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Types of APIs and Applications of API in Real World

Last Updated : 27 Feb, 2024
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API which stands for Application Programming interface is an interface between different software so that they can interact with each other very smoothly. API is used to access different software services, retrieve data, and automate processes across different industries. So, as a developer, it is important to learn about API and Types of API for building a scalable application.

Types and Applications of API

APIs are of different types, each has its specific purpose and usage for the applications. In this article, we will explore 4 primary types of APIs: Public APIs, Private APIs, Composite APIs, and Partner APIs. To create a better user experience and make your application more powerful, you should have knowledge of these 4 types of APIs.

Before directly jumping onto the different types of APIs, let’s first know what is API.

What is an API?

An Application programming interface is a software interface that helps in connecting between the computer or between computer programs. It is an interface that provides the accessibility of information such as weather forecasting. In simple words, you can say it is a software interface that offers service to other pieces of software.

Example –
The best examples of web services APIs are- SOAP (Simple object access protocol), and REST.

Features :

  • An application programming interface is software that allows two applications to talk to each other.
  • Application programming interface helps in enabling applications to exchange data and functionality easily.
  • The application programming interface is also called a middleman between two systems.
  • Application programming interface helps in data monetization.
  • Application programming interface helps in improving collaboration.

Types of APIs

APIs are majorly used in web applications. Understanding these API types can help your organization maintain its efficiency and scalability. There are many different types of APIs that are used for multiple purposes and designed for their individual and unique use cases. These are common types of APIs as follows. 

1. Open APIs

It is also called public APIs which are available to any other users. Open APIs help external users to access data and services. It is an open-source application programming interface that we access with HTTP protocols. These types of APIs are available to the public by companies, allowing external users to access specific functionalities or data. It is a very popular type of API in modern API development, which involves consistency, reusability, and easy integration of services and data from different platforms. It has a developer-friendly environment but the developers who create these Open APIs have to be well aware of the documentation to the efficient usability of API.

2. Internal APIs

It is also known as private API, only an internal system exposes this type of API. These are designed for the internal use of the company rather than the external users. As Private APIs are used for internal use, data formats can be negotiated, depending on the use cases. These can also be created for better collaboration of data and services among the different teams. It has a very controlled environment within the organization so the utilization of this API is more effective and promotes collaboration, and reusability, and ultimately leads to a more productive development process.

3. Composite APIs

It is a type of API that combines different data and services. The main reason to use Composites APIs is to improve the performance and speed up the execution process and improve the performance of the listeners in the web interfaces. Sometimes, interacting with some websites contains a very complex and time-consuming process, so to solve this problem, we use Composite API. It allows developers to access a set of related functionalities through a single API endpoint which simplifies the complex interactions and provide a great user experience.

4. Partner APIs

It is a type of API in which a developer needs specific rights or licenses in order to access. Partner APIs are not available to the public. These APIs are provided by third-party companies that allow external developers to access their services and integrate them into their applications. It is a very secure and controlled way for external systems to collaborate with the company and access the capabilities of our system. One of the best examples of Partner API is Amazon API which allows online businesses to connect with by providing various functionalities like inventory management, shipping options, and analytics of their business.

Applications of APIs in the real world

APIs allow different software and application to integrate seamlessly for providing a better experience to users. API is such a powerful concept after using which software can unlock the possibilities of innovation and productivity. There is a very high chance that whatever online application we use today, has API integration in it. Here, some real-world applications are as follows.

1. Weather Snippets

In weather snippets, APIs are generally used to access a large set of datasets to access the information of weather forecasts which is very helpful information in day-to-day life. Not all companies have money to send their satellite into space to collect the data, so they use the API of large companies and organizations like ISRO and NASA to collect data and on top of that these companies predict data and provide their report to the users. It is one of the very important applications of API, which is very popular and useful to the common people as well.

2. Login

In this functionality, APIs are widely used to log in via Google, Linked In, Git Hub, and Twitter and allow users to access the log-in portal by using the API interface. See to prevent the cost of the database, many companies use authentication of large companies, like Google authentication, because it is a win-win situation for both the user and the company. A user can have access to the information hassle-free, while companies get the required data of the user. And all these things can be done by the APIs because large companies like Google provide the required endpoint to use their system and data.

3. Entertainment

In this field, APIs are used to access and provide a huge set of databases to access movies, web series, comedies, etc. The use of Youtube in different blog websites is a very common example of it, you have seen that almost every website has linked youtube videos, this can happen with the help of API because Youtube has endpoints that developers can use to integrate the video into their website it will lead them to cost reduction and better optimization of the database as well.

4. E-commerce Website

In this, APIs provide functionality like if you have purchased something, and now you want to pay so, API provides an interface where you can pay using different bank debit cards, UPI(Unified Payments Interface), credit cards, wallet, etc. Payment integration has solved a lot of problems in the modern day and UPI is a classic example of it. You can purchase everything in seconds with some clicks. It’s all thanks to the API. Companies use the payment app integration to their websites with the help of their API endpoints and in return, they give them a monthly fee or some percentage share, but it leads to a better customer experience.

5. Gaming

In gaming, it provides an interface where you can access the information of the game, and you can connect to different users and play with different-different users at the same time. There are many features of gaming that you have used seamlessly but they are integrated into games with the help of API and it is one of the best applications of API you can share your achievements on social media with the help of Social Media APIs, also Payment APIs, for in-app purchase. Similarly, there are multiple APIs involved in Games like AUdio API, and Graphics API, to make the experience very smooth.

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Application Programming Interface (API) is a very common term in the Software industry that allows different software to interact with each other using its rules and protocols for purposes like data exchange. APIs are of different types and choosing the right type of API for your application is a very important and crucial decision. Here in this article, we have discussed 4 different types of APIs which are Open API, Internal API, Composite API, and Partner API. Now each API has its specific use cases and requirements so choose according to your project requirement.

FAQs on Application Programming Interface

What are the Types of API?

These are the 4 common types of APIs

1. Open APIs
2. Internal APIs
3. Composite APIs
4. Partner APIs

What is an API?

API stands for Applications Programming Interface. It is a set of Protocols that allow different software applications to interact with each other for accessing other system data or for data exchange using the given endpoints.

What is the difference between API and REST API?

An API is a general term for a set of Protocols that allow the software to interact with each other for data exchange using API endpoints. On the other hand, A REST API is a specific type of API that follows the REST(Representational State Transfer) architecture style principle to perform its operations.

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