Before we understand what Web, API is, let us see what an API (Application Programing Interface) is.
In computer programming, an application programming interface (API) is a set of subroutine definitions, protocols, and tools for building software and applications. In simple terms, an API is a type of interface which has a set of functions that allow programmers to access specific features or data of an application, operating system, or other service.
What is Web API?
Web API is an API that, as the name suggests, can be accessed on the web using HTTP protocol. It is a framework that enables you to create and develop HTTP based RESTFUL services. Web APIs can be created using various technologies such as Java and ASP.NET. Web API is used on a web server or web browser. Web API is basically a web development concept. It is limited to the web application’s client-side and does not contain web server or web browser details. If an application is to be used on a distributed system and to provide services on different devices like laptops, mobiles, etc. then web API services are used. Web API is the enhanced form of the web application.
Why we use web APIs?
- Web APIs are very useful in implementation of RESTFUL web services using .NET framework.
- Web API helps in enabling the development of HTTP services to reach out to client entities like browser, devices or tablets.
- ASP.NET Web API can be used with MVC for any type of application.
- Web API services are used when the application is to be used on a distributed system.
- Web API takes requests from the different type of client devices like mobile, laptop, etc. and sends them to the web-server to process it and returns the desired data to the client.
Examples for web APIs
- 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.
Limitations of web APIs
- Web API is not a platform for continuous services. Its purpose is just to provide an interface to your application over HTTP.
- The most common disadvantage with Restful APIs is usually related to delays in processing times and bandwidth usage, but it depends on the user’s network and the actions we perform.
- In Web API, each form of data request would need to be specified.