Before move into web APIs. First let’s see a brief about APIs. API stands for Application Programming Interface. 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.
APIs have become so valuable that they comprise a large part of many business’ revenue. Major companies like Google, eBay, Salesforce.com, Amazon, and Expedia are just a few of the companies that make money from their APIs.
What is an Web API?
A Web API is an application programming interface for either a web server or a web browser. It can be accessed over the web using the HTTP protocol. It is a framework that helps you to create and develop HTTP based RESTFUL services. Basically Web API is a web development concept. We can say this is the enhanced form of the web application to provide services on different devices like laptop, mobile, and others. These services can be accessed by different kind of users like:
- Web Browsers
- Mobile applications
- Desktop applications
- IOTs (Internet of Things)
Why we use Web API?
- A Web API services are preferable over other services to use with a native application that does not support SOAP but require web services.
- For creating resource-oriented services, the web API services are the best to choose. By using HTTP or restful service, these services are established.
- If you want good performance and fast development of services, the web API services are very helpful.
- For developing light weighted and maintainable web services, web API services are really helpful to develop that service. It supports any text pattern like JSON, XML etc.
- The devices that have tight bandwidth or having a limitation in bandwidth, then the Web API services are the best for those devices.
- May accepts and generates the content which may not be object oriented like images, PDF files etc.
- Supports Self-hosting or IIS Hosting.
- Supports the ASP.NET MVC features such as routing, controllers, action results, filter, model binders, IOC container or dependency injection.
Examples for Web API
APIs come in a large variety. Some of the more popular ones that we are likely to make use of sooner or later are:
- YouTube API’s: Google’s API lets developers integrate YouTube and functionality into websites or applications. YouTube APIs include the YouTube analytics API, YouTube Data API, YouTube live streaming API, YouTube Player APIs and others.
- The Flickr APIs: It is used by developers to access the Flick photo sharing community data.
- Twitter APIs: Twitter offers two APIs, the REST API allows developers to access core Twitter data and the search API provides methods for developers to interact with twitter search and trends data.
- Facebook APIs: enables you to use various parts of the Facebook ecosystem to benefit your app, for example by providing app login using Facebook login, accepting in-app payments, rolling out targeted ad campaigns, etc.
- Telegram API: allows you to embed content from Telegram channels on your website, in addition to providing support for bots.
Limitations of Web API
- Web API is a gateway and can become a hacker’s primary target. Once the API is compromised, all other applications and systems become vulnerable.
- In general the most common disadvantages with Restful APIs are related to latency in request processing times and bandwidth usage but that depends on user’s network and the actions we perform.
- Web API is not a platform for continuous services.