What Is an API Endpoint?

An API endpoint is a location from which APIs can access the resources they need to carry out their function. They are similar to website URLs which are used to locate a particular website on the internet.

For an application to perform multiple tasks, it is not only enough for it to be equipped with only blocks of code but also integration with other applications. Integration with other applications will further enhance the features and functionalities of the application. Such software integration is possible and made easier thanks to API. Application Programming Interface or APIs is a set of protocols that allows two applications to communicate with each other. If APIs are a necessary software intermediary, then what are API endpoints?

Are the components of API that have a pivotal role in the communication between two applications?

Let’s find out.

What is an API Endpoint?

APIs are a set of protocols that specify how two applications should interact with one another. So, how do they function? The client application will send the request to the other application’s API to access some resource, and the latter delivers it. This is where API endpoints fulfil their role.

When clients request a resource, they do it via an endpoint, which effectively states that the resource is available in a specific location.

How to Test and Use an API Endpoint?

To efficiently use an API, first, you will need to design it and then test it multiple times to make sure it works seamlessly without errors and lags. Before we jump into the main topic of how to test API endpoints, let’s first get ourselves known to another pivotal concept, REST API.

REST establishes guidelines on how the web should be designed and represented. A REST API, often known as a “RESTful” API, is a form of API that adheres to these rules.

Representational State Transfer (REST) or Representational State Transfer.

This means that when a client uses a REST API to request a resource, the server returns the resource’s current state in a standardised format.

REST APIs, in other words, respond to queries for resources by returning all necessary information about the resource in a way that clients can understand. Clients can alter existing objects on the server through a REST API and even create new ones.

When we talk about web APIs, we usually refer to a form of API known as a REST API, which uses HTTP methods to tell the API what action to take. The following are the most frequent HTTP methods used in API requests:

  • GETretrieves a resource
  • POST: creates a resource
  • PUTupdates an existing resource
  • DELETE: removes a resource

Through the requests mentioned above, the client will design the endpoint rules. For example, let’s say you are creating an API that recommends YouTube videos; you can design the endpoints in a way that it only brings English language videos alone.

After customising the API to meet your requirements, you may go on to testing. You can use any API testing tool available online to efficiently test APIs in order to get the most out of them. 

API testing can be divided into three categories:

Behavioural API Testing 

Behavioural API testing guarantees that it performs as intended and responds appropriately to unexpected behaviour. It guarantees that the REST API performs as expected and responds appropriately to unpredictable behaviour. 

Contractual API Testing

Contractual API testing assures that the specification specifies exactly what has been shipped via code. This is a requirement that is in the middle of the spectrum. Contractual testing guarantees that the API definition specifies what has been actually sent via code.

Solution-oriented API Testing 

Solution-oriented API testing verifies that the API as a whole is capable of supporting the use cases for which it was created. This is the highest value, which is primarily external. Solution-oriented testing ensures that the API as a whole is capable of supporting the use cases for which it was created.

API endpoints should be evaluated regularly early on in the development process. The earlier you start, the better.

How to Find an API’s Endpoint?

To identify an API endpoint, all you have to do is dig further into the API documentation. Endpoints are sometimes presented in a simple list, each with a brief description. The documentation for more sophisticated APIs, on the other hand, can be pretty extensive.

Here are some short steps to find APIs to find their endpoints:

  • Go to View -> Developer -> Developer Tools to open Chrome’s Developer Tools. It’s Tools -> Web Developer -> Toggle Tools in Firefox. We’ll use the Network tab, so go ahead and click it.
  • After that, select the XHR filterXMLHttpRequest, or XHR, is the type of request used to retrieve XML or JSON data.
  • After that, you’ll need to devote some time to researching the specific request.
  • Then, to view the data, go to the preview tab.
  • The preview tab looks as follows:
  1. The resource name.
  2. The parameters. These are the arguments that were supplied to the API in the request.
  3. The result sets, where you’ll find the headers and row set. The headers inform you of the column order, while each item in the row set is effectively the result of a database query.
  • If the response matches what you are looking for, voila, you have found the API endpoint.
  • Now go to the Headers tab, copy the request URL, and paste it into a new browser tab to get the data you were looking for.

Conclusion 

APIs play an integral role in ensuring that interaction between the two applications goes smoothly. It is also necessary to comprehend the critical role of the endpoint in order to build and implement it. We hope you’ve better understood what an API endpoint is and why it’s essential.

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