June 20, 2020, 7:36 p.m.

What is an API - Concept of API explained

In this article we will talk about "What is an API ?" also known as Application Programming Interface. This is a very common term & very useful term, but there is a problem with our society or our computer society. We give 0 F to whether people understand that subject or not. We just wanted to be technically correct.

If you look up for the API definition on any platform like Wikipedia or a blog. They are technically correct that's one part but they are not so much understandable. So in this article, we are going to make sure that you understand about an API, what is an API and after reading this article you never ever watch any video on API or blog. Because you will be understanding each and every bit of API.


Let's talk about what is API ? Now go ahead open up your favourite search engine and try to look up for what is an API. Let me help you and try to read what is written on your very favourite Wikipedia - "It is a set of function and procedure that allows creating of application which accesses the feature or data of an operating system application of other services."
Again a bumbo-Jumbo, that means We don't get what is API. Now the problem is this definition is perfectly correct and the people who are using the API will be saying that "hey! is a perfect definition and perfect point To understand". Now here is the problem, the people who are already using the API doesn't need to understand "what is API ?" because they know about it. But the people who don't understand API I need to target those people. We need to make sure that they understand.

API is very simple, something which is helping you to have seamless connectivity, you don't feel that you are getting connected with so much of the thing that API is actually helping.

Examples of API Now remember the example this one only always, that when you try to book an airline ticket or maybe railway ticket you book it from various website. Let just say you want to fly from Delhi to Jaipur or Jaipur to Mumbai and you choose your favourite Indigo Airlines. But how many times do you actually book from Indigo Airlines? You rarely do that. You use other services like makemytrip.com or maybe goibibo.com or any other services. So how is that possible that your booking from the third party website but still you are getting a seat on the same plane? The answer is API .

Here is one more technical example. You might have seen login with Google or login with a Facebook feature on many websites or apps. This makes the authentication system easy to handle for the developers because google and Facebook had already verified their users. We just use the cooked up code and use them directly. We don't care how the things works.
On the other hand to avoid the misuse of this kind of feature google and Facebook asks for an API key so that they can track you. If someone found misusing the API, they can also block him.
Now there is no such extreme mumbo-Jumbo with the API. It's the simplest thing in the world but yet the definition has made it so Complex here.

Summary Now on a summary note I would say that yes API is just a code written by someone else that I don't really bother that how it is being written, why it is being written or what the circumstances would have been that why these people have written this code. All I care about that this is someone else code, that he is legally giving me permission to use that code and I can use that in my application.

For example login with Google or login, Facebook are the most common example of using the API of Facebook and Google. You might have seen other things as well, like for example if I want to just use or make a simple mobile app of weather application. I am not Tony Stark, I am not gonna put any satellite into space and that is going to calculate the whole complexity things are going on there and will give me the date, where will it rain ? or where will it not rain ?

But what I can do is that some people have done that already and I can use their APIs. Some of the APIs are free and some of them are not. Like sign-in of Google is a free tier that you can use. But if you want to use the Google database and want to fix everything on there like a live database that we call it as library loading database, that some of the parts is free for the firebase and we'll talk about the firebase in some other articles. But if your user base is growing you have to pay them as well so that is why the maintenance cost some time is there a little bit.


So now you understand that API is a code written by someone else and you can use that code in your application and that is it.

Now sometimes in that application, you have to use an API key as well so that the misuse of that code or that feature is not there.
Ok so I hope you understood what is API and from now onwards you will never ever look on what is API rather you will be looking at the things that how I can use the API that would be much more important. So basics all clear up and maybe in some of the articles I will try to make sure that you understand how APIs are being used as well.








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