Before getting into things, let’s understand what is an API.
API stands for Application Programming Interface. A foundational element of innovation in today’s app-driven world is the API.
From Banks, Retail, and Transportation to IoT, autonomous vehicles and smart cities, APIs are a critical part of the modern mobile and web applications.
The term REST stands for REpresentational State Transfer. It defines a set of rules in order to create APIs. In the world of REST, data is not tied to resources or methods, so REST can handle/return different data formats.
No worries. Let’s take an example of a customer and a hotel waiter (Pretty old example but it still works!) for a better understanding of the functionality of an API.
Let’s assume the hotel waiter is an API and the customer who orders food is the client. As soon as the customer enters the hotel a person will assist us to get a table so that we can order our favorite food (Here, getting a table means we are logging into the app and getting a token to access the relevant APIs).
Once the waiter notes our order, he will go to the kitchen and will convey the order to the respective person to get it prepared (so here the client sends a request through API and the request will be sent to the respective resource using Endpoints).
Once your order got prepared (yummy!!) the waiter will go to the kitchen and will get the order to your table. (API will get the response back to the client with the requested data as an Object)
Hope this example helps you understand how an API works. Let’s move forward.
Rest defines six architectural constraints which make any web service a true Restful API:
Let’s have a look at how the APIs are working!!
As shown in the above picture, APIs use specific HTTP verbs based on a particular type of call made to the server. The most-commonly-used HTTP verbs are GET, POST, PUT, PATCH, and DELETE. These correspond to create, read, update, and delete (or CRUD) operations, respectively.
Before users make an API call to the server, users should usually need to register in the respective application to get an access token in another way to authenticate the requests made by them. Mostly, for read-only APIs, sometimes users don’t need keys and this authentication will happen in the form of API keys or with some other methods.
The following are the various types of authorization techniques we see for API authentication.
Headers are like instructors, because they instruct the browser(client) based upon the relevant action made by the client.
The REST headers and parameters contain information that can help track down issues.
Request and Response headers are playing a pivotal role in the API’s functionality, security, and performance issues.
Request (HTTP) headers mostly consist of ‘Content-Type’, ‘Accept’, ‘Authorization/Authentication’, ‘Accept-Charset’.
Response headers are included with the data being sent back to the client by the server. These headers include instructions for the client such as, to cache the content or not and also include HTTP status codes.
An API endpoint is basically a fancy word for a URL of a server or service. The endpoint can be viewed as the means from which the API can access the resources they need from a server to perform their task.
As I mentioned previously, the modern world is driven by API’s, Endpoints play a pivotal role in making sure that communication that happens between the systems are robust.
The performance and productivity of APIs depend on their ability to interact and communicate with endpoints effectively.
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