WHAT IS AN API( Application Programming Interface)?

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The full form of API is Application Programming Interface. An API is a programming  interface in which there is a connection between computer programs. It is a software interface that offers service to the other pieces of software.  

In the Application Programming interface two applications talk to each other. Each time you use an app like facebook or send an instant message to someone or check the weather on your phone, you’re automatically using an API. In short, it’s a code that controls the access point for the server. 

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Use Of API (Application Programming Interface)

There are different aspects in which API can be used. 

1. API (Application Programming Interface) helps in communication and exchange of data between two different softwares.

2. API allows companies to make interaction with new business partners, it also offers services to their present market and approaches new markets that will give massive returns and operate digital transformation. 

3. A surface of protection between the data and server is made by the API. It’s like security around your data. API security can further be increased by using signatures and tokens . It executes API gateways to handle and authenticate traffic. 

4. We can set content from any site or application very smoothly with the help of API. 

5. App components are controlled by API. With this, it makes the delivery of services and information more easy. 

6. APIs can be used in most web applications. 

7. An API can publish generated contents automatically.

8. The user or a company can be allowed to customize the services and content which are used most through API.

9. An API can predict changes to software that needs to be changed over time.

10. Mobile applications are possible because of API. 

11. APIs are responsible for connecting devices to the internet.

12. The networks or information that are passed among systems, devices and applications are defined by API. 

13. We can even connect day to day things such as doorbells, dishwashers and automobiles with the help of API.

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Advantages Of Using An API (Application Programming Interface)

When it comes to the advantage of using an API, we can have so many reasons for choosing an API. They are:

1. The combination of internal and external systems: This is one of the reasons for using APIs by developers. It’s to combine one system with another. Say for example, you can use an API when you want your CRM( customer relationship management ) system to combine with your Marketing Automation System.  The API is used to enable the two systems (CRM and MAS). The two systems then can talk with each other. It will make you send a marketing email when a new customer is added to the CRM. 

2. The enhanced functionality of internal and external systems : This is the second best reason for choosing an API. API is used to add or enhance the functionality of internal and external systems as well. Say for example, if you’re using an internal program that is tracking the days of vacations for the higher authorities in an organization, an API will be used that will allow the employees to request for the vacation. 

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3. APIs reduce software development cost : This is another reason or advantage of API. It reduces the costs of software development programs as it allows developers to build reusable components. For example, a backend developer can help in providing customers details including  their name, email id, address, recent product purchases and more by creating a system.

Then the other developers will collect that information with the use of an API that will help them to track payments. This will resolve customers’ problems easily and very fast. APIs can also be used in reducing software development cost by using different ways like reducing architectural difficulties. 

4. API enables mobile applications : APIs are the source of so many mobile applications. For example, while using your mobile phone to check for a flight and for selecting a seat, your API will communicate with the flight attendants for the seat you’ve selected onboard. 

5. For speeding up software and system development: API helps in speeding up the software and System. API will help developers to speed up the software development and system development by elimination of several dependencies and by reducing raises which are involved in code reviews, testing etc. There is another way in which API helps to drive the development by making frontend and backend teams work together. In short we can say, the frontend of a system is being created by the frontend developer. 

6. Wider reach : This is another advantage of using API. Anyone can create a new presentation such as an app, a website, or a widget. APIs are also responsible for distributing services and information to new audiences. And the most important part is that the people who aren’t visiting your website will be able to get agency information or services from apps or other websites regularly visited by them.

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7. Future ready: This is another advantage of using an API. Day by day, our needs are changing. And API helps in supporting sudden and unexpected future uses. API avails the data that will support fast and easy data transfer. Greater flexibility is also provided by the API in delivering services. For example, while using a service that controls the backend system to start a new product.

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Types Of API (Application Programming Interface)

Now let’s discuss its branches. Generally, there are five types of API. 

 •Web APIs

 •OPEN APIs

 •Partner APIs

 •Internal APIs

 •Composite APIs

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 Now Let’s understand all these types in detail.

1 )WEB API (Application Programming Interface)

This API stands for an API that can be approached over the web that uses HTTP protocol. It’s a framework that creates and develops HTTP based RESTFUL services. Different programming languages can be used to develop this API such as JAVA, ASP.NET, etc. It is either used in web servers or web browsers. An enhanced form of WEB API can also be called a web application. 

A very commonly and mostly used API for creating web pages and web technologies is ASP.NET ( ACTIVE SERVER PAGES.NET). This is taken as the most important tool for developing web pages.

 Uses of WEB API:

      • Useful in applying RESTFUL web servers using .NET framework.

      • Web API enables the development of HTTPS service to be received by client entities like browser, devices and tablet.

      • Web API ease the development of ASP.NET applications that are compatible with all devices.

2) OPEN API(Application Programming Interface)

Also known as public API that is available to software developers. As it is freely shared on the internet, it provides universal access to the consumers.

It also allows programmers to take the access of certain internal functions of a particular program.

Characteristics of Open API:

Users and developers can use it freely with relatively few restrictions, most likely to get yourself registered with the service providing the API. Backed by open data. There’s no restrictions of copyright, patents and all, freely available for everyone. They can republish them.

