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Diego Chavez
Diego Chavez

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What is an API and why is it widely used on the web?

Being a web developer you must know certain terminologies or processes that are key to the operation and extend your applications to others.

In this article I will explain in a simple way what an API is and why it is so widely used today on the web, by small, medium and large companies for the correct use of their information.

An API (Application Programming Interface or Application Programming Interface), is an application that serves as a bridge between data and two or more applications, ie, you can have your database on a separate server and to generate this interface, will end in a URL that will be the output of the information or responses when requested, this URL is known as endpoint, so you can have a web page and a mobile application receiving the same data connected to an API and manage them (depending on the permissions set by the owner) without having to establish different connections directly to the server in applications.

Architecture of the use of an API

An API works through the HTTP protocol, which stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, this protocol is the one that defines the syntax and semantics used by the software elements of the web architecture (clients, servers, proxies) to communicate, that is to say, the one that allows us to interact with the content of the web.

Common uses of API's

Some companies that have their API free for third party applications

Large companies and platforms such as Spotify, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Paypal, Shopify have their APIs giving developers permission to certain information allowing them to link it and the end user can obtain certain data from their respective accounts and make use in these applications.

In e-commerce it is widely used when making purchases that ask us for our credit card information to verify if it is real and we are not inventing it, payments by digital means such as Paypal, access from a mobile application and from the web to the products in our inventory whether we use platforms like Shopify or developed especially for our company.

Manage information from our own organization or where we work.

Access applications from our social networks and display information of our liking and entertainment such as: our Spotify playlists, the content we share as twetts, Facebook and Instagram posts.

In conclusion the use of APIs allow many of us as developers to obtain results in a short time and in a more productive and efficient way allowing us to obtain functionalities in our applications that already exist without having to redo them, hence the comment that perhaps we have heard at some point is not necessary to reinvent the wheel, but to make use of the already developed code that meets the objective or the solution of the problem we are solving.

In future articles I will be expanding information on the subject of API and HTTP.

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