What is an API? Explained as Simply as Possible

Before delving into the explanation, please don't think of APIs as something exclusive to the backend. We couldn't find the appropriate category while writing this, so we plan to categorize it separately in the future.

As a simple example,

Front-end is like a customer in a restaurant, API is the waiter taking orders, and back-end is the chef cooking in the kitchen.

When we order food in a restaurant, we can only order dishes listed on the menu. Think of this as the rules (menu) necessary for communication.

API stands for "Application Programming Interface" and defines how information is exchanged between two software applications. You can think of it as a rulebook that shows how two applications should communicate.

So, why are APIs important?

APIs enable various software services to collaborate and share information. For example, APIs are used when logging into other websites using Google login, displaying weather information, or using payment services. This allows combining multiple services to create more complex and useful developments.

How do APIs work?

APIs consist of requests and responses. Requests are sent using APIs, and the service responds to these requests. Requests specify the necessary data and how to handle it, and responses contain the data provided by the service.

In other words, users order food (request) through the waiter (API), and the waiter (API) conveys the order to the chef, who cooks the menu item (request) and serves it (response).

In conclusion

APIs are an essential part of modern software development, enabling various services to connect and create richer and more powerful applications.

Backend developers (server developers) are responsible for creating APIs, so this article is written in the backend category.