1. What is an web API?

Before focus on web API, First we need to understand API. API is standards for Application Programing Interface. In technical terms an Application Programming Interface (API) is a set of subroutine definitions, protocols, and tools for building software and applications.

To put it in simple terms, API is some kind of interface which has a set of functions that allow programmers to access specific features or data of an application, operating system or other services.

Web API as the name suggests, is an API over the web which can be accessed using HTTP protocol. It is a concept and not a technology. It is a framework that helps you to create and develop HTTP based RESTFUL services. We can build Web API using different technologies such as Java, .NET etc. A Web API is an application programming interface for either a web server or a web browser.

It is limited to Web Application’s client-side and also it does not include a web server or web browser details. If an application is to be used on a distributed system and to provide services on different devices like laptops, mobiles, etc. Then web API services are used. Web API is the enhanced form of the web application.

2. Why we use web APIs?

Nowadays, a web-based application is not enough to reach the customers. People are very smart and they are using smart phones, tablets, laptops etc. These devices also consist a lot of applications for making their life easy. Now, we are moving from the web towards apps world. So, if you like to expose your service data to the browsers and as well as all these modern devices apps in fast and simple way, you should have an API which is compatible with browsers and all these devices.

Web API is the great framework for exposing your data and service to different types of devices. Moreover Web API is open source an ideal platform for building REST-ful services. Unlike WCF Rest service, it use the full features of HTTP (like URIs, request/response headers, caching, versioning, various content formats) and you don’t need to define any extra config settings for different devices unlike WCF Rest service.

Following are some points of Web APIs

  1. It Supports convention-based CRUD operations, since it works with HTTP verbs GET,POST,PUT and DELETE.

3. Examples for web APIs.

  1. Google Maps API’s: Google Maps APIs allows developers to use Google Maps on Webpages using a JavaScript or Flash interface.

4. Limitations of web APIs.

REST, as a system in itself, is very predictable regarding endpoints and the content of the requests, being just an HTTP request. It is supposed that end-users can easily guess how to fulfill their aim as long as the URL structure of the site is familiar to them, which can be interpreted as a breach within the security system. This is considered one of the first drawbacks/limitations of RESTful APIs, but we will get to this in a minute.

Regarding performance, it is considered that SOAP is more advanced in this regard, making good use of event-based parsing, which adds to the scalability of SOAP stacks that use normal HTTP processing along the XML parsing, while REST uses the HTTP processing method alone.

There are a few limitations when working with APIs in Shortcuts:

  • OAuth: OAuth 2, a system of authentication that requires a user to manually enter their username and password on a login page, is currently not supported.

Hope you now get the basic idea of web APIs. See you in another topic. Bye..!