Understanding API and their types


In this lesson I will explain about the APIs and their types. API (Application Programming Interface) is basically interaction between software. Efficiency, automation, standardization are some of its benefits. API types include Web Services APIs, Source Code APIs, Hardware Remoting APIs, Object Remoting APIs

Understanding API and their types

Before talking about the classification of different types of API, it is necessary to understand the meaning of API. So, let's start with the introduction first.

What is API?

API stands for Application Programming Interface. According to Wikipedia, API is a set of routines, protocols and tools for building software and applications. APIs make it very easy to share data.

Basically, APIs make the development of programs by providing all the building blocks and resources. API is not basically a User Interface. It is not what people interact with. API is the interaction of software to another software.
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Benefits of API

There are many benefits of API. General benefits of API are given below:
1. Efficiency:
Data are created at once and made available to different systems. So, it helps to ease the distribution of data. API hides the complexity of program.

2. Wider Reach:
Anyone can use API. Suppose, 'A' creates a website www.example.com. 'A' uses B's API. So, subscriber of A can get the knowledge and services of B.

3. Automation:
Since API is a machine to machine interaction, people don't need to work every time when data are changed.

4. Partnership:
API elaborates the partnership among the companies. As the company grows, API Provider Company needs to collaborate to each and every company that uses their API.

After understanding about the API, let's make it clear about the types of API

Types of APIs

1. Web Services API
Web Service APIs include REST, SOAP, XML-RPC and JSON-RPC. REST stands for Representational State Transfer and SOAP stands for Simple Object Access Protocol. These APIs provide services through the World Wide Web.

2. Source Code APIs
Source Code APIs includes Library based APIs and Class based APIs.

a. Library based APIs: In these type of APIs, an application will reference a library of code and use the functions/routines from that library to perform actions and exchange information

b. Class based APIs: These APIs provide data and functionality organized around classes as defined in object oriented languages. Each class offers a discrete set of information

3. Object Remoting APIs
These types of APIs use a remoting protocol such as CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture)

4. Hardware APIs
These hardware APIs helps to access the hardware level of devices such as reading temperature, access inventory information like model number, serial number, etc.

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