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What Exactly Is An Api?

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By Author: John Rame
Total Articles: 48
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An application programming interface, or API, is a software bridge that enables the communication between two applications. You use an API every time you use a mobile app like Facebook, send an instant message, check the weather, or test an app during mobile application development.

When you use a mobile application, it connects to the Internet and sends information to a server. The data is subsequently retrieved, interpreted, put to use, and sent back to your phone by the server. The application then analyses the data and displays the information you requested in a comprehensible manner. All of this occurs through an API, which is what it is.

Here is a practical API illustration. You might be accustomed to the procedure of looking for flights online. You have a range of alternatives, including various cities, departure and return dates, and more, much like the restaurant. Imagine that you are using an airline website to book a flight. You decide on a departure city, a return city, the cabin class, and other factors. You interact with the airline's website to access their database and determine whether any seats ...
... are available on those dates and what the potential costs might be before making your flight reservation.

What happens, though, if you don't access the information directly through the airline's website? What if you are using an online travel agency that compiles data from many airline databases?

In this instance, the travel service communicates with the airline's API. The API is the interface that, like your accommodating waiter, allows that online travel agency to request data from the database to reserve seats, choose baggage alternatives, and other things. The online travel provider then displays the most recent, pertinent information after receiving the airline's response to your request directly from the API.

Over the years, "API" has frequently been used to refer to any type of general connectivity access for web application development. However, more recently, web development services have made contemporary API develop some qualities that make it incredibly helpful and practical. The modern API has its software development lifecycle (SDLC) of designing, testing, developing, managing, and versioning, much like any other piece of productized software.


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