Before we understand about the web APIs, let’s see what is an Application Programming Interface (API).
API is an intermediary software with a set of defined protocols, subroutine which allows two programs to communicate each other. In another way an API contains a set of functions which other applications can use through an interface. It helps to integrate new components to an application.
Web API is an API over the web which can be accessed using HTTP protocol. Web API can be built using different languages like Java, .NET etc. It is a framework that helps to develop HTTP based RESTFUL services. There are 2 kinds of web APIs.
Browser APIs — Extend the functionality of a web browser.
Server APIs — Extend the functionality of a web server.
Why we use web APIs?
Web API is a web development concept. It is included in the client side of the web application. This does not contain web browser details or web server details.
We can use web APIs in providing services of a distributed system to other connected devices.
- It can extend the functionality of the browser
- It can provide easy syntax to complex code
- It can greatly simplify complex functions
Examples : Google API, YouTube API, Facebook API, Titter API, Amazon API, Geolocation API, Web history API etc.
Limitations in Web APIs
Latency in request processing and bandwidth usage.
Another limitation is removing or changes to web APIs that we are using. When we use a web API in one of our applications and after sometimes if that API service doesn’t provide the service, we cannot do the intended task in our application.