An¬†API as both a concept and realization is nothing new; software engineers have ¬†been creating and using APIs for component interaction for several decades.¬†However, the growth of the API economy has been driven by what is typically¬†described as a web API.
Web APIs are an implementation of a web service that is characterized by the¬†following conventions:
- They are typically implemented to expose an external service interface for¬†developers to write consumer applications.
- Their implementation is based on RESTful principles.
- They do not implement contract-based definitions such as SOAP and web¬†services standards to define the interface.
- They use JSON or XML to encode the payload.
It is important to understand why these conventions have arisen, because they¬†provide context for the design decisions you make when defining web APIs.
To see a real use case with APIs in action, visit¬†The Acme Freight API Journey.