Learning about APIs

For this week’s readings, we went over application programming interface, or API. I like how the video used a waiter-kitchen analogy to go over what an API was. It seems to me that API is an integral part in processing interactions and requests online. This was something I had never heard about previously, so it was interesting to understand how interactions happen between computers and devices.

Representational state transfer was discussed in the second video, and they used social media examples like Twitter and Facebook as examples. When he started going over Facebook API requests, things took a turn for the more confusing. When he introduced parameters an an example, it made a little bit more sense — how he plugged in the parameters and ended up with coordinates.

I know that there are lots of different types of possible API requests available, but I think that how they interact and are directly used within my code is kind of the things that I am having a difficult time comprehending. For myself, I have noticed that once I understand how aspects of code relate and function with one another is when I can best understand and employ the types of code myself.

In the video when he started discussing authentication requests, it made me wonder if using API requests override normal access from one user to another, even on something such as WordPress because he mentioned Twitter posts from one account to another would be possible without the authentication.

To touch on the readings specifically, we read about JSON, or JavaScript Object Notation. I understand that JavaScript-looking objects will be returned from an API request, but I not exactly sure why this is, the benefit of it and what it looks like. Routes, end points, requests and responses seem very straightforward. However, schema and controller classes in terms of web development I need some further explanations to understand.

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