Web API Introduction
API stands for Application Programming Interface. When we use an application, it connects to the Internet and sends information to a server. The server retrieves the data, interprets it, takes the appropriate actions, and sends it back to our phone. The software then analyses the data and displays the information you requested legibly. All of this happens via application programming interface or API.
In the diagram below, we can understand how an API works as an intermediate software agent and allows two or more applications to interact with each other.
Let us try to understand API with a real-life example.
Suppose you are at a restaurant and you ordered a dish. Now the dish is being prepared in the kitchen, but you are waiting at the table for the dish. There has to be an agent to bring the food from the kitchen to the table. In this case, that agent is the waiter. Similarly, API plays the role of a waiter in programming, who serves information between the server and the client.
Now, let’s get to know about web API’s.
What is a Web API?
As the name implies, a web API can be accessed using the HTTP protocol over the Internet. It's a framework for creating and developing RESTFUL HTTP services.
Different technologies, such as Java and ASP.NET, can be used to construct the web API. A web server or a web browser can both use the this API.
Web API is, at its core, a notion in web development. It only covers the client-side of a web application and excludes information about a web server or a web browser.
Need of a Web API
When the user wants to access an application from various devices like android phone, a browser or some Google devices, etc. In this case, Web API can be useful.
The reason being, when different devices request to Web API, it responds in a common JSON format. Most of the devices are able to understand JSON output.
Refer to the diagram below to understand the Web API Architecture.
In a nutshell, we can say that Web API services are utilized when an application is to be used on a distributed system and deliver services to various devices such as laptops, mobile phones, etc.
ASP.NET Web API
ASP.NET stands for Active Server Pages.NET. It's primarily used to make web pages and web technologies. It is a critical tool for developers who want to create dynamic web pages with languages like C# and Visual Basic. The ASP.NET Web API framework aids in the development of services by making it simple to reach a wide range of customers, including browsers, mobile devices, and tablets. With the help of ASP.NET, you can create web pages and services using the same framework and patterns.
Web API allows developers to use RESTful methodologies to create APIs and services, and it does so by using a variety of ASP.NET technologies. The ASP.NET web stack is ideal for creating Web API web services because REST makes use of HTTP and other web technologies.
Because of the differences between ASP.NET and Web Forms, Microsoft introduced the Web API framework to the current stack, making it a peer to MVC, allowing the two technologies to cohabit together within projects.
This allows developers to harness the full power of.NET, including the relatively new async/await keywords, to design RESTful services that can power a wide range of services and applications.
- Web forms API: Facilitates validation and other functionality in a web form
- Web History API: Helps in accessing the browser history.
- Web Storage API: Useful in storing and retrieving data from the browser.
- Web Worker API: Adds functionalities which run in the background without affecting the performance of the page.
- Web Fetch API: Allows making HTTP requests to web servers. Click here, to know more about Fetch API
- Web Geolocation API: Used to get the geographical position of a user.
Where to use Web API?
The important usage of Web API’s are as follows:
- Web APIs are pretty handy when creating RESTFUL web services with the.NET framework.
- Web API aids in the construction of HTTP services that communicate with client entities such as browsers, devices, and tablets.
- Any form of application can use the ASP.NET Web API with MVC.
- A web API can aid in the development of AJAX-based ASP.NET applications.
- As a result, web API makes it easy for developers to create an ASP.NET application that works with practically every browser and device.
Frequently asked questions
1). What is an API?
Ans: An API is a communicator between the server and the client.
2). What is Web API?
Ans: APIs which facilitate web applications are called Web APIs.
3). Where can we use Web API?
Ans: Both web server and a web browser can use Web APIs;
In this article, we’ve seen that an API is a communicator between the server and the client. As its name implies, a web API can be accessed using the HTTP protocol over the Internet. We also learnt about the architecture and various types of Web API in this article.
If you are wishing to know more about RESTful API’s and how to build them, here’s an amazing article.