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API Questions-Getting Started

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posted on Apr, 16 2016 @ 01:05 PM
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So i have been working with HTML and CSS for a couple years now and I think I'm ready to move on to the next big thing. Front end design is not so hard for me but I'm lost when it comes to BACK-ENDS. So a few question if you will.

1. An API is a system of calls to request resources from the server?

2. If so, does it use a flat file style of database or can it exchange data with MYSQL?

3. Should i learn an API framework first or should i learn it from the ground up and make my own?

I learned HTML from seeing complete sites source code and noticing how it all went together in Firefox Development Tools Console. Maybe someone can show me a complete APIthat i can put requests in javascipt. I want to see how it all comes together, im not that firmillar with post get .

Is anyone have any experience with REST API? Would this be a good starting point?


I was hoping maybe some of you can steer me in the right direction with this.




posted on Apr, 16 2016 @ 02:28 PM
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a reply to: shaneslaughta

Not familiar with API, my knowledge is limited to HTML, CSS and JavaScript. But isn't PHP a server-side script?

Additionally, wouldn't JSon be able to perform server resources requests?

S+F, I can't wait to see what API specialists reply.


edit on 16-4-2016 by swanne because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 16 2016 @ 03:45 PM
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originally posted by: shaneslaughta
So i have been working with HTML and CSS for a couple years now and I think I'm ready to move on to the next big thing. Front end design is not so hard for me but I'm lost when it comes to BACK-ENDS. So a few question if you will.

1. An API is a system of calls to request resources from the server?

2. If so, does it use a flat file style of database or can it exchange data with MYSQL?

3. Should i learn an API framework first or should i learn it from the ground up and make my own?

I learned HTML from seeing complete sites source code and noticing how it all went together in Firefox Development Tools Console. Maybe someone can show me a complete APIthat i can put requests in javascipt. I want to see how it all comes together, im not that firmillar with post get .

Is anyone have any experience with REST API? Would this be a good starting point?


I was hoping maybe some of you can steer me in the right direction with this.


First off, you have a couple of misconceptions about what exactly an API is and isn't. The term API stands for Application Programming Interface. It is a fancy term given to an abstraction layer that conveniently sits between you, the developer, and an external system or service you wish to pull data from and manipulate in your own applications.

1. You are correct in assuming that it is a 'system of calls' that request a resource from... somewhere.
2. This is an implementation detail and one of the beauties of modern system design. The API encapsulates away the details about HOW it retrieves and returns the data you ask it for, all you need to be aware of is the structure of the data it returns (which can vary, but is commonly represented as a JSON object or a body of HTML).
3. Here is one of your biggest misunderstandings. The API itself that you're calling is essentially a 'framework' that you use to implement functionality into your application. You tell an external API what data you want and it provides it.

Here's a good resource that explains the basics of RESTful approches to API calls, along with giving examples.

What exactly is RESTful programming?



posted on Apr, 16 2016 @ 06:46 PM
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Thanks for the clarified action. Can you recomend what I need to get started? I really don't know much about JavaScript Json. Like I said I'm new to this and have no idea where to start with this. I can't get too in detal with my needs here. I'm on a tiny phone and can't type well :p



posted on Apr, 16 2016 @ 08:07 PM
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a reply to: shaneslaughta

If you know what API you're trying to retrieve data from then you simply look up their documentation and they'll give you the structure of how to call the API.

Take Twitch.tv's API for example. You can perform a simple request on the API without even executing any code! Simply type this into your browser's address bar: api.twitch.tv...

This will bring up the response from that API call in a plaintext format. You'll be able to see all the different properties returned in the data such as "mature", "status", "broadcaster_language", etc. These properties will differ according to whose API you're using and what API calls you make. If you called that URL through Javascript you would get the same data back but you could parse through it programmatically and fill in some text fields, or save some of the information into your own database, or anything you can imagine doing really.

Check out the readme on Twitch's github and you can get a better idea of how an API is used: Twitch.tv API Github



posted on Apr, 18 2016 @ 09:57 AM
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a reply to: LiveLetLive

Ok I think I understand. So is the API just a system for calling resources on the system. lets say we make a post for API/users....the server should return a user list?

I am not so much interested in using third party content but rather I want to build a CDN for my network of sites.

I think maybe I have skipped a few steps along the way up the development food chain.

What would I need to learn and what resources would I also need to complete such an undertaking? I would love to finish school for this but my funding and lack of time has got me at a stand still. So I'm self teaching my way though this.



posted on Apr, 18 2016 @ 02:43 PM
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a reply to: shaneslaughta

The question you need to be asking yourself is "What functionality would I like to represent with my system?".

From what you've told me you have a network of sites. Apparently these sites share a common functionality that you would like to distribute to them through some sort of privatized API that each site accesses through your own personal servers. Unfortunately this is much more advanced than just querying an established third party API. You're looking at designing, hosting, and implementing your own API. This is no easy undertaking, especially when you haven't had any prior experience with even making an API call in an application.

To be blunt, I don't believe this is within the realm of possibility for your current skill set and I can't simply give you a resource to go from because what you're asking for is not a subsection of a chapter of a book, you're asking for the entire book to be explained in a paragraph, and It's not really feasible to do so. There are many intricacies in executing the task you're envisioning. My recommendation is to start as small as possible and incrementally build a working knowledge of the technologies you need.

If you're not familiar with Javascript, or PHP, or Ruby, or whatever language you're wanting to work with to perform server side logic, then begin by familiarizing yourself with that language. After that move on to manipulating HTTP requests and responses within your language of choice. Then begin studying API structures and design. Then you should have some sort of knowledge base that can help you get a basic model working with the functionality you require. From here you should be able to ask more concrete questions and research the information you need.

If you have any specific questions I'd be more than happy to help you find the necessary information but it's improbable that I can provide an adequate answer to such broad topics since I have no insight into your project, what you've already accomplished, and how you've implemented your ideas.







 
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