You are browsing and navigating a movie site, food ordering site, or any such site you enter your name, your card details, and other relevant details for getting your movie ticket or food delivered. The process of such events is seamless and as a user, you have no idea how they switch tasks within the software/application. So, the idea of APIs comes into the picture. There are different types of APIs used for delivering such services.
What is an API?
An API (Application Programming Interface) is simply a set of guidelines that helps two applications or software interact with each other without any interference. This suggests that API is a collection of software functions and procedures.
In general, it’s a code that helps developers solve integration issues in their apps. Nowadays, the majority of software uses APIs for interacting with different apps. YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook, all use APIs.
So, before we go into different types of API, let’s understand why we need APIs and what API Integration is.
Reasons We Need API
In general, the Application Programming Interface is useful in exchanging data between two different software’s. It also assists in embedding content from any site efficiently.
In addition, an API can easily access app components. The delivery of services and data is more flexible and the content generated is published automatically. An individual can also customize the content and services they use the most. Lastly, if there is any change necessary in the software API helps in anticipating those changes.
What is API Integration?
API integration is an app-to-app automated communication for requesting, sending, and updating data.
Why do we need the API Integration?
The following are the reasons for API integration:
- Connecting cloud-based applications
- Improving the performance of existing systems
- Build new components easily
- Enhancing all-around efficiency and productivity
- Save time and meet other integration requirements
As mentioned earlier API extends to Application Programming Interface. Here is a peek at each of the segments:
❉ Application: Retains the enterprise apps and software that companies use to send over financial data, purchase orders, and much more integral details to consumers, suppliers, and other organizations.
❉ Programming: This segment involves developers coding to design and build the apps and their interfaces.
❉ Interface: The interface is how the actual software interacts with other applications.
Now let us move on to different types of API and understand each of them.
Different Types of APIs explained
Application Programming Interface offers varied architectural styles, communication protocols, and operating systems to meet unique integration requirements.
Generally, there are 4 types. Also, it is important to note that these are not classification but rather outline of the scope of usage.
- Private APIs
A private API is used by a software vendor within his/her own organization. These APIs are generally used within organizations’ private networks. The majority of companies use internal APIs to exchange data with different internal business apps, such as CRM, Enterprise Resource Planning, or Financial systems.
- Public APIs
Public APIs are also known as Open APIs. Developers can use this API without being concerned about the organization it belongs to. These are available for free on the internet.
Further, open APIs are crucial components of mobile apps, as well as offering simple integration to important services for many websites.
- Partner APIs
When 2 different companies want to share data, they do it through a partner API. Companies provide vendors access to data streams through an API in exchange for additional features or services within their own systems. In fact, it can also be provided to different parties using a contractual agreement.
In short, Partner APIs facilitate B2B activities.
- Composite APIs
These types of APIs combine various data and services APIs. This indicates that developers can easily access multiple data or service APIs and access different endpoints in one call.
In addition, composite APIs help in integrating two or more APIs to craft a sequence of similar operations. Also, with composite API one can easily address complex API behaviors.
Types of API architectures and protocols
❉ REST API
REST i.e. Representational State Transfer architecture is the method of communications that favors a relatively simple interference between components i.e. clients and servers. It also focuses on a limited number of well-defined operations each with a proper set of the format of arguments.
A crucial aspect of this type of access mechanism is its statelessness, in which each request contains all the details essential for accomplishing its task. Because the calls are stateless, REST API comes in handy for CRUD-type operations or creating, reading, updating, and deleting data. These functions are often useful in web-based REST API where they map to HTTP methods GET, POST, DELETE, PUT, and PATCH.
❉ Use cases – Web
REST APIs are normally designed for being consumed by browsers, meaning they offer web users a new method to interact with websites. These are often useful for stateless, cacheable, and discoverable web services.
❉ Cloud provisioning
Keeping track of infrastructure resources is tough. Hence, cloud providers use REST APIs to simplify usage and billing processes so that clients have to only pay for what they use.
❉ Cloud Apps
REST APIs are useful in Cloud apps because they are stateless and available across all platforms. Also, since their access mechanisms are from browser-to-browser-based actions such as form submissions or clicks on buttons to GET/POST requests and response data structured as JSON objects or XML documents they mandate server-side components.
❉ Enterprise Apps
Many developers make enterprise-specific apps based on public APIs and some companies even publish their own internal services as public REST APIs for encouraging third-party integrations, opening up the prospects for partnership between teams and departments.
This protocol is for more secure APIs. SOAP i.e. Simple Object Access Protocol API is a method for communication between varieties of systems via an XML document. They allow the transmission of data between network devices and can be used to build APIs.
The protocol strictly determines how to send a message and the content of that message is included. Thus, SOAP APIs are more secure than REST APIs however, their rigid regulations have made them more code heavy and difficult to implement.
RPC or remote procedure call is a way of communication between two computers in which a service executing on one machine requests data from another. This type of API allows you to call on any remote process and obtain results.
Further, using RPC one can easily make client or server calls on the basis of the requirement. This is done between apps or across an internet connection between servers. In any case, RPC API allows you to access and use code stored remotely.
❉ GraphQL API
This API is a query language for APIs and a runtime for completing queries with existing data. It offers a complete and simple description of the data in your API. In addition, it provides clients with the capacity to ask for exactly what they require and make it easy to upgrade the API over time.
These were different types of APIs now let’s discuss the top API platforms.
Top API Platforms
❉ Azure API Management
Azure API Management is a cloud-based API administration. It is serverless API management, automatic and fast provisioning. The forum may be operated to publish APIs to external and internal clients. In addition, it is useful for managing microservices also. Users can easily pick from a variety of specific usage models.
❉ CA API Management
CA API management assists in linking systems, modifying services, orchestrating data, and forming enterprise-grade APIs from various sources. Further, this platform also streamlines API development, lessening time-to-market. Developers use built-in mobile SDKs(Software Development Kits).
❉ Akana Management
The Akana platform provides end-to-end management solutions. This includes API security, administration, and publication. It facilitates digital outreach, promotes partner endorsement, and handles analytics to improve data translation.
❉ Tyk API Management
Is an open-source API Management platform that includes an API dashboard, developer dashboard, and API gateway.
❉ AWS API Gateway
This API Gateway from Amazon enables developers to build, publish and secure APIs. It allows monetizing APIs on Amazon Marketplace.
Choose Webbybutter as your next API vendor
Different types of APIs serve different purposes. All you have to choose is the right combination of tools for development. So, if you are looking to build a mobile app to become part of the ecosystem all you have to do is pick Webbybutter for your next development project.
❉ How does an API call work?
The user begins an API call that instructs an application to execute something and then the application will use an API to ask the web server to execute a task.
❉ Which is the most used API?
- Skyscanner Flight Search
- Open Weather Map
- Yahoo Finance and so on…
❉ What are some examples of APIs useful in present times?
Here are some examples of APIs used nowadays:
- Google Maps
- Weather API
- Twitter Bots
- Flight Booking
- Hotel Booking and so on…