The Basics of API Development – What You Need to Know

A large number of companies now offer an API (Application Programming Interface) that can be used to access their platform or connect with their users more easily, so it’s no surprise that the field of API development has become so popular over the last few years. But what are APIs? What do they have to do with security? And why are they so important to any business’ success? Here’s everything you need to know about APIs if you want to learn how to become an API developer, or just want to know more about this fascinating field.

Why Developers Use APIs
APIs can be used by developers to build applications that interact with other web services and software. As every piece of software you may use will involve an API, chances are if you want a job as a developer you’ll need at least basic knowledge in developing and using APIs.

Understanding JSON
If you’re an experienced software developer, you probably know that APIs are a way for one piece of software to interact with another. In order for them to do so, they use a specific format called JSON. If you’re not familiar with JSON, it stands for JavaScript Object Notation and is a syntax designed as a more human-readable alternative to XML. It’s a very popular data exchange format due to its flexibility and simplicity.

How APIs Work
An Application Programming Interface (API) is a set of subroutines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. Most programming languages have libraries that provide interfaces for users to access operating system facilities, such as databases or network connections. For example, if you wanted your program to send an email message, there would be an interface you could call so that all your code had to do was create a text file with headers and type in who it’s from and what it’s about.

Mobile Apps and APIs
JSON is a cross-platform language that is making waves in almost every industry. JSON is a great medium for passing data from one platform to another. It allows developers to create sharable APIs between applications that have been built on different technologies. Let’s start with a definition: an Application Programming Interface (API) defines how software components should interact with each other, as well as how they should pass information back and forth.

Non-Mobile Apps and APIs
As mobile development continues to expand, it’s easy to forget that APIs are used for more than just building mobile apps. They provide critical functionality in almost every facet of modern technology. The average adult now spends more time on their smartphone than they do watching TV or talking on their landline phones. As a result, developers are finding new and innovative ways to integrate software platforms across multiple platforms, including PCs and smart TVs.

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