About
What is API
  • Posted:
  • June 4, 2011
  • Comments:

    0

API, an abbreviation of application program interface, is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. A good API makes it easier to develop a program by providing all the building blocks. A programmer then puts the blocks together.

An API can be:

  • Language-dependent, meaning it is only available by using the syntax and elements of a particular language, which makes the API more convenient to use.
  • language-independent, written so that it can be called from several programming languages. This is a desirable feature for a service-oriented API that is not bound to a specific process or system and may be provided as remote procedure calls or web services.

When used in the context of web development, an API is typically defined as a set of Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) request messages, along with a definition of the structure of response messages, which is usually in an Extensible Markup Language (XML) or JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) format. While “Web API” is virtually a synonym for web service, the recent trend (so-called Web 2.0) has been moving away from Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) based services towards more direct Representational State Transfer (REST) style communications.