The word API stands for “Application Programming Interface” that allows two or more applications to interact with each other. The concept of API is a software intermediary that applies everywhere from enterprise software to command-line tools. It is a programming interaction between an individual software component and an application server. There are numerous API benefits and with the help of it, one can make components reusable and easily organize the code. One thing to keep in mind is some APIs are often referred to as actual software components and offer specifications for interactions.
To understand the concept and benefits of using API gateway, imagine that a car is a software component. Its API would consist of information about its working. For instance, to accelerate, you put your foot on the gas pedal. API doesn’t have to explain the inside of the engine’s happenings when you put your foot on the accelerator. So if you learn to drive a car, you can easily handle the internal combustion engine, clutch plates, and tie rod even without knowing complete technical background knowledge of each component. In short, API provides a layer of abstraction that software developers utilize to build and integrate software applications quickly and efficiently.
The Modern API:
Over the years, the API works as a generic connectivity interface. However, the Modern API group benefits have taken on some properties that make them exclusively useful and valuable. Moreover, modern API is easily accessible, developer-friendly, and understood broadly. These API’s are treated more like a product and designed for a specific audience or to address a specific business problem. One of the benefits of using API gateway is these are versioned and documented. The modern API is much more standardized with a better discipline of governance and security. These APIs have their software development lifecycle of designing, building, testing, versioning, and managing.
The Increasing Significance of API in Web and Mobile app Development:
API usage in both web and mobile application development has experienced an exponential increase in usage and popularity in the past two decades. Therefore, there are different benefits of API architecture. Moreover, APIs are also becoming an exclusive marketing tool for different types of businesses. On the other hand, different variations occur in the process of mobile app development. The use of API for mobile applications has provided huge convenience to developers. API is a powerful tool that permits users to integrate different services in mobile apps. It bridges the gap in terms of data transmission and communication between the application client and server. So speaking of API benefits, it is a modern building block in mobile app development.
Before the advent of APIs, developers used to custom code every feature on their backend and had to use a few data communication techniques such as file handling, parsing, and Remote Procedural Calls (RPC) to make client-server communication work. However, with the help of API, a typical software developer doesn’t need to even know the technology stack of the server. Now all he needs is the documentation, JSON Web Token (JWT), and information related to the endpoints that the front end needs to hit.
Web Development and Importance of API
Web development is the process of developing, debugging, deploying, and maintaining web applications on the server. Thus, it’s the work that happens behind the scene to make a web app work fast and efficiently. Moreover, there are several advantages of web API, and web developers always tend to avail all by employing API usage. The web development skills are well paid and in high demand worldwide. On the other hand, the web development field is divided into two parts; front-end and back-end development. Moreover, the front end is the user-facing side, and the back-end is the server-side.
Any typical API is built-in web technology. It is then hosted on the server, which later on is being used by both mobile and web application clients. This is the key standard that has been followed in almost every dynamic and API driven FinTech and SaaS-based applications.
Popular Web API:
Over the past years, the trend of using social media APIs is increasing exponentially. So the most famous APIs are related to social media platforms. Most social media APIs can be directly related to the rise of Facebook and Twitter companies. Moreover, Google has also introduced its Google API to manage the authentication of users using their Gmail accounts, to say the least. The social APIs offer both read and write operations that developers can use to integrate their features directly and natively into their web and mobile applications.
Some useful and famous web APIs domains are:
- Push notifications
- Email notifications
Web API Data Formats:
The most famous data format for web APIs is XML. Moreover, JSON and GraphQL are also popular APIs in web development growing steadily in usage and popularity. The developers prefer the JSON format for plenty of reasons such as,
- Data can be read easily.
- Parsers for JSON exist in every programming language with quicker parsing time than XML.
- JSON parsers are fast
- The JSON output is object-oriented. Favors quick traverse time.
- It uses Key: Value pairs for data presentation.
- It supports Data Structures that make it easier on both front and backend for data storage, retrieval, and operations.
One of the most significant API benefits is some API providers offer both JSON and XML data formats. Moreover, the JSON has become most famous among web developers because of its exclusive functions. The best examples of “JSON only” web APIs consisted of StackExchange API and twitters streaming API. Some of the famous data formats web APIs are
Benefits of Web API:
The target audience for web API is generally both the web and mobile application development community. Moreover, they can also be advantageous for end-users and API providers.
