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9 Types of APIs and Their Differences

As we’ve noted elsewhere on this blog, Application Programming Interfaces, or APIs, are specifications that enable software programs to share their data, services, and functionalities with other software programs. In this article, we discuss the nine most common types of APIs and their differences.

Here’s what we cover:

Learn how the 7SIGNAL API can help optimize your Wi-Fi infrastructure!


1. What Are Local APIs?

Local APIs, also known as “internal” or “in-process” APIs, refer to tools that are designed to facilitate communication and interaction between different components or services within a single application or system running on a local machine or network. They’re typically faster and more efficient than “external” or “remote” APIs, which enable communication between different applications or systems, since they don’t need to make network calls or deal with remote servers.


2. What Are Remote APIs?

As noted above, remote APIs facilitate communication between different applications, services, or systems over a network, and typically rely on network calls conducted via the Internet to facilitate their functionalities. Remote APIs are commonly found in web apps, mobile apps, and other distributed systems that integrate with external services.


3. What Are Synchronous APIs?

Synchronous APIs, also known as “blocking” APIs, require requesting applications to wait for a response from the API before continuing with its operation. In other words, the requesting application blocks and remains idle until it receives a response from the API. Synchronous APIs are commonly used when immediate responses are required or when the API call is short.


4. What Are Asynchronous APIs?

On the flip side, an asynchronous API, or “non-blocking” API, is one that allows the requesting application to continue its operations without waiting for a response from the API. In other words, the requesting application can initiate a request to the API and then proceed with other tasks while waiting for the API response. Asynchronous APIs are commonly used when longer processing times are expected or when the API call may take some time to complete.


5. What Are REST APIs (Representational State Transfer)?

REST APIs use HTTP requests to access and manipulate data. REST APIs are commonly used in web development to expose data and functionality to other applications and services. They rely on a standard set of HTTP methods, such as GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE, to perform operations on resources.


6. What Are SOAP APIs (Simple Object Access Protocol)?

SOAP APIs use XML-based messaging protocols to exchange structured information between applications over a network. SOAP is a messaging protocol that defines rules for encoding messages, specifying message structure, and facilitating communication between different systems. SOAP APIs are commonly used in enterprise software development, where reliability and security are paramount.


7. What Are GraphQL APIs?

GraphQL is a query language and runtime for APIs that was built by Meta (née Facebook). Commonly used in web development to provide more flexibility and efficiency in data retrieval, GraphQL enables developers to request only the data they need and combine data from multiple sources into a single response.


8. What Are Real-Time APIs?

Real-time APIs, also known as real-time communication APIs, enable applications to establish and maintain a persistent, bidirectional connection between a client and a server. This facilitates real-time data exchange and communication. Commonly used in contexts where low latency is critical (like chat apps, games, financial services, etc.), these APIs enable instantaneous updates and push notifications to be delivered to connected clients, creating interactive and responsive user experiences.


9. What Are RPC APIs (Remote Procedure Call)?

RPC APIs are a mechanism for communication between different applications or systems, allowing them to invoke procedures or functions on remote systems as if they were local calls. Typically, RPC APIs are used in distributed systems, where different services need to communicate with one another to perform specific tasks. They enable distributed computing by abstracting the complexities of remote communication and presenting a simple and familiar programming model.


Get Started With the 7SIGNAL API

At 7SIGNAL, we offer a number of enterprise Wi-Fi optimization solutions that help you build healthier wireless networks. With the 7SIGNAL API, you can integrate device and WLAN metadata collected via the 7SIGNAL platform into the software tools that you use on a daily basis. You’ll be able to sync relevant data, set Wi-Fi performance alarms, configure flexible workflows, and more. 

To learn how the 7SIGNAL API can help you optimize your Wi-Fi network, read the article:

7SIGNAL® is the leader in enterprise Wi-Fi optimization, providing insight into wireless networks and control over Wi-Fi performance so businesses and organizations can thrive. Our cloud-based platform continually tests and measures Wi-Fi performance at the edges of the network, enabling fast solutions to digital experience issues and stronger connections for mission-critical users, devices, and applications. Learn more at www.7signal.com.