An Application Programming Interface is an intermediary between two applications that allows them to interact with each other. Social media, instant messaging, and cell phone applications all utilize an API.
Examples Of API’s
While using an app on a smartphone, the application uses the internet to send data to the server and the information you’re looking for is sent back to the device for you to view. An application utilizes an API for the data to be transferred between the two sources.
For example, if you are sitting at a restaurant, the kitchen will create your food but needs a waiter to communicate your order and deliver the food. In the same way, a server or system needs an API to communicate and deliver the desired data you are trying to view.
If you are using a travel assistant website, eg. Kayak, the travel assistant is interacting with the airline websites’ APIs to receive the information you requested about flight times, bagging info, etc. The API collects this information for the travel assistant’s website to be shown to the user.
Security Provided By APIs
An API makes sure that your device and the server never directly interact, resulting in only the data that is meant to be shared between the two being shared while all other data remains private. This is crucial for security as it adds a layer of separation between users and important data.
Modern Aspects Of An API
As computer and software technology advances, APIs have developed some useful features aside from simple communication between two applications, such as additional security features like adhering to HTTPS standards and a standardized creation process.
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