You have probably seen that the term “API” come up. The operating system, web browser, and app updates often announce new APIs for developers. But what is an API?
Application Programming Interface
The term API is called “Application Programming Interface.”
Think of an API like a menu in a cafe. The menu gives a list of dishes you can order, along with a description of each dish which you need. When you specify what menu items you want, the cafe’s kitchen does the work and provides you with some finished dishes. And you don’t know exactly how the restaurant prepares that food, and even you don’t really need to.
Likewise, an API lists a bunch of operations that developers can use, along with a sketch of what they do. The developer doesn’t necessarily need to know how, In case, an OS builds and immediate a “Save As” dialog box. They just need to know that it’s provided to use in their app.
This isn’t a perfect metaphor, as a developer may have to give their own data to the API to get the results, so perhaps it’s more like a fancy cafe where you can give some of your own ingredients the kitchen will work with.
But it is hugely accurate. APIs allow developers to save time by taking advantage of a platform’s implementation to do the everyday work. This helps reduce the volume of code developers need to create, and also helps create more consistency across apps for the same platform. APIs can control the access to hardware and software resources.
APIs Make Life simple for Developers
let us think that you want to develop an app for an iPhone. Apple’s iOS operating system gives a large number of APIs—as every other operating system does to make this simple on you.
If you want to put a web browser to show one or more web pages, In case, you don’t have to program your own web browser from scratch for your application. You can use the WKWebView API to place a WebKit (Safari) browser object in your application.
If you want to capture the pictures or video from the iPhone’s camera, you don’t have to write your own camera interface. You can use the camera API to embed the iPhone’s built-in camera in your application. If APIs didn’t exist to make this easy, so the app developers would have to create their own camera software and interpret the camera hardware’s inputs. But Apple’s OS developers have done all this hard work so they can just use the camera API to embed a camera, and then get on with developing their app. And, when Apple improves the camera API, all the apps that count on it will take advantage of that improvement automatically.
This refers to every platform. In case, do you want to bring a dialog box on Windows? There’s an API for that. Want to mount fingerprint authentication on Android? There’s also an API for that, too, so you don’t have to test every different Android manufacturer’s fingerprint sensor. Developers don’t have to reproduce the wheel over and over.
APIs Control Access to Resources
APIs are also used to control the access to hardware and software functions that an application may not necessarily have permission to use. So here the API’s play the major role in security.
In case, forever visited a website and seen a message in your browser that the website is asking to see your accurate location, that website is attempting to use the geolocation API in your web browser. Web browsers tell APIs like this to make it simple for web developers to access your location so they can just ask “where are you?” and the browser does the hard work of accessing the GPS or closer Wi-Fi networks to find your physical location.
However, browsers also tell this information via an API because it’s possible to control access to it. When a website wants access to your accurate physical location, the only way they can get through the location API. And, if the website tries to use it, you—the user—can pick to allow or deny this request. The only way to access hardware resources like the GPS sensor from the API, so the browser control access to the hardware and limit what apps can do.
This same procedure is used on modern mobile operating systems like iOS and Android, in which the mobile apps have permissions that can be enforced by controlling access to APIs. In case, if a developer tries to access the camera via the camera API, you can deny the request and the app has no way to access your device camera.
File systems that use permissions—done on Windows, Mac, and Linux—have these permissions enforced by the file system API. A normal application doesn’t have direct access to the raw physical hard disk. Rather, the app must access files through an API.
APIs are Used For Communication Between the Services
APIs are used for all kinds of other reasons also. In case, if you have ever seen a Google Maps object embedded on a website, so the website is using the Google Maps API to embed that map. Google exposes APIs like this to web developers, who can then use the APIs to plop complicate objects right on their website. If APIs like this didn’t live, unless the developers have to create their own maps and provide their own data just to put a little interactive map on the website.
And, because it’s an API, also the Google can control access to Google Maps on third-party websites, ensuring they use it in a compatible way rather than attempting to messily enroot a frame that shows the Google Maps website.
This is applicable to many different digital services. There is APIs for requesting text translation from Google Translate or embedding commends on Facebook or tweets from Twitter on a website.