The world, as we see every day, is getting smarter all the time. The same applies to the technology we use. AI has been a driving force in extracting data and uses it to make our living seamless. So, while you were designing a website before, you need APIs to get information from different sources.
So, it makes perfect sense to have a clear understanding of APIs as we believe it is the future. Therefore, in this article, we will explore various aspects to know APIs in detail. Now, we will cover how to use JSON and various API requests, and of course, know more about the proper implementation of APIs. So, let us jump in.
Also Read: What are the Differences Between RPA and AI?
What is API?
The first question which may have popped up in your head if you are not aware of APIs at all is – what is an API? Well, it stands for Application Programming Interface. Now, what is does is it helps fetching data from various other sources back to your website or mobile app.
So, suppose you want your site visitors to check on all the latest YouTube videos from your channel, all you need is a Google YouTube API key to get things done.
As we have mentioned before, the job of an API is to deliver a string of information to the user site, JSON does that for you on a ground level. Usually, 4 kinds of API Requests need JSON to fetch the data. Check them out below:
- GET – Gathers the Information.
- PUT – Updates pieces of Information.
- POST – Creating Posts.
- DELETE – Deleting Posts.
Understanding API Requests
The API Call or Request represents the information you want for the core company to be displayed in your site. Let us go back to the YouTube video example again.
When you try and obtain your YouTube Channel videos, you need an API key with the “request” to fetch it from uploaded videos stored in your Google account. Now, there are several components of an API request that we will discuss below:
Endpoint: When you are trying to fetch data using an API, the first thing that you need is the Endpoint. An Endpoint is basically a URL that consists of two parts – the URL itself which connects the API with the site, and the Path, which you will need to get the custom information you are seeking. So, an Endpoint routes your API Request to the main server to get the desired results.
Header: While you are trying to use APIs, you need to authenticate the right credentials for a Request to work. Typically, those are the Headers. Now, credentials can be like an “Auth Token” or “Client ID” which you will get once you usually create an API.
Method: Now once you know the Endpoint, where you need send the API request, and the Header, which authenticates your API Request, you need to tell the server about the action you wish to perform. So, you need a method for sending an API Request. The Methods are typically GET, PUT, POST, and DELETE, which we have discussed before.
Data: The ultimate job of any API is to get hold of some information and relay it to any particular destination. Now, once you have an idea of how the Endpoint, Header, and Method works, the final component of an API Request is the “Data” that you either send or received from any server. So, for example, you put a Request to YouTube for the exclusive videos you want to be there on your site once you upload one to your channel. The videos are the “Data” of your API Request.
Where Do We Most Use an API?
Now that you have a glimpse of how an API works, it is time we can check where we can use the APIs in our daily life:
- APIs are an integral part of our entire banking system. Whether you go to your bank physically or go to an ATM, an API is there to balance everything, fetching all data and afterward reflects on your bank balance.
- Booking Hotels is another excellent example of the use of the API. Suppose you are using MakeMyTrip. The company uses an API that collects data from every hotel you book. So, every time you book a trip, your reservation stays intact till the time you claim it. It is all the virtues of an API that is systematically placed.
- Finding someone on social media is never been so easy since the APIs are operating. Whether you are using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn, with their respective API placed, you can search for the person you are looking for in seconds; wherever they are in the world.
- Diner Booking is yet another popular use of API in today’s world. With apps like Zomato, Swiggy, and more, you can quickly book a restaurant of your preference in seconds, and like the hotel bookings, you can claim it later, all courtesy of the APIs involved. Please note there are multiple APIs involved here. Suppose you are ordering food; you can see where the delivery guy is and track real-time location using the Google Map API.
What you need to understand is the magnitude of API use all across the world. We never realize how much we are dependent on technology. From simple flight booking to finding someone on Facebook, API is everywhere. Therefore, it makes sense to know about it in detail.