by Spencer Nguyen • March 25, 2022
There are various types of API calls. Different protocols and interfaces are available to designers who want applications to ‘talk’ to each other. In this guide, learn about the different types of API calls and how DreamFactory can improve API management in your organization.
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API protocols determine a set of rules for different types of API calls. Here are four protocols you need to know about:
REST, which stands for Representational State Transfer, defines what an API looks like. REST APIs have a client-server architecture, where its interface is separate from its backend and data storage, enabling different API components to act independently of each other. A REST API should also have a ‘layered system,’ which enables an API to operate when communicating with a server or through an intermediary like a load balancer. There are other requisites for REST APIs. These types of API calls should have ‘statelessness,’ which means there is no client context stored between requests on a server. A REST API also needs to state whether it can cache responses. REST APIs use different messaging formats such as JSON, XML, HTML, and plain text.
DreamFactory provides you with a comprehensive REST API for SQL databases. You can automatically generate REST endpoints for schema, functions, data, stored procedures, and API parameters for sorting, aggregation, rollback, pagination, and more. Discover DreamFactory.
XML-RPC is a type of remote procedural call protocol (RPC) that uses XML to encode information from calls. It doesn’t transfer data like REST protocols but instead executes scripts on a server.
JSON-RPC is another type of RPC. Similar to XML-RPC, JSON-RPC executes scripts on a server.
Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) is a protocol that builds APIs and transfers data across networks. Standardized by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), it also uses XML to encode information. SOAP works with various communication protocols such as TCP, SMTP, and HTTP but also operates independently, allowing you to use it with any programming language. Although REST and SOAP are different standards, you can create a RESTful API with SOAP protocols.
DreamFactory can convert SOAP to REST through a single API response. It does this by automatically converting a JSON request into SOAP, calling the legacy SOAP service, and converting the SOAP response back to JSON for the client application. Learn more about this DreamFactory feature.
In addition to the above protocols, you can choose from the following interfaces when building APIs.
Web APIs are the main types of API calls. Using the HTTP protocol, web APIs define different endpoints and response and request formats. There are four types of web APIs:
Open APIs are ‘open’ to developers because they often don’t require registration or an API key. Used by developers to access services and information, they encourage data sharing between organizations. Several companies might use an open API to include data on their websites, for example.
DreamFactory lets you add business logic to APIs so you can fulfill business requirements. You can use custom logic with four scripting engines — Python, PHP, NodeJS, and V8JS — to validate input parameters, call other APIs, and respond to client requirements.
Internal APIs provide data within specific companies. Using the latest security and access control features, internal APIs restrict data access to anyone outside these companies. An example of an internal API might be one that shares sales data with different departments within an organization. Only approved users can access the API.
Partner APIs are like open APIs but may restrict access to data through a third-party API gateway. An example of a partner API is the one developed by Neilson Media Research, which provides the latest TV ratings from U.S broadcast networks. Individual networks and media publishers can pay for access to the API and receive data.
Securing APIs can be difficult and laborious. DreamFactory provides a solution with security features such as JSON Web Tokens (JWT) SSO authentication, user management, role-based access controls, and permissions for OAuth, SAML, Active Directory, and more.
Composite APIs let developers accumulate calls and requests. These types of API calls rely on one response from different servers, allowing developers to generate data from multiple services simultaneously. Typically found in microservice architectures, composite APIs can boost application performance, reduce complexity, make systems faster, and decrease server load.
Developers can use various types of API calls to facilitate different functions. The range of API protocols and interfaces available to these developers improve flexibility and lead to more successful data integration outcomes.
DreamFactory is the API management platform that provides your business with ongoing value. Easy to deploy with Docker, Kubernetes, or from GitHub, you can run it on public, private, or hybrid cloud infrastructure and improve automation and the user experience. Transform the way you manage your data portfolio, modernize legacy applications, deal with web applications, handle API security, improve API testing, and create and deploy no-code APIs. Start your free DreamFactory trial now!
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