API Jargon Unveiled: Key Terms in the World of APIs

Swaroop Nadella
2 min readDec 21, 2023

Software Engineers in current day projects, need to work on APIs.

It is important to have good understanding of the different API Terminologies while working with them.

API stands for Application Programming Interface. APIs are mechanisms that enable two software components to communicate with each other using a set of definitions and protocols.

Below are 16 API Terminologies with easily understandable examples.

  1. API (Application Programming Interface): It’s like a menu for software, defining how different programs or components can interact and share information.
  2. Endpoint: Think of it as the specific address for a service or resource in the API, like a unique page on a website.
  3. Request: Imagine sending a letter asking for information. In the API world, it’s a message sent by one system to another, seeking data or an action.
  4. Response: The reply to your letter — it contains the data you requested or indicates if there was an issue.
  5. HTTP Methods: These are like verbs telling the API what action to perform. GET is for fetching data, POST for creating, PUT for updating, and DELETE for removing.
  6. Status Code: A three-digit number in the response, acting like a brief summary — 200 means “all good,” 404 says “not found,” and 500 signals an internal server hiccup.
  7. Payload: Just like the contents of your letter, it’s the actual data sent in the request or response, often in formats like JSON or XML.
  8. Authentication: It’s like showing ID at the entrance — a process confirming your identity before accessing certain API features.
  9. Authorization: Think of it as permissions; even after showing your ID, you might only have access to certain rooms or resources.
  10. Rate Limiting: Similar to how a buffet might limit your visits, this restricts the number of requests you can make to prevent overwhelming the API.
  11. Mocking: Creating a pretend scenario for testing, like a stand-in actor for a rehearsal, without involving the real API.
  12. Schema: It’s the blueprint describing how the data should look, ensuring everyone understands the structure in a shared way.
  13. REST (Representational State Transfer): An architectural style that guides API design, promoting simplicity and scalability in web services.
  14. SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol): A protocol using XML to exchange structured information, akin to a formal letter for precise communication.
  15. Webhooks: Picture a notification bell — it’s a way for an API to tell other systems about events or updates in real-time.
  16. Gateway: Imagine a traffic cop managing the flow — it’s an intermediary handling communication between different APIs or services.

Add your views and more terminologies you are aware of, in the Responses section of this article.

Swaroop Nadella
Test Automation Engineer

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Swaroop Nadella

Test Automation Engineer, 12+ years of experience. Writing about Software Testing and Automation. https://linktr.ee/swaroopnadella