APIs for web development services offer advanced features and functionality to be integrated into the website. There are greater flexibility and customization in using Web APIs than an old school DB query-based application.
A good web API can help increase the features and usage of websites. Moreover, it makes the site more enjoyable and interactive. The same is also true for web developers while adding/integrating APIs.
A well-built API group benefits developers in many ways. However, web APIs are a powerful marketing tool and in wide use by the web development community. There are countless API providers that offer numerous readymade business solutions that one can integrate into their application and start enjoying/using their services as well.
List of Web API’s:
There are thousands of APIs in web development with numerous benefits. Moreover, all the APIs are beneficial for web developers. Here is the list of most useful web APIs that help you to know about their usage.
Amazon Product Advertising API:
The Amazon product advertising APIs have a lot of benefits of using API gateway. It allows developers to display and access Amazon’s catalog of products in web pages and web-based applications. Moreover, developers can earn income through Amazon’s affiliate program. One use case of this API is to fetch & store amazon’s products into your application and showcasing it to your own audience by having a full inventory, stock control, buying and selling of the products all within your application.
Bing & Google Search API:
Bing offers several benefits of API architecture that can be used as Bing maps and Bing search functionality to your applications. Similarly, Google Search API can be used in developing software bots to perform automated searches and operations across World Wide Web.
Envato Marketplace API:
The users can display and access marketplace data with Envato marketplace API. The marketplace data include famous files, item details, and much more. You can build an entire dropshipping application using 3rd party web APIs.
Facebook API offers social plugins that display buttons and Facebook posts on your application. Moreover, such APIs include Ads, chat, extracting user’s info, and internationalization.
Google Libraries API:
- JQuery UI
The StackExchange API is available in JSON format. Therefore, users can use this API to display answers, questions, comments from StackExchange websites.
Mobile App Development using API:
Mobile application development is the procedure of creating software applications that run across mobile platforms, both natively and cross-platform fashion. So these apps use a network connection to work with computing resources. Thus, mobile application development is the process that involves installable software creations (binaries, code, assets). Moreover, the developers can implement Backend services like data access with API, and application testing on target devices.
Mobile Apps and Device Platforms:
There are two platforms in the modern smartphone industry. One is android from Google, and the other is iOS from apple. Moreover, the android operating system is in use not only by Google devices but also by OEMs to build their own smart devices. On the other hand, the iOS platform is an operating system that powers the famous line of Apple smartphones and devices. However, there are some similarities between both platforms and utilize different benefits of API architecture. Developers can build apps for millions of devices by targeting both of these platforms.
Alternatives for Designing Mobile Apps:
There are four basic mobile development approaches when building mobile apps.
- Native mobile applications
- Hybrid mobile applications
- Cross-platform native mobile applications
- Progressive mobile applications
Each of these methods has various advantages and disadvantages. However, the developers consider the desired user experience while designing the right development approach.
What is API in a Mobile Application?
In the realm of mobile application development, API is usually the set of channels that defines the way mobile apps share and receive data with other web services or apps. API for mobile application development is the route of information that travels from one app to one or multiple app servers. For example, a mobile application uses an API to send in-app data and receive data about users’ location from Google maps. This is one of the APIs group benefits that app users avail by using both custom and 3rd party APIs. The APIs make enterprise application business logic more useful, integration-friendly, and functional.
Advantages of APIs in Mobile App Development:
Faster Time to Market:
The use of APIs in mobile application development reduces the requirements to reinvent the wheel. Meaning, if you already have the application server working along with its API, all you need to do is to develop a mobile front end and then integrate the API. A mobile application with an existing backend architecture takes 30-40% less manufacturing time as compared to the one that needs to be developed from scratch.
Offer more Functionality with Less Coding:
The use of APIs in mobile application development complements the app with extra functions. If you need to use the same functionality across different sections of your mobile application, you just need to hit the same relevant API endpoint to trigger that specific business operation. API favors the concept of don’t repeat yourself.
One of the great API benefits in mobile development is social engagement. Moreover, social media sites are a modern way of living. Connecting APIs of famous platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram will permit users to post comments, share content, and leave reviews directly in-app. This also saves you from re-inventing the wheel. Rather, it will help you to use the existing free infrastructure to incorporate useful features, all within your mobile application.
