Joly Christophe

Developer Front-end

What is an API and an API key?2 min read

In the crypto world we are often asked for an API key, in order to be able to drive a program from another program.

What is an API?

An API stands for Application Programming Interface.

This term comes from development, it designates a program that will allow the exchange of data with another program, the interest of using APIs is that it allows to decorate the programs, which makes it possible to run applications together written in different languages, these programs can run on different servers.

What is an API key?

Most APIs require API key. This key allows the API to identify you as a user with the necessary rights to use the available functionality of the API. It is often said that an API is used to expose data.

Important

An API key should always be kept secret just like an authentication password. It is very important to be aware that by connecting a program to another one can create a security breach, it is therefore necessary to have a strong confidence in the program which will drive the API.

Architectures

  • SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) : This architecture is a protocol in itself, it lacks flexibility, when you modify a SOAP API you also have to modify the program that connects it. It is for this reason that this architecture is gradually disappearing. The exchange language is XML.
  • REST (Representational State Transfer) : Unlike the SOAP protocol, the REST architecture is very flexible, which makes it the most widely used architecture today. The exchange language is JSON.

Example API:

  • Binance provides access to an API in order to be able to remotely control the exchange, to know the quantity of tokens available in a wallet and to place buy and sell orders.
  • Fortuneo uses APIs from different banks to retrieve balances and transactions in order to have an overview of all accounts.
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