Understanding APIS and What They Can Do for Your Business
The term Application Programming Interface (API) may sound complex but is one of the simplest aspects to understand in today’s tech-driven world. In simple terms, an API is a tool that shares information between a website or app and its user. Let us take a wider glance at its meaning in technical jargon.
What is API?
An API facilitates communication between software by providing a format and a set of tools, definitions and protocols, as a result of which applications and devices can correspond and share data in response to the commands. These are constructed by web service providers and customarily describe the services, available functionality, how it is to be used and accessed and the formats that it would use for inputs and outputs. Below is a diagrammatic representation of the API process:
Types of APIs
There are four main types of APIs,
- Open APIs – Also known as Public API, is an application programming interface made publicly available to the software developers without any accessibility restrictions.
- Partner APIs- Partner APIs are restricted to specific parties and need specific rights or licences for accessibility. Apart from the accessibility restrictions, there is no technical difference between this and Public API.
- Internal APIs- These are also known as Private APIs which are controlled for the company’s internal usage only. An internal API gives access to a company’s backend information for use by the organization’s developers only. Even though the new applications developed by these developers can be distributed publicly, the interface is not visible to anyone who is not directly working with the API publisher.
- Composite APIs- This API is a combination of other data and APIs. Once executed, a series of tasks run in sync. The primary goals of this API are to accelerate the execution process and improve the listener’s performances in the web interface.
Web Service APIs
Web API is an application programming interface with which you can:
- Access all the features of HTTP URIs,
- Request or respond to headers,
- Format content and cache,
- Is simpler and lightweight,
- It can use any text format, even XML,
- Is faster than WCF,
- Understands standard HTTP verbs like PUT, DELETE, GET etc.
Why Are APIs Important?
APIs are extensively engaged in all the software development processes. These are the vital tools in any business, enabling one computer program to be used by another and establishing communication between two different programs. APIs are crucial to a business because:
- With the help of APIs, the workflows can be updated by the agencies, thereby accelerating their progress and productivity.
- API’s accessibility to the app’s components has brought flexibility in delivery of services and information.
- Information and services can be distributed to new audiences by API’s ability to create an application layer. This also helps in giving the users a personalised experience.
- With an access to API, the generated content can be automatically published and made available through different channels. Sharing and distribution thus becomes hassle-free.
- APIs allow an integrated user experience.
- The users can customize content and services according to their requirement.
- Since APIs can anticipate changes, it supports data migration, thereby making the services more flexible.
Disadvantages of Using APIs for Web Archiving
During the development or using of the software program, it is likely to come across an API error, which can be due to other reasons too than API itself. Sometimes it is beyond a developer’s capacity to troubleshoot some errors. Some shortcomings of API are:
- Authentication error- It can arise due to bad authentication token; no authentication token or user having been timed out. This calls for validation of the authentication process by the developer to allow accessibility to the user.
- A non-existent data request will yield zero results.
- Sometimes due to File issues, a request may end up in getting a corrupted JSON File. This can result in the crashing of the entire application.
- Network or connectivity errors can give the HTTP errors.
- Since it is a single point of entry, it is susceptible to getting easily hacked and all the other applications thus end up being compromised.
To conclude, APIs are necessary for the success of any application in the tech world. NAVOMI’s API led enterprise integration using Mulesoft will ensure a smooth and success-oriented journey for your organization.