Fast Sign In:
The best feature of API for mobile application is it enables sign in with social platforms such as Facebook and Google. The best thing is, apps use the existing software services to utilize user login. This saves end-users valuable time to register via traditional login/sign up forms and offer users to use his/their social platform(s)’ information as a one-stop for login/signup. Such business use of 3rd party APIs increases efficiency in both user experience and development time.
Famous APIs for Mobile Application Development:
Here are the most popular and useful APIs that can be used for mobile application development. So the best thing about these APIs is they are mostly free and have a variety of distinct features.
Google Maps API:
Google maps seem to be the most famous API and used in millions of apps. Moreover, Maps can help the users locate restaurants, hotels, and recommended shops. Google Maps offer both Google Places and Google Geocoding to triangulate users’ location, places physical addresses, and zip codes.
API group benefits you in numerous ways. You can use a Gmail API to provide users complete and secure access to their Gmail mailboxes directly from your app.
Google Drive API:
The API permits the drive services integration into the mobile application. Therefore, users can easily access and add files on Google Drive infrastructure.
Google Calendar API:
The API allows displaying, creating, and modifying calendar events. Furthermore, this API can be offered as an exclusive solution for apps, dealing with meetings, events, and schedules.
Facebook APIs can be used for adding social context and facilitating sign in to mobile application development by using Facebook’s Graph API.
Google Analytics API:
With the help of Google analytics APIs, one can set up a personalized tracking of mobile application usage, and use data for increasing app marketing and ROI.
YouTube Data API:
The YouTube API benefits you in several ways and makes you able to add YouTube functions on top of your app. Moreover, it includes managing the playlist, uploading the video, and updating settings.
It is one of the best API that let user’s accesses a huge database of locations and check-in in the venues.
The Twitter APIs provide different benefits of using API gateway. These apps give access to Twitter functions and permit app developers to connect with Twitter trends.
The weather API is the most significant API that informs users about the weather situations and forecasting for any location. The API is useful and suitable for travel and booking apps.
Advantages of API:
The API benefits and favors automation. It provides a pathway for a client and server to communicate both asynchronously and event-driven.
The APIs can access various app parts. Therefore, the information and delivery of services are flexible. API server can either act as an application server or simply bridges communication between two systems.
With the help of API, an application layer can be formed and is used to give out the services and information to new audiences. So it is useful to customize the user experiences.
New data available:
One of the basic benefits of using an API gateway is it allows all the details to be available to the authenticated application user as per business logic.
The API benefits the users and developers in plenty of ways. Therefore, the generated content can be published and easily available for every app channel.
APIs allow content to be implanted from any application or site more easily. Hence, it guarantees an integrated user experience and fluid information delivery.
With the help of API group benefits, the company or user can customize the devices and content that they use the most.
Different applications need changes with time, and the APIs help to anticipate changes. Moreover, with APIs, data migration is supported in a better and uniform way. Thus, APIs make services more flexible and user friendly.
Disadvantages of API
Creating and Designing an API is a one-time yet very time-consuming task. Here are some of the drawbacks of using API services:
- API server unavailability can simply put the front end dead or buggy
- Programming language knowledge is necessary to create API
- Maintenance cost is high
- Its usage can bump when testing API
- Web attacker can leave the server jeopardized if he/she gets access to API endpoints and JWT
Types of APIs
There are four basic types of API:
Open API is also known as public API. These APIs are publicly available, and there are no restrictions to access open API. Mostly, they are of type GET.
A developer requires specific licenses or rights to access partner API. Therefore these APIs are not available to the public. These types of API support all methods such as GET, POST, PUT, PATCH, and DELETE.
The internal APIs is one of the common types of API and also known as private API. Therefore, only internal systems reveal and use this API. The internal APIs are generally designed for internal uses and remain within the company. The company uses internal API among its app clients. So these APIs help in the services and execution of a particular project’s business cases.
It is the one of most significant types of API that combines internal API with either partner or public API(s) or both. Composite APIs are used when one system wants to extend its features by making use of a 3rd party API application server(s).
Building a successful API is an art comprising technology that helps in architecture, business analysis, partnership, software development, developer relations, content creation, and marketing.
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