An application Programming Interface (API) is simply defined as a special gateway through which software applications communicate.
Think of it as a side door that leads to the kitchen, therefore, whether you enter the kitchen from the main door or side door, you will have access to the pot of soup.
Technically, these APIs consist of a set of rules, routines, and tools that when embedded in other software enables the systems to perform similar functions as well as exchange data where necessary.
APIs are used for the development of various applications, both web-based and mobile applications. It improves the development process as the developer has to only focus on the distinguishing feature of the current application while using APIs to complement the common features.
There are various forms of APIs, Hardware APIs, Web APIs, Library APIs, and Blockchain APIs among others.
Blockchain APIs are APIs that work specifically on blockchain platforms. It facilitates interactions, between blockchain networks, this way developing blockchain applications based on those networks is easier as developers get to focus mainly on the core features of the application.
These can also be used in various contexts as long as it is operated on blockchain technology, some APIs enable cryptocurrency exchanges, supply chain management systems, digital asset management, and so many other functions.
Blockchain APIs are very important in the development of blockchain platforms and applications, however, before it is embedded in an application there are measures to take to ensure that best practices are followed.
A thorough understanding of the functionalities, limitations, and other abilities or shortcomings of\ the API is strongly advised.
This information should be reviewed properly before being used in the development of an application.
Also, ensure that standard protocols are used as this simplifies the development as well as the
Examples of protocols commonly used are REST and JSON-RPC, these protocols make integration into other applications and platforms easier.
APIs can be quite slow and resource-intensive, it is advisable to therefore minimize latency and reduce the server load by optimizing API calls. Caching, batching, requests, and data transfer optimization are ways to improve API calls.
Furthermore, security measures such as authentication, encryption, access control, and other necessary functions should be implemented during the integration of these APIs as they provide access to sensitive data, to ensure that data breaches do not occur.
In addition to all these best practices, monitoring the API to ensure that it functions effectively and that there are no threats or security concerns is paramount. Different monitoring tools can be used to monitor API usage, one of which is implementing logging and analytics features in the API.
Just like other APIs, there are various types of blockchain APIs that developers can use and they include, node APIs, data APIs, identity APIs, smart contracts APIs, wallet APIs, and exchange APIs among others.
The choice of API to use is based on the function the developer wants it to perform in the application, and during selection compatibility, scalability, documentation, and developer support should be put into consideration.
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