.
Thanks to the APIs, the companies can on their side easily integrate services such as online payment or authentication into their site without the need to code. As their needs continue to multiply in a context of increased digitalization, these tools represent a real asset.