What is API definition?
API definition specifies the methods, protocols, and data formats used to communicate between an API and web server in machine-readable files.
In other words, APIs are only useful once they’re defined. API definition is important because APIs can serve different purposes, such as retrieving data, performing actions, integrating with external services, or accessing specific functionalities of a software system. For example, there are mobile chat APIs (Sendbird), payment APIs (Stripe), or email APIs (Sendgrid).
When created, the Sendbird Chat API was defined to allow developers to embed chat capabilities into a mobile app. It was further defined to support certain features and achieve key business outcomes. The result is that Sendbird’s chat API integrates customer data from other APIs, retrieves that data to enable personalized messaging, and adds feature-rich chat functionality to apps.
API definitions are written to be consumed by computers, not humans. In this way, they differ from API documentation, which is like an API reference manual for developers, and API specification, which serves as a blueprint for building the API. Unlike the API documentation and specifications used by human developers, the API definition helps other computers to understand how the API functions, how it connects to other APIs, and the expected results.
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