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Application Programming Interface (API) Services: Web API are supported by the .NET Framework and provides a unified programming model for rapidly building service-oriented applications that communicate across the web and the enterprise. These are small and highly efficient programs that are also reusable. These units employ information exchange standards to enable communication between different programs that might be written in different languages and reside on different machines and operating systems.

API Services provide a standard means of interoperating between different software applications, running on a variety of platforms and/or frameworks. Web services are characterized by their great interoperability and extensibility, as well as their machine-processable descriptions thanks to the use of XML. They can be combined in a loosely coupled way in order to achieve complex operations. Programs providing simple services can interact with each other in order to deliver sophisticated added-value services.

Technically a API Services might be described as a "self-describing software modules, semantically encapsulating discrete functionality, wrapped in and accessible via standard Internet communication protocols like XML and SOAP."

More clearly it could be described as an approach that helps the business connect with its customers, partners, and employees. They enable the business to extend existing services to new customers. They help the business work more efficiently with its partners and suppliers. They unlock information so it can flow to every employee who needs it. They reduce development time and expense for new projects. You'll hear less about what API Services are and more about what they enable the business to do.

SOAP is a lightweight protocol intended for exchanging structured information in a decentralized, distributed environment. It uses XML technologies to define an extensible messaging framework providing a message construct that can be exchanged over a variety of underlying protocols. The framework has been designed to be independent of any particular programming model and other implementation specific semantics.

Microsoft .Net Chart

The sample on the right uses a Web API Service with SOAP protocol to exchange data between two machines.

Below are some public WebAPI Services that we have designed and use from different applications (both websites and software)

Benefits of API Services

By enabling applications to share data across different hardware platforms and operating systems, API Services provide many benefits, including:

  • Opening the door to new business opportunities by making it easy to connect with partners.
  • Delivering dramatically more personal, integrated experiences to users through the new breed of smart devices—including PCs.
  • Saving time and money by cutting development time.
  • Increasing revenue streams by enabling businesses to easily make their own API Services available to others.

The modified article and illustrations are taken from Microsoft Corporation & W3C.

Sample Web API Services

Below is a good example of a simple, public Web API service. The website provides an Application Programming Interface (API) Service section that would return XML data specific to required locations around the world. Our program below contacts the API Service regularily and request weather information relative to, say, Kuwait. The XML data is then manipulated and presented on our website as is shown below:

Error: Could not load file or assembly 'System.Net.Http, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b03f5f7f11d50a3a' or one of its dependencies. The system cannot find the file specified.

Weather Forcast for Kuwait City
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