• ABOUT US
  • RESOURCES
  • SUCCESS STORIES
  • FAQS
  • CONTACT US

Guide to Application Programming Interface (API)

Share This Article

A Quick Guide to Application Programming Interface (API)

Application programming interface, also known as API, has been around for years. You may not realize it, but you encounter APIs daily, playing a significant role in your online activities. When you use Facebook or Instagram, APIs come into play. Your device’s system, via an API, executes a prompt that pops up when you first use the camera within an app.

APIs connect customers to a particular brand for an efficient transaction. They bring data from one place to another and connect different devices and applications. When you book a flight or make an online purchase, APIs allow these operations to go smoothly.

What is an Application Programming Interface (API)?

An  (API) is a software-to-software programming code that allows multiple applications to communicate with one another. With APIs, applications can enable data transmissions securely and uniformly. Additionally, cross-platform log-ins, fintech service payments, and travel booking are automated and streamlined through APIs.

Characteristics

Several characteristics make up an effective API. Below are the following:

  • APIs are built as productized software

Efficient APIs are designed, assessed, built, managed, and versioned by their software development lifecycle (SDLC). The productization process refers to the change from custom software development for a single customer to a market-wide standard software product. Its flexibility equates to multiple functions like creating web applications, mobile apps, and internet of things (IoT) devices.

  • APIs possess stronger security and governance

Modern APIs keep your data and transactions safe by utilizing industry-standard security features. Their functionality and scale are supervised, and the standardization imposed is for greater security and governance discipline.

  • APIs are developed for specific audiences

The greatest APIs cater to needs by having them created and designed for specific users. Web developers, for instance, would need reliable APIs to manage the strain and heavy traffic online. 

  • APIs are easily integrated into existing platforms or software systems 

Innovative APIs observe standards like Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and Representational State Transfer (REST). They don’t require documentation or education to operate, making them accessible, intuitive, and user- and developer-friendly.

Different Types 

There are various APIs with their respective roles and uses. 

  • Private APIs

These are for corporate purposes, with company employees using them within an organization.

  • Public APIs

Businesses typically benefit from public APIs to help brand recognition and innovation. These have end users in mind and are accessible to third-party apps. They come in two varieties: open (free, without restrictions) and commercial (requires payment).

  • Partner APIs 

Some are exclusively accessible to established business partners and used to integrate software between two enterprises. Consumers or end users are the target markets for these apps. 

  • Application-to-Person (A2P) 

This type of API is responsible for streamlining online transactions such as talking via chat apps, making online purchases, and booking a flight. They handle the tedious back-and-forth and simplify processes for customers, making them a widely used tool by businesses. 

It offers valuable services such as A2P Targeting to help your business needs. Automatic filtering facilitates targeting the right prospects and ensuring your message reaches your audience. Our API also integrates easily with your existing platforms or software systems, making the transition as smooth as possible.

How Do APIs Work?

It’s now clearer what an API is, its characteristics, and the different types. But to better understand APIs, you should go through how they work. 

1. Client application via API calls 

A call to an API includes everything that takes place after sending a request, such as when the API gets data from the server and sends it back to the client. Sending a request to an API server is called a client application. There are different request methods, usually in URL format, since HTTP controls the communication between server and client.

Clients expect the server to perform basic functions. These involve retrieving resources, creating a new one, editing or updating an existing record, and deleting one. Clients typically make four basic requests: get, post, put, and delete. 

For example, when booking a flight online, APIs execute functions. APIs go through the server’s data to check for available flights and create a booking for you when there’s a vacancy. If you need to change flight details, APIs allow you to make updates, or they can cancel the entire booking when desired. 

2. API connects an application to a web server

API is the middleman between the application and the server. Similarly, the waiter is the middleman connecting the customers to the kitchen in a restaurant. The waiter takes orders from the customers and brings them to the kitchen for the chef to prepare. In the same way, APIs stand in to support transactions between apps and servers.

When you use Facebook, for instance, APIs step in to do their job. Facebook talks to other systems to get and verify data through APIs. This process permits Facebook users to use their log-in credentials, access their profiles, and do what they want in the app. The same applies to other apps. They communicate with different systems and the web server through their respective APIs. 

3. A response is delivered to you 

Going back to the analogy of the waiter being the API between the customer and the kitchen, the end response is that the waiter delivers the food to the customer. Technologically speaking, the API is the messenger that provides the request and brings the response back to you. 

Take YouTube as an example. You gain full access to YouTube’s enormous video library and add functionality to your website or app using YouTube’s APIs. They allow you to search content, stream videos, and create playlists, among other things.

The Working Wonders of API and A2P

  • An API is a software-to-software interface that allows applications to communicate with one another, making operations possible and simpler. 
  • Reliability, flexibility, security, and accessibility are the characteristics of effective APIs.
  • Several APIs exist, including private, public, partner, and A2P.
  • A2P (application-to-person) assists in attaining and reaching your target audience via automated message filtering. It helps companies streamline processes and improve customer experience.

Businesses and enterprises with existing customer databases would significantly benefit from incorporating A2P APIs in their system. Inquiro offers such innovative solutions, and you can avail of our services by visiting the website. Contact us today to learn more about how API works and how it can help your business grow.

 

Recommended Blogs