You’ve probably heard this acronym and most likely know it stands for Application Programming Interface, but if you were really to explain what an API actually is — what would you say?
A good analogy to help visualize the functionality of an API is a restaurant. Imagine you are the client placing an order, the waiter is the API and takes the request and delivers this to the kitchen (aka the system that the API is connected to) telling them what to do, the kitchen provides the requested meal in response, and the waiter returns to the clients table with this response (meal).
Another example (less analogical) is Google Flights. When a user inputs the departing location, destination, and dates for departure and return — Google Flights sends a request with this user input information to the APIs of all associated airlines and these APIs filter through their data for flights that best match the information in the request. The airline APIs send back responses to Google Flights and the flight options are then displayed to the user.
If you would like to learn more about the specifics of the request-response cycle, check out my blog post on the subject linked below:
HTTP & the Request-Response Cycle
Hyper-text-transfer-protocol (HTTP) is a procedural system for fetching resources (for example, HTML documents) that…
An API is what helps clients communicate with databases by transporting requests and responses between the two. They play a crucial role in the connectivity that we experience every day while using the internet.