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Big Data Glossary

What is an API?

Definition of API

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What is an API?

An API, or Application Programming Interface, is a set of rules and protocols that allows different software applications to communicate with each other. API's allow different systems to share data and functionality, making it possible for different software applications to work together seamlessly.

APIs can be classified into two types:

  • Open API: Open API's are publicly available and can be accessed by anyone who wants to use it.
  • Internal API: Internal API's are only available to a specific group of users or within an organization.

An API typically consists of a set of endpoints, which are URLs that the API can be accessed from, and a set of methods, which are the actions that can be performed on the data. APIs use a request-response model, where a client sends a request to the API, and the API sends back a response. The request is typically in the form of an HTTP request, and the response is typically in the form of an HTTP response. The request and response are typically in a specific format, such as JSON or XML. APIs also use authentication and authorization mechanisms to ensure that only authorized users can access the API. This is typically done using an API key, which is a unique string that identifies the client and is used to authenticate requests.

APIs have become an important part of modern software development, as they make it possible to easily share data and functionality between different systems. They have been widely adopted in areas such as e-commerce, social media, and the Internet of Things, among many others.

In summary, API is a set of protocols, routines and tools for building software and applications, which allows different systems to communicate and share data with each other.

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