JavaScript

What is Web API: Explained for Beginners

As the name implies, Web API is a web-based API that you can access with the help of HTTP protocol. Web API is a concept, not a technological solution. You can create Web APIs with various technologies, including .NET Java. For instance, the Twitter APIs permit us to read and publish data programmatically, enabling us to integrate the features of Twitter in our own application.

This write-up will discuss APIs, Client-side APIs, Browser APIs, and Third-party APIs. We have will also provide a list of common browser APIs and examples for demonstrating the usage of the Browser APIs in JavaScript code. So, let’s start!

What are APIs

API or Application Programming Interfaces are the structures included in most programming languages, making it easier for the developers to handle complex functions. They are utilized for replacing the complex code with a simpler syntax.

Consider the electricity supply in your apartment or home as an example. If you want to use any electric appliance, you will plug it into the socket present on a wall. However, you will not connect its wires directly into the power source because that would be inefficient and dangerous if you are not an electrician.

Similarly, rather than writing low-level code that has direct control over the GPU of the computer of other graphical functions, it is much easier to use an API written in a higher-level language for programming certain 3D graphics.

Client-Side APIs in JavaScript

Several APIs are available for the client-side in JavaScript, and these APIs are not built into the JavaScript language itself instead of on top of it. We can say that APIs offer superpowers that you can utilize in your JavaScript code. Client-Side APIs are divided into two groups: Third-Party APIs and Browser APIs.

Browser APIs in JavaScript

A collection of built-in Web APIs called Browser APIs are embedded in modern browsers to support performing complex operations and assisting in accessing data. For instance, you can use the “Web Audio API” to control the audio in the browser, such as changing the volume level and applying effects to an audio track. Your browser will perform the audio processing in the background using lower-level programming languages such as Rust or C++.

Third-party APIs in JavaScript

By Default, third-party APIs are not included in browsers, so you will have to find their code and related information from the Internet. For instance, the Twitter API permits you to view the most recent tweets, and it also offers a unique set of constructs for querying the Twitter service and retrieving the specific data.

Example: Using Browser APIs in JavaScript

In our JavaScript program, we will use the “GeoLocation” Browser API for getting the longitude and latitude of browser location:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<body>
<h2>Geolocation Browser APIs in JavaScript</h2>
<p>Click on the following button to view coordinates values.</p>
<button onclick="getLocation()">Click me</button>
<p id="p1"></p>
<script>
const a = document.getElementById("p1");
function getLocation() {
    try {
        navigator.geolocation.getCurrentPosition(showPosition);
    } catch {
        a.innerHTML = err;
    }
}

function showPosition(position) {
    a.innerHTML = "Latitude: " + position.coords.latitude +
    "<br>Longitude: " + position.coords.longitude;
}
</script>
</body>
</html>

List of common Browser APIs

Now, check out the below-given list of some common browser APIs:

  • DOM API: The Document Object Model API is utilized for manipulating documents.
  • XMLHttpRequest and Fetch APIs: Both of these APIs are utilized for retrieving data from the server.
  • WebGL and Canvas APIs: These Browsers APIs are utilized for manipulating and drawing graphics.
  • HTMLMediaElement, WebRTC, and Web Audio APIs: These Browsers APIs are utilized for creating custom user interfaces for the Audios and Videos.
  • Web Storage API: The Web Storage API is utilized for storing and retrieving data into the browser.

Conclusion

A Web API is defined as a web-based application programming interface that can be accessed with the help of the HTTP protocol. Web APIs can extend the browser’s capability and substantially simplify complex functions, making complex codes easier to understand. This write-up discussed APIs, Client-side APIs, Browser APIs, and Third-party APIs. We have also provided a list of common browser APIs and examples for demonstrating the usage of the Browser APIs in JavaScript code.

About the author

Sharqa Hameed

I am a Linux enthusiast, I love to read Every Linux blog on the internet. I hold masters degree in computer science and am passionate about learning and teaching.