1. What is an API? In what areas of life is it applicable?
2. Let’s explain the foreign-sounding abbreviation
3. Operation of the integrator from the technical side
4. Benefits of the Application Programming Interface
5. What are: REST API, SOAP API, RPC API
Nowadays, we are used to using programming interfaces practically everywhere. Among the activities that we rely on the API for, we can mention: online shopping, conducting conversations via popular messengers or regularly paying bills electronically. Before we discuss the examples of API usage in more detail, we will explain what this enigmatic-sounding abbreviation means. What is an API? It is not difficult at all!
API is an abbreviation of the English phrase Application Programming Interface. We translate it as “application programming interface”. There are three main branches: procedures, protocols and tools. Thanks to these elements, the interface in question has the application coupling function enabled. In this way, we can also perform specifically designed functions that are based on the supply of data. In this way, we also make important processes more efficient. So let’s discuss these API elements.
• procedures – this is how we professionally call routines that we refer to specific tasks. We also have in mind the functions that we perform thanks to programs such as Twitter. It provides an API to developers, which makes it easier for them to verify user data. This mainly concerns the analytical area;
• protocols – in other words, we call formats that allow us to exchange information between installed applications;
• tools – individual segments thanks to which we can be creators of new programs.
The API is helpful with our remote and virtual operation. Colloquially speaking, it is a socket and an integrator for connecting various applications. It fosters efficient communication between entities cooperating on various levels. Thanks to the API, enterprises can efficiently integrate the implemented systems with each other. We do not need to code individual solutions.
From a technical point of view, an API is code that is responsible for controlling points in a server or application. We send a signal to these types of servers indicating a request that is handled by the application programming interface as a translator. The API specifies the request to the application and thanks to it we allow you to send the right feedback. The API co-creates the Internet infrastructure, and its task is to integrate processes that are distributed by definition. What is it all about?
Let’s visualize this function. Let’s imagine a network of various processes of the entire Internet infrastructure. They must run in parallel, at the same time. Without it, we would not be able to efficiently exchange this information with each other, on account of manual and laborious activities. An API call is a kind of web interface through which we use WEB protocols as well as the entire architecture. All this so that we can facilitate the interaction of applications present on separate devices in individual networks.
The application programming interface offers us many advantages. Here they are:
• automation – thanks to the API – we as Internet users – are relieved of many activities and we can take care of what is most important. This is especially useful when running a business;
• minimizing the risk of fraud – API gives us a sense of security. We can only share data generated by the API system with selected and authorized persons;
• creating new products – thanks to the API, we can create our own original ideas by combining several interfaces;
• content personalization – through the application’s programming interface, we can outline the image of a potential customer;
• regular news – with the help of API we have the opportunity to develop our company. For example, we are able to increase the awareness of our brand in the eyes of customers. A simple example is to enable login using Facebook. Keeping up with the trends of the 21st century is a solid argument that we are a dynamically developing company.
There are some foreign-sounding abbreviations in the headline above, which we will explain immediately. Broadly speaking, these abbreviations stand for the 3 types of technology discussed. They have the same functions, but differ in details. So:
• REST – (Representational State Transfer API) we translate as Representational State Transfer API. What does this mean for us in practice? It is part of the network services through which we can specify our individual requests. We can also count on factual feedback here if we use the HTTP function. We can list four main http tasks that the REST API uses, i.e. GET, PUT, POST, DELETE. We translate them sequentially,, get”, “put”, “mail”, “delete”. We deal with the above technologies in the case of Instagram or other social media in which we rely on graphic content;
• SOAP – (Simple Object Access Protocal), translated as Simple Object Access Protocol. We dedicate it to application programming interfaces for financial institutions. This protocol is based on specific standards and we condition its operation with particular systems and programming based on XML (extended markup language). It requires a lot of information to work properly, so it is demanding;
• RPC – (Remote Procedure Call), literally means “remote procedure call”. This is a form of API that was created by far the earliest. It was designed with the need to code on another server in mind. If we use RPC over HTTP, there is a chance to convert to WEB API