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What is an API?

An API allows two computer programs to communicate over the internet.

Fed up of copy and pasting between different systems? APIs can help.

Want to pull out the data from one website and do some cool stuff with it? APIs are great.

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What is a browser?

An app that allows you to browse around the Internet using links.

Mozilla, Google, Microsoft and Apple make this software for free.

Company Browser
Apple Safari
Google Chrome
Microsoft Internet Explorer
Mozilla Firefox

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What is a domain?

A domain is the part of the URL that's often advertised.

If a URL is a postal address, the domain is the town. They split the internet up into general areas.

Usually a single web server handles a single domain.

Also known as host or domain name.

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What is a path?

The path comes after the domain and often contains many slashes.

If a URL is a postal address, the path is the street and house number.

It's the specific area of the domain that we want to go to.

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What is REST?

A structured set of rules for how a web app or API works.

The rules are based around:

  1. Resources - nouns - photos, friends, invoices.
  2. Actions - verbs - create, list, show, update, delete.

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What is SOAP?

Like REST, it's a structured set of rules for how an API works.

It's pretty much dead nowadays - no-one except the criminally insane would choose this for a new API.

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What is a URL?

It's the text in the bar at the top of your browser.

Every web page, image or resource of any kind on the Internet has a URL.

It's like a postal address - it's the unique location of something on the Internet.

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What is XML? What is JSON?

A way of formatting data for use with APIs.

There are two common ways of doing this: JSON or XML.

George Clooney in JSON

{
  "name": "George Timothy Clooney",
  "birthday": "May 6, 1961",
  "age": 54,
  "birthPlace": "Lexington, Kentucky, U.S."
}

George Clooney in XML

<celebrity>
  <name>George Timothy Clooney</name>
  <birthday>May 6, 1961</birthday>
  <age>54</age>
  <birthPlace>Lexington, Kentucky, U.S.</birthPlace>
</celebrity>

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