14 Facts About API


An API is often made up of different parts which act as tools or services that are available to the programmer.

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An API specification defines these calls, meaning that it explains how to use or implement them.

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Term API initially described an interface only for end-user-facing programs, known as application programs.

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When used in this way, the term API has overlap in meaning with the term communication protocol.

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The API describes and prescribes the "expected behavior" while the library is an "actual implementation" of this set of rules.

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Single API can have multiple implementations in the form of different libraries that share the same programming interface.

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An API can specify the interface between an application and the operating system.

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The Java Database Connectivity API allows developers to query many different types of databases with the same set of functions, while the Java remote method invocation API uses the Java Remote Method Protocol to allow invocation of functions that operate remotely but appear local to the developer.

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For example, Twitter's 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.

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API security is very critical when developing a public facing API.

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Many public facing API services require you to use an assigned API key, and will refuse to serve data without sending the key with your request.

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When parts of a publicly presented API are subject to change and thus not stable, such parts of a particular API should be documented explicitly as "unstable".

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API documentation describes the services an API offers and how to use those services, aiming to cover everything a client would need to know for practical purposes.

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In 2016, following a two-week trial, a jury determined that Google's reimplementation of the Java API constituted fair use, but Oracle vowed to appeal the decision.

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