3) Partner API(Application Programming Interface)

Partner API is among the three I.e. internal and external APIs.  Partner APIs are those APIs which are controlled by others outside the organization only with permission.  Some specific third parties can afford this permission to make a strategic business partnership. 

One of the uses of a partner API is when there is a share of data between two organizations. Say for example the health department of a country and a hospital in that country.

4) Internal API(Application Programming Interface)

Internal APIs are those APIs which are available only to an organization’s internal developers , they are unreachable to external consumers. Internal APIs are responsible for allowing enterprise-wide initiatives from adopting DevOps and microservice  architectures to legacy modernization and digital transformation. An organization’s productivity, efficiency and quickness are enhanced with the use of this API.

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An example of this API is when a customer information API is created by a call center team to access their name, contact information, account info,etc. 

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5) Composite API(Application Programming Interface)

This is the next in the list of APIs. This API is responsible for combining different data and service APIs. We can call Composite API a design approach to batch API requests into a single API call by sequence. Means a client is able to make one API request with a chain of calls and receive one response instead of a multiple round trips to a server.

To understand this more clearly, here is an example , while making an order within a shopping cart API, one may need several steps: 

         • Create customer

         • Create order for customer 

         • Add item to order

         • Add another item 

         • Change order status

So in order to make an order, you’ll need to make these points in succession. 

In a nutshell, A composite API is responsible for a design solution that will be more efficient for the client. Instead of five or more responses, all necessary datas is passed at the end.

API Testing Tools

We use software to send calls to APIs in APIs testing tools. Shorter development cycles put more pressure on automated testing. That’s why API testing tools are important. 

Below are the list of top web services testing API tools: 

1. Postman

In the list of API tools, Postman is one of them. It’s a plugin in Google Chrome that is used for testing API services. Postman is a powerful HTTP client to test web services. It can be a good choice for manual or exploratory testing. 

Now we have the benefits of Postman. 

•  Almost all modern web API data can be taken out by using Postman.

•  We are able to write Boolean tests with the Postman interface. 

•  A collection of Rest calls can be created and each call can be saved as a part of a collection for implementation in future. 

• This tool is difficult to paste text into the command line window because it’s a line based tool and not a command tool like CURL.

•  The Postman tool is the most reliable for the transmission and receiving of REST information. 

2. vREST

vREST tool is the next API testing tool. In vREST testing tool, one can get an online solution for automated testing, mocking, specification related to REST/ HTTP APIs or RESTful APIs and automatic recording.

Now when we talk about the features of vREST testing tool, there are so many which are described below: 

      •  vREST works as an exhaustive tool which validates your REST APIs quickly. 

      • It’s efficient in delivering zero-effect web applications with so much minimum effort in API testing.

      • You won’t need any skilled resources and vREST can also generate illustrations for your API specifications.

      •  vREST is believed to work in hosted mode.

      •  The frontend development with backend development is also dissociated.

      •  An easy maintenance is also seen over spans etc. with the help of this tool.

3. Ping API

Ping API is the other testing tool. Developers test their APIs with the help of this tool. Whenever an API is down or in a bad condition, Ping API is used to know the responses from different countries. Ping API is also used in writing test scripts in CoffeeScript and JavaScript to test different APIs. 

There are different features of Ping API : 

     • Ping API is believed to be one of the best API tools through which CRUD flow and log in to Ping API is validated.

     • Tests are scheduled every minute / hour using Ping API.

     • Ping API helps in writing scripts to set request headers and URL parameters.

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Example Of API (Application Programming Interface)

When we talk about the examples of API, we have a list here: 

1) Twitter API : Twitter API is one of the examples of API. There are descriptive core attributes which include an author, a unique ID, a message, a timestamp whenever there is a tweet. The company’s API is responsible for the public tweets and replies made available by twitter to the developers as well as it allows developers to post Tweets.

2) Facebook API : Facebook application programming interface is a system which allows developers to add Facebook management functionality to their applications. 

The ability to add and delete new groups and members are included within Common Facebook functions.  To create and retrieve group posts and single posts also comes under facebook application programming interface.

3) Google Map API : Google Maps service is considered as one of the most common examples of a good API. This app uses other  APIs and features to provide users with directions of interest as well as being helpful in the core APIs which display static maps. We can communicate with Maps API through geolocation and multiple data layers when we are plotting travel routes or tracking items like a delivery vehicle, etc. 

4) Youtube API : Youtube API is the next API in the list of different APIs. The Youtube application programming interface is responsible for facilitating the developers to control video statistics and YouTube channels data through two types of calls which are REST and XML-RPC. Youtube API resources are APIs and tools that bring the Youtube experience to your webpage or device , as described by Google.

Youtube allows a more tight combination of the video service into a third party website which means that the user is able to view the video in the same page they are visiting instead of clicking on the link to go to the Youtube video.

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Conclusion

As we all can see that the world is going towards a spread of systems of technologies and there is a rise of universal networking, there is a need for sharing data and resources across different applications , without the compromise of privacy and also to maintain a layer of separation which makes them understandable universally. And that is what an API provides us. So we need an API at the end.

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