What is an API?

Welcome to the discussion about this lecture. Here you can ask questions or post feedback about this specific lecture.

1 Like

Hi everyone,

The one thing I’m having trouble understanding is whether, for example, Facebook WANTS Twitter to be able to obtain a user’s Facebook friends?

Is it that Twitter (or Snapchat, or what ever social media company you can think of) is taking advantage of Facebook’s APIs to query information for their own interests?

Or do websites like Facebook purposely develop their server APIs so that other servers, like Twitter’s, can obtain that information?

Thanks for clarifying!
~Josh

It’s intentional. facebook could easily put controls on the API so that only registered partners could access them. But I get the sense that the more sites that rely on facebooks API services, the more important facebook becomes. So I’m guessing facebook encourages the usage of it’s APIs. Otherwise, they would make them private and require their partners to go through some kind of registration process.

In another simpler example, there are tons and tons of public APIs. I build a google sheet and it gathers the price information for various crypto currencies. I use this free service:
https://api.coinmarketcap.com/v1/ticker/bitcoin/?convert=USD

Routers makes it’s news services available as an API. Any site can consume that service and render Routers news items on their site. Similary, the weather channel offers it’s weather data service. And so on.

1 Like

I found it way much easier to understand what is the API and how is it works by watching the video rather then reading the article. Now reading the article makes much more sense too for me.
How are you guys feel about it?
Who found it easier to understand it the other way around?

This video is perfect explanation about API!

1 Like

API - Where would we be without API. API is the backbone of the internet because different services communicate with each other through API’s. Client communicates with your server through API. Different programs and services communicate with each other through API. Application Programming Interface. When client wants to request some information from the server, the API specifies HOW the client should ASK for that information.
Also The API specifies HOW, and in what format the server should reply.

1 Like

As I understand, we are still communicating with words, while computers communicate with binary code. API and for that matter any programming language is an abstraction of the binary code. In ancient time I was introduced ti Basic and Pascal, at that time a “high level language”. I used to write “code” in a text editor, importing it to a compiler and thus creating an exe-file.
This exe-file was impossible for me to understand, but it ran on the computer within the DOS environment.

Now, regarding API is this the compiler or the exe-file? In @ivan 's video I get the impression it is the exe-file, but I have a feeling I miss some important point. Perhaps because I am on the wrong abstraction level…

2 Likes

Yeah I’ve came back to this lecture and I get it now it think. I’ve connected a few exchanges to my Block folio account now and all my tx history is now on my profile … Great stuff.

1 Like

the exe-file (executable file) is the one who compile the data to API. API is just a way to share data between different computers, JSON is the most used over the internet.

Is the whole program who have a function that create a API file (we can call it JSON file) with data that you want to let other computers know, shared data.

Hope you find this useful.
If you have any more questions, please let us know so we can help you! :slight_smile:

Carlos Z.

1 Like

I am not 100% with you, but I guess this is a programming issue that will be clarified later.

1 Like