API is the software development standard generally acceptable by developers and partners. You can’t build software applications without housing them in an API, which ensures consistent inflow and outflow of communication. For example, GrabzIt provides an online HTML to image API that allows
users to take a website URL and turn it into a high quality image.
There are many types of public developer APIs that allow you to tap into functionality developed elsewhere over the web depending on your project.
All APIs fall between these three (3) main categories:
- APIs by purpose
- API management strategies
- API architectural styles
APIs by purpose
The System APIs typically help you transform your website or application into the accessible language of your target market. From a developer’s perspective, this API type unlocks data and enables businesses to connect various systems, devices, and applications.
This focuses on business processes and data established in the System APIs. Its core function is to present the information and data to the final users in a readable and understandable API format.
API Management Strategies
The API strategies are a type that grants access or revokes access to a specific part of an application or software. Be it a developer or a user, depending on the privileges you hold determines what information or section you can have access to. For example, you may want to query customer’s information for your marketing and sales agents; the targeted end-user, in this case, is internal employees.
Under the API management structure we have the external APIs and internal APIs.
The internal APIs are only accessible to the internal employees /developers of an organization and can only be amended or updated. Internal APIs can also enable enterprise-wide initiatives from microservice architectures to digital transformation.
The external APIs can be viewed and accessed by third parties. This could be in the form of licensing or payment of a subscription plan to gain access to the API environment. This allows developers and partners to create integrated and innovative software applications.
A common type of external APIs is the open API is the google Youtube API, which allows the content to be visible in the developer’s app. The YouTube API also allows for the searching and receiving of story feeds. Google map is also another widely used open API.
API by Architectural Style
The architectural style for API is a large–scale pre-defined solution system that informs software templates to quickly solve local implementation issues.
The Web API architecture style serves as a hybrid style derived from both the REST and the RPC styles. Web APIs are designed for systems that are both distributed and driven by machine-to-machine interactions.
Before you start building your API
As a developer, it is crucial to get it right the first time, and since it involves using a ready-made API software building template. If you are going with architectural style to develop your API, it should be the first decision you make as it could be challenging to correct later on.
The most common type of architectural styles in building APIs are;
- REST API Style
- SOAP API Style
- Falcor API Style
- GraphQL API Style
Rest API Style
When it comes to Architectural Style, the best practice to build standard APIs is by using the REST architectural style. REST uses HTTP structure to facilitate communication between a client and a server. It is also the most widely used style. This is why one can assume in practice that API-driven development is realized with the REST architectural style.