Applications Programming Interfaces (APIs) are the connecting blocks that enforce efficient communication and sharing of data between different applications. This communication takes place through an API portal, which acts as the intermediary between the client (the client is the application, such as the browser) and the server.
When a person is using a browser (the client) on their device to access a certain application, they send a request to the server. From the client, the request first goes through the API portal, which translates it then routes it to the right resource(s) in the server. The resource(s) then issues a response, which again goes through the API portal. The portal then directs the response to the original client that had sent the request.
All this is powered by APIs and operates through the client-server architecture. This architecture can be defined as an application structure that is distributed whose responsibility is to partition workloads and tasks between the requesters of service (the client) and the providers of a service or a resource (the servers).
Client-Server Communication in APIs
The client-server architecture is very vital in making sure that APIs perform their functions without any issues. Organizations need to understand the tasks performed by the client and set up their servers in ways that address the needs of the clients. To ensure efficient client-server communication, businesses need to understand a number of things. These include;
- Identifying the users making requests.
- Improving Performance with Caching.
- Preventing resource inconsistencies with optimistic locking of HTTP.
Identifying the Users Making Requests
For efficient client-server communication, organizations need to identify the users sending requests using their APIs. This is done through authentication. There are several methods of implementing authentication in APIs, among them OAuth, JSON Web Token, Basic Authentication, and Token Authentication.
These are proven and globally accepted methods of authentication that should use with APIs. It means that for efficient client-server communication, organizations should not build their own authentication methods when building their APIs.
Improving Performance with Caching
Caching is the process through which applications store copies of a file in a storage location that is usually temporary, referred to as the cache, to make them easily and quickly accessible. This means that when a client makes a request, and what need is already available in the cache, the server does not have to process this request.
However, this happens only if there are no changes in the resource. A response with the latest copy of the required information in the cache send to the client. The security of data in the server implements at the protocol level. This makes caching portable and generic when it comes to HTTP. This means that organizations need to implement proper caching techniques to ensure efficient client-server communication.
Optimistic Locking of HTTP
Imagine a situation where two users are sharing login details to an application through which they can update the location of their car. Now, these people want to update their current location and that of their destination. They both sign into the application and choose different locations, depending on where they are and where they are going. The first user updates the account and clicks on the update button. However, before they can get a response on the update, the other user updates as well. What do you think happens?
In such a situation, both the users will assume that the application update with their details. On the contrary, the last user to hit the update button will have their details updated. Here, this user will be updating a resource that is not available. To avoid such issues and ensure efficient client-server communication, developers need to implement optimistic locking of HTTP which returns an error instead of lying to the users.
APIs Have Changed Business Operations
APIs have streamlined business operations and made things easy for them. For example, businesses are using technology and APIs in particular to streamline their PR operations. However, there is so much that happens in the background.
Organizations need to make sure that they have invested in the right resources when building APIs, and follow the accepted regulations to make sure that their APIs are easy to use and meet all the requirements of their consumers. Following the guidelines discussed above will ensure that they have efficient client-server communication in their APIs.