What is an API?
No! Not an IPA, an API!!
API is the acronym of Application Programming Interfaces. An API is a series of definitions and protocols used to develop and integrate different software applications, and allowing the communication between them through a set of rules.
Think of an API as a contract that establishes the rules of communication between two pieces of software. Something like “If you say A, I’ll always respond B. I you say B, I’ll always respond C.”
APIs can be private (for the use of a single company or organization), open to partners or public so anyone can interact with them. APIs can also be local, when they communicate within the same environment or dispositive, or remote, when they access a different point.
APIs are part of the backend web development and are written in languages such as node, python, java, ruby, etc. APIs are responsible for connecting the front end with the databases or any other functionality that isn’t accessible to the user.
Think for example when you get into facebook and scroll around you friends’ profiles to see the images they uploaded. Well, in that case the front end is probably calling an API that explores the database for the specific data you’re looking for and brings back the images that are stored in that database.
Regarding implementation, APIs usually have an “endpoint” which looks more or less like an URL. The front end has to call this endpoint together with some specific info or codes so that the API can bring back exactly the same information the front end needs. The endpoints and info required for each type of API response is usually declared in the API documentation.