What is an API Request?
If you specialize in apps or software development, you must have come across the term API. This is the short form for Application Programming Interface, and it technically refers to a robust set of procedures, tools, and protocols that permit the interaction between web applications. It is an intermediary that delivers a client’s request to the server and then returns a response to the client.
APIs help software developers to streamline and shorten the application building process by eliminating frequently repeated program development processes. In short, they help you not to keep reinventing the wheel every time you are using the same procedure to build applications. With APIs, developers can omit some of the simple programming steps, and thus save time and increase productivity. However, for programmers to use APIs, they must know how to make API requests.
What is API Request?
Since APIs have become part and parcel of our daily life, they are involved in almost everything we do on the world wide web. An API request occurs when a developer adds an endpoint to a URL and makes a call to the server. Before we confuse you with more phrases, let’s try to explain what an API endpoint is.
What is an API Endpoint?
An API endpoint refers to the touchpoints of interaction between an API and another system. An endpoint provides the location where an API accesses the resources they need. An API works by requesting information from a server and then receiving a response after that. The communication channel that APIs use to send a request and specify where a given resource resides is what is known as an endpoint. It plays an integral role in defining exactly where resources can be accessed and guarantee the proper functioning of any software that interacts with it.
Now that we know what an endpoint is, we can understand why an API request occurs when an endpoint is added to the URL, and a call made to the server. If you are still not getting this concept, think of the times you have logged on to a website or application. For instance, when you download the Facebook app, you are required to fill in some vital information such as the email and password. When you decide to hit the enter button after adding this information, you’ll be making an API request.
Whenever you make a call to a server using an API, this counts as an API request. Some of the operations that are considered to be API requests include logins, queries, and saves, among others. The moment you add an endpoint to a URL or register for an app or website and hit the enter button, you will be making an API request.
How to perform your first API request using RapidAPI
Considering the soaring popularity of APIs, many companies are offering them as a service. RapidAPI is a perfect example of a platform where you can find your ideal APIs, test, and connect to them. Here is how to perform your first Rapid API request on RapidAPI.
The first thing you need to do is to search for the API you need. This is achieved by typing the name or type of API you are looking for in the search box. For example, if you want an SMS API, you can type “SMS” in the search bar. Then you can go ahead and pick the ideal SMS API based on its average latency, the popularity score, and success rate.
Once you click on the API of your choice, it will direct you to the endpoint page, where you’ll be required to select an endpoint. After getting the right endpoint, you need to fill the parameter section and hit the test button to see what results will be displayed. This will be your first API request with RapidAPI. If you feel that the API is the right one for you, go ahead and integrate the test results with the application by selecting your programming language and then copying the code.
However, you need to make sure that you determine whether the API is free or you need a subscription to use it. Most come with a basic plan that allows you to test the API for free.
How do you save data from API requests?
When working with APIs, sometimes, you may want to save the API request data for later use. But how do you do it?
The first thing should be to make your request and transform the response data to a format you can work with efficiently, such as JSON OR XML. Then populate a model instance with the required data and save it your datastore.