An API, acronym for Application Programming Interface, is a set of lines of code and specifications for two applications to communicate with each other.
In other words, they serve as an interface between different programs. For example, they allow communication between an operating system and the programs or applications that we want to run on it.
The value of the APIs lies in the fact that they allow to implement or make use of functionalities that already exist and that work correctly in a program, without the need to re-program them from scratch.
This is possible because the APIs securely reveal a part of the source code of the application, in order to share the data. Then, applications can talk to each other. This is even more relevant in the case of open source applications, so that quickly and simply, through the API, third parties can access the lines of code on which they want to work, without needing to decipher all the written lines. Needless to say, about open source operating systems, which suppose numbers of lines of code that it would not be feasible to analyze.
For example, Barbara Software API allows all communications between the device and the rest of Barbara ecosystem to be performed. In this way, the devices are connected and communicate with the certificate server, the backend, the frontend, etc. This is what Barbara Panel uses to manage the entire lifecycle of the devices running Barbara OS. In addition, this API can be used by third-party applications that want to do this same operation directly, without using the “dashboard” of Barbara Panel.
Today, the so-called API REST are of special relevance. This type of API allows you to use this interface through HTTP calls, to obtain data or indicate the execution of operations on the data, in any format (JSON, XML,…). This greatly simplifies the use of it. Barbara API is of this type.
The development and management of APIs are crucial in the world of the Internet of Things. It is a complex market in which there are many different agents and each one is responsible for a specific part of the value chain. Thanks to the APIs, each one of these blocks can be easily integrated. Take, for example, the case of service integrators. They receive an order for the realization of a project that includes:
- the deployment of devices and sensors (“things”),
- the implementation of the software that will run on these devices,
- the capture of the data,
- the upload of the data to the cloud or to an edge server,
- the visualization of this data collected,
- the analysis of the data to turn them into insights for the company.
Each of these phases of the project will surely include different suppliers, with their own specific characteristics. The point of interaction between each of these parts will be the APIs, which will put the devices in contact with the network, the gateways, servers, etc. In this way, it will be possible to build new integrated solutions on the services offered by this service provider.
This ultimately makes the IoT world develop, and the number of solutions in the market becomes innumerable. There is the real importance of the APIs: they allow generating new opportunities thanks to the integration between suppliers.
Therefore, the APIs are a great source of technological development, and practically all the tech giants count on them so that applications can be built on the most recognized web programs or services (see the case of Google Maps, Twitter, etc).
But in addition, they are also useful in the field of cybersecurity. Some APIs can limit the number of “user requests” from one application to another. In this way, the API would be protecting the system from possible DDoS attacks (attacks that perform multiple user requests in a row, in order to access the devices).
In summary, the APIs are facilitators in the field of the IoT and allow to develop projects in a simple and secure way. Without them, the development of the IoT would be much slower and opportunities would be cut. Therefore, if you are thinking about creating an IoT project in your company, do not forget to implement an “API management” system, which will be very necessary and relevant for that project.
Article written by Cristina Marcos, Marketing Manager at Barbara IoT.
If you like this post and want to receive similar content subscribe to our Newsletter.