When we use applications like Ola, Uber or Zomato we see a map. In the case of Ola we can track the current location of our driver.But, does Ola have a satellite in space which tells the current location of the person in the map. The answer is a big NO!!! These applications are using the map services provided by the Google Maps Application. But, Ola can not directly access the data of google maps because of security reasons. That’s why Google has kept a security layer in between which is known as Google Maps API. So, to access google maps data and services Ola will access this API. On account of this, we can think of API as a messenger which delivers data from one place to another.
In this Blog, we will talk about API their types, architectures, roles and future.
What is an API?
API stands for Application Programming interface which is an intermediary software that allows two applications to share data and services. It’s a set of rules and definitions for creating and integrating software applications. Every time you use Instagram, Facebook, and Zomato you are using an API.
In other words, API gives us the answer of What and not How. To understand this statement let’s take a real life example. When we go to a restaurant we see a menu and order the food according to it and the waiter works as the API and goes to the kitchen counter and requests for the dish we ordered and if that dish is present it brings our order otherwise tells us that the dish can not be served. Likely, When an application will send a request to an API asking for some data, the API will then send this request to its server and then the server will either accept the request and send the required data to the API or will reject the request and will send the corresponding error. Consequently, the API that gets the data from the server will manipulate it in the required format and then will send the data to the application or will return the error which it received from the server.
Let’s see some examples where you can use an API
What are the types of APIs available?
On the basis of access and scope of use, APIs can be categorized in 4 types.
1. Open APIs
Open APIs are also known as External API or Public API and as the name suggests they are open to use means they are accessible by any developer to use and integrate in their application. Since they are open they provide less authentication and authorization measures.
2. Partner APIs
Partner APIs, as the name suggests are those APIs which are shared among business partners with mutual decision. Because they are available to only authorized clients they are safer as compared to Open APIs.
3. Internal APIs
Internal APIs are those APIs, which are unlike Open or External APIs not available to other users and can be used by 3rd parties. They are made to use in a company to streamline the process of sharing data among the employees of its company only.
4. Composite APIs
Composite APIs combine various APIs, allowing developers to combine calls or requests together and obtain a single unified response from multiple servers. A composite API is used when you need data from multiple apps or data sources.
What are the various kinds of API architectures that are currently in use?
The rules that govern what information an API can share with clients and how it communicates data constitute an API’s architecture. The most widely used API architectures nowadays are REST, SOAP, and RPC.
REST stands for representational state transfer and is a set of rules for making APIs that are scalable, lightweight, and simple to use. A REST API (or “RESTful” API) is a data transmission API that meets the REST standards and is used to send data from a server to a requesting client. Client-server isolation, a consistent interface, a stateless, layered system, and cacheability are all guidelines to follow.
SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is a network data transmission protocol that can be used to create APIs. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has standardized SOAP, which uses XML to encode data. SOAP specifies how messages should be sent and what information must be included. SOAP APIs are therefore more secure than REST APIs, despite the fact that the strict rules make them more code-heavy and difficult to implement in general.
The RPC protocol (Remote Procedural Call) is the simplest of the three designs. RPC APIs, unlike REST and SOAP, which permit data transfer, invoke processes. To put it another way, they run scripts on a server. In its calls, RPC APIs can use either JSON (a JSON-RPC protocol) or XML (an XML-RPC protocol). Although XML is more secure and flexible than JSON, the two protocols are otherwise very comparable. The RPC protocol is a reasonably simple and easy technique to run code on remote networks, despite its strictness.
What role do APIs play in the growth of digital businesses?
APIs are the primary integration mechanism in the distributed cloud-native development environment, offering developers and the applications they produce a number of benefits, including:
Why does it appear like APIs are the way of the future?
Developers nowadays primarily use APIs to connect across services, create integrations, and send data to third-party customers. APIs will become increasingly crucial in the future.
It was good a few years ago if your application had a public API; now it is virtually a requirement, and in a few years, it will be required. APIs are a terrific way to transfer information between different programmes as they become increasingly integrated.
It doesn’t matter if the app you need data from is written in PHP, NodeJS, Go, or C#; as long as it has an API, getting the data you require is simple.
When we approach APIs not only from the perspective of software development but also from the perspective of business collaboration, they play a far larger role. These resource-exchange machine-readable interfaces are similar to delivery services that operate behind the scenes and provide the necessary technological connectivity.
In the current condition, digitally aware firms rely largely on private, public, or partner APIs to function. APIs produce 50 percent of income for Salesforce, 60 percent for eBay, and 90 percent for Expedia. As a result, infrastructure service providers must fully utilize the capabilities of an API-powered infrastructure platform to stay ahead of the market and competition.
