API things every Software Engineer must know — API Integration, Economy, Protocols, Endpoint, Security...
Hello everyone. In this article, we are going to see what is an API and how it works in detail. We will then go through API Integration and API Economy. We will then see the difference between API and Web Services. Later, we will look at different types of APIs and Protocols available. Then we will see what is an API-First approach and see about API End Point and end the article by looking at API Security. Let's get started!!!
What is an API?
API is the acronym for Application Programming Interface which allows data transmission between multiple parties. API is a piece of code that can be written in any programming language to provide the requested data to the users. API can be comparable to a waiter who servers the order upon request from the customer. The customer and chef don't know each other and the customer neither knows what's happening in the kitchen. All they need is the food they have ordered served by the waiter.
APIs are built for the applications to interact with each other just like the way GUIs are built for users to interact with the applications.
How does an API Work?
The API works in the middle layer between the client and the server and is responsible for data transfer between the server and the client. The APIs collect the data and provide it to the client in the expected format.
Let us see step by step how an API works.
- An API call or request is placed by a client application. This API request will consist of necessary headers, a request type, and optionally a request body.
- The API’s uniform resource identifier (URI) is used to process this request for data retrieval from an application to the web server.
- Once the request reaches the API, it will be forwarded to the server.
- The Server retrieves the data usually from a database and sends it to the API which is called the response.