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What is API in Web Development

Introduction To APIs in Web Development

APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) are software interfaces that allow programs to communicate with each other. They are essential for building applications that interact with data or perform tasks.

APIs are becoming increasingly important in today’s modern web development. In addition to being useful for developers, they also provide benefits to businesses and consumers. 

Consider getting Twitter feeds for a particular Twitter account and showing them on your website. You’ll need to use Twitter’s API to pull the data from Twitter and then integrate it into your website using JavaScript.

There are many use cases of APIs for example:

  • An online store can have an API that allows customers to buy products from their phones.
  • A social network can offer its users an API so they can access all of its features through their own apps.
  • An eCommerce site can allow third-party developers to create shopping carts and checkout systems.
  • An email service provider can offer an API so that 3rd parties can build tools to make email management easier.
  • An online banking system can provide an API so that third parties can build mobile apps that let people manage their accounts.
  • A search engine could provide an API so that 3rd parties can build tools to help users find information more easily.
  • A mapping service could provide an API so anyone can build an app that lets you see what restaurants are nearby, where you can park, etc.
  • A news aggregator could provide an API so everyone can build apps that show you headlines from different sources.

Benefits Of APIs

API makes application programming much simpler than before. It provides a way to share code between multiple applications. This helps developers to reduce the time and cost of developing new applications. Here are a few benefits of building and using APIs in your web applications:

  • Easy integration – APIs make it easy to integrate various services and platforms into one single application.
  • Faster application development – Developers can reuse existing code rather than writing everything from scratch.
  • Increased customer satisfaction – Customers get value-added services at low costs.
  • Easier maintenance – When there is any change in the underlying platform, the developer doesn’t have to worry about updating the client-side code.
  • Reduced security risks – Since the source code is not shared, there is no chance of leaking confidential data.

Types of APIs

There are four types of APIs available on the internet that includes public APIs, private APIs, open APIs, and hybrid APIs. 

1. Public APIs

Public APIs are free to use. The only thing required is to register yourself as a user. These APIs are usually provided by companies like Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, PayPal, eBay, Netflix, YouTube, Spotify, Vimeo, etc. They may be used for commercial purposes or non-commercial purposes.

2. Private APIs

Private APIs are similar to public APIs except they require some sort of login credentials. For example, if you want to use Twitter’s API, you will first need to sign up with Twitter and log in. Once logged in, you will receive a unique key which is called an OAuth token. To use this token, you will need to pass the authorization parameters along with other necessary details.

3. Open APIs

Open APIs are also known as standard APIs. These APIs are free to use but they don’t guarantee quality. You might end up getting errors while trying to use them. However, these APIs are very useful since they are well documented. There are many open APIs available on the internet such as GitHub, Stack Overflow, Wikipedia, Flickr, etc.

4. Hybrid APIs

Hybrid APIs combine both public and private APIs. In hybrid APIs, you will need to create an account on a third-party website. After creating an account, you will get access to the APIs.

What Are Web Services?

Web services are software systems designed to work together over the Internet. A web service is a collection of functions that can be accessed via HTTP. One of the most common uses of web services is to provide information to people who are accessing websites. Some examples include weather forecasts, stock quotes, news feeds, sports scores, etc.

APIs are an integral part of web services. Here are popular two types of web services commonly used in web applications.

  1. Rest Web Services
  2. Soap Web Services

1. Rest Web Services

Rest web services are based on REST (Representational State Transfer) architecture. REST is a design pattern that defines how computers should communicate with each other. It was developed by Roy Thomas Fielding in 1997. RESTful web services are built around resources. Resources are identified by URLs. Each resource has its own URL. This means that it can be accessed individually.

The following diagram shows how the REST web services work.

2. Soap Web Services

Soap web services were introduced in 1999. Unlike rest web services, soap web services are based on SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol). SOAP stands for Simple Object Access Protocol. It is a protocol that allows machines to exchange messages. Soap web services have been widely used in enterprise environments because of their reliability.

The following diagram shows how soap web services work.

Now let’s move further with web APIs and know about how to use them in our web applications.

Using Browser API in Web Application

Browser APIs are sets of JavaScript libraries that allow web developers to interact with various browser features. Web developers can use browser APIs to add new functionality to websites.

For example, developers can add buttons to web pages. When users click on these buttons, they trigger certain events.

Another example of browser APIs is to get the longitude and latitude of a user using your website or app. Here is how you can do that using javascript on your website.

const myElement = document.getElementById(“demo”);

function getLocation() {
  if (navigator.geolocation) {
  } else {
    myElement.innerHTML = “Geolocation is not supported by this browser.”;

function showPosition(position) {
  myElement.innerHTML = “Latitude: ” + position.coords.latitude +
  “<br>Longitude: ” + position.coords.longitude;


If you place the following JavaScript code in your HTML head tag, this script will ask for permission from users if they could let their browser know where they are located.


APIs (Application Programming Interface) is a set of rules and specifications that define how programs interact with each other. The term “API” comes from the idea that there are interfaces between different components of a system. In computer programming, an interface is a way one program communicates with another.

In this article, we learned what is API in Web Development. The article explains different types of APIs and web services.

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