What Is an API?
API stands for "application programming interface." It is a set of protocols, routines, and tools for building software applications. An API specifies how software components should interact with each other and is used when programming graphical user interface (GUI) components. A good API makes it easier to develop a program by providing all the building blocks, which are then put together by the programmer.
An API is the interface that is used by developers to access the functionality of the software component. Think of an API like a contract between two pieces of software. As mentioned, it outlines how the two software components will interact with each other. An API is usually defined by the provider of the software component (e.g., Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc.) and it stipulates what data is available and how it can be accessed. It also determines what operations can be performed with the data.
APIs are important because they designate how the software component can be used.
How Do APIs Work?
When using an API, you are essentially making a request to a server for data or information. The API then processes the request and returns the data to you.
As previously mentioned, the API defines the rules of communication between two software components. It includes the format of the data that is exchanged and the order in which it is exchanged.
Usually, the provider of the software component also provides the API. For example, Facebook provides an API that allows developers to access the data on Facebook. This API defines how the data on Facebook can be accessed and what operations can be performed on it.
Again, APIs are important because they allow different software components to work together. APIs are essentially the glue that holds the software components together.
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Stay tuned for more interesting information :)