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Community Blog What Is an API

What Is an API

APIs allow businesses to connect internal and external resources, as well as augment service scenarios with partners, in order to grow new businesses and meet market demands.

What is an API

API, also known as application programming interface, is a set of protocols and definitions that allow one application to communicate with another application. It is a computing interface used to define the interaction between various software intermediaries.

It will define the types of requests and calls that can be made. It is an information gateway that allows the back end of software and services to communicate with each other. Have you ever wondered how modern digital experiences are interconnected? The answer is API.

It also provides an extension mechanism so that users can extend the main functions in a variety of ways and to varying degrees. APIs can be component-specific, customized, or even designed based on industry standards to ensure interoperability. By hiding information, API can help users independently use software module interfaces. In application development, API means simplifying programming by only exposing operations or objects and abstracting the underlying implementation according to the needs of the developer. In the field of technology, almost everything relies on a hidden network of application programming interfaces, from data-driven marketing activities to the workflow of automated business and ever-expanding application ecosystems.

What are the benefits of using API

Automation
API allows you to manage tasks through computers instead of using humans to complete these tasks. APIs can help organizations update their workflows in the best way to become faster and more efficient.
It can help you automate manual tasks to easily and smoothly generate conversions between linked applications. Thanks to the automation that API brings, you will be able to easily save a lot of work, cost and time.

Customization is simpler
API allows users to customize services according to their needs. Users will be able to add or remove features, or can analyze data according to their needs. Using API, you will be able to customize a set of services for yourself, which can be modified or changed as needed.

Flexible information delivery
The API can access the components of the application. Therefore, these can make the delivery of information and services more flexible and faster.

Easier to distribute new services
APIs can simplify the implementation of new business models, applications, and digital products. At the same time, while improving the development process, it can also provide efficient complements with third-party services and products.

Digital conversion
APIs are the foundation for digital transformation, development and creation of amazing and innovative business models. These are the foundations of business economics and can be established at a better, faster and lower cost.

Easier to integrate
Finally, APIs are the best way to embed or integrate services for other platforms. APIs allow different applications, systems, and platforms to interact with each other and share information, thereby easily performing various types of tasks. This is very effective in simplifying specific processes more effectively.
APIs can also facilitate and simplify integration, enabling multiple software to determine their interrelationships based on the specific needs of the business. With this, you can achieve better results while saving a lot of development costs.

What is the difference between Web API and Web Service

Both Web API and Web Service implement RPC (Remote Procedure Call) communication means. Both support data transmission based on XML format, but in actual production process, the common data type format of Web API is mainly JSON.

When comparing Web Service with Web API, or when choosing between two RPC methods, there is a key reference value, that is, the workload of the caller and provider for data serialization and deserialization (packaging and unpacking). Serialization and deserialization of JSON requires much less work than XML serialization and deserialization, and JSON is also lighter than XML, which makes JSON faster in terms of parsing rate and requires bandwidth Lower.

In addition, the client system (caller) and service system (provider) of Web API are independent of each other, and the caller can easily use different languages ​​(Java, Python, Ruby, etc.) to make API calls. Web Service usually only interacts between two systems, almost always relying on an interface similar to XML-RPC to communicate with each other, and browsers under different clients have inconsistent ways of parsing XML, requiring repeated writing of a lot of code.

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Related Resources

Products > API Gateway

API Gateway provides you with high-performance and highly available API hosting services to deploy and release your APIs on Alibaba Cloud products.

Products > OpenAPI Explorer

OpenAPI Explorer allows you to call an API through its web interface or WebCLI, and view the entire process.
Free Trail Now!

Certification > Introduction to API Gateway on Alibaba Cloud

This course is designed to help developers and engineers who want to open APIs or call APIs, as well as cloud computing technology enthusiasts who are interested in API Gateway. Through this course, learners can fully understand what API gateway is, how to call APIs, how to open APIs, and the scenarios of using API Gateway on Alibaba Cloud, so as to provide a reference of using APIs and API gateway.
*Recommended For:
Cloud Computing Engineers and Architects, Cloud Service Providers, Cloud computing enthusiasts*

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