7 Common API Development Terms

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When building and maintaining APIs there are a lot of different terminology that you need to be aware of. This isn’t a complete list, but it’s enough to make you dangerous. 😉

API

API stands for Application Programming Interface. An API is a technology that allows products and services to communicate.

The blog article What is An API explains what an API is in more detail.

SDK

SDK stands for software development kit. A SDK is almost like an instruction manual and set of standards that tell you how to connect to the API.

Some environments can even allow you to generate a library that can be used as a SDK.

CORS

CORS stands for Cross Origin Resource Sharing. CORS is an HTTP based approach to allowing one URL to request data from another URL.

When building applications that make requests through the frontend to an API, it can become painful to work with. For the most part, if you hear CORS assume you need to have a special header added to the remote API that says your URL is allowed to access.

Endpoint

An endpoint is a communication channel. API endpoints specify where resources live, who can access them, and how the resources are returned.

Think of it as a specific address pointing to a resource. 5 Tips for Designing RESTful API URI covers endpoint development in quite a bit more detail.

Resource

The blog article REST API – Resources covers Resources in a lot more detail.

Caching

Caching allows us to reduce the amount of time and server load by storing data in a temporary storage. Often this is done to avoid recomputing the data or re-searching the database.

The blog article 5 Tips for Better Caching in a REST API covers caching in quite a bit more detail.

Request

An API Request happens whenever a developer needs to ask a remote service or server for something through an Endpoint.

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