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Though the names are different, these three frameworks FastAPI, Flask, and Django have a common similarity in that is they are web frameworks written using the Python language. These three frameworks have been used by developers for a variety of purposes. The three frameworks have distinct features that serve the best in development. Let us look at how these frameworks differ from each other in this article.
Fast API is a Python-based web framework that enables us to use the REST interface in development. It is a fast and high-performance framework to build APIs with the latest Python 3.6+, created by Sebastian Ramirez. Some of the popular features of the FastAPI include:
Read our article on – Python Basics: Data types
Flask is a Python-based micro web framework for developing web applications. It was created by Armin Ronacher. Since it is a microframework, it doesn’t have particular tools, libraries, or ORM (Object Relational Manager). Flask is a WSGI (webServer Gateway Interface) web application framework and doesn’t have features like template engine, routing, and more. The framework is based on WSGI and the Jinja2 template engine. Some of the notable features of flask include:
Django is also a python based web framework that uses the MTV (Model Template View) architectural pattern. It is an open-source framework developed by Adrian Holovaty and Simon Willison in 2005. The top features of Django include:
Read our article on – Python Basics: Functions and Variable Scopes
We have seen the three frameworks separately and let’s compare them with each other now.
All three frameworks are effective for developing web applications as all the three are python based web frameworks. However, choosing the right one for you is in your hand. If you are looking to develop a full-stack website with high performance and functionalities, you can opt for Django. If you are aiming on developing a prototype for a web application and APIs or someone interested in machine learning, then Flask is ideal for you. FastAPI is suitable for someone who wants to focus on speed and scalability. Otherwise, all the three are good and suit you according to your requirements.
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Python helps in doing a number of things nowadays. Likewise, it establishes its importance in web scrapping. Web scrapping deals with extracting data from the web, manipulating and cleaning the data. This article will help you in learning about Web scrapping and how it is done using Python libraries.
What is Web Scraping?
An automated method that extracts an enormous amount of data from websites called Web Scraping. The data available on the websites are usually in the form of unstructured data. The web scraping method collects them and stores them as structured data. There are many ways to perform web scraping. One of the most popular ways is by using Python.
Read our article on Fast API vs Flask vs Django
Why Web Scraping?
We have seen that collecting a large amount of data from websites is called web scraping. However, why do we have to collect them? What is the purpose of web scraping? Let’s answer these questions below. Here are some of the applications of web scraping:
Is Python Good for Web Scraping?
Among all, Python is good for scraping websites to collect an enormous amount of data. Here are the reasons below.
Read our article on Python Basics: Datatypes
Steps used in Web Scraping:
Developing the code for performing web scraping depends on your style. However, the process while executing the code remains the same for all. Once you run your code, the URL of the website you wanted to scrap receives a request. As a response to it, the server sends back the data and lets you read the website’s HTML or XML code. The HTML code then gets parsed and you can find the data and extract it. Extracting the website’s data involves the following steps:
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Django is an open-source, fully-featured Python-based framework initially released on 21 July 2005 by Django Software Foundation. This framework helps in building complex web apps by following MTV (Model Template Views) architectural patterns. Django primarily focuses on developing complex websites, also ensuring certain features such as reusability, pluggability, less code, less coupling, quicker development, and more. Django also provides an effective interface that allows users to manage admin controls such as create, read, delete and update. Some of the popular sites that utilize the Django framework are Instagram, The Washington Times, Disqus, Nextdoor, PBS (Public Broadcasting Service), Bitbucket, and Mozilla.
In an era where frameworks are abundantly available for web and app development, why does Django stand as an effective choice among the others? There are plenty of answers to this question. Let’s see some of them below.
Django is written in Python, which is a user-friendly and most-readable programmable language that makes it more suitable for web development. Django stands first because of the outstanding features it provides. While developing a website in Django, you don’t need to seek help from external packages or libraries, as working with Django syntax is seamless and makes you feel like using a single framework. Want to add some more features to enhance your website? Of course, you can use a variety of external libraries in Django.
Django’s in-depth documentation provides clear and detailed documentation about every feature of Django with great examples and tutorials.
Got stuck in the middle of your website development? Django provides an excellent community of developers for this, to whom you can ask for help either by document checking or by asking them.
Django Website’s Structure
A single project in Django will be divided into separate apps. Each app on the project manages separate functions of the website. Let’s say, if you are building a social app, it will consist of v