Tools used to create powerful and effective web applications are getting enhanced with every passing year. Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML), the basic markup language of the Internet, is continuing its work to improve the use of multimedia and keep things as easy as possible for humans and machines alike. However, the thing that has made the fifth version of this markup language, HTML5, so much cooler than what it had been before is the introduction of new Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) – a set of rules and protocols used to develop software applications.
What is an API?
In simple terms, API allows one software use the functionality of another. API is not a software-to-user interface, but a software-to-software one. An API, a list of specific programming instructions, is used to access Web-based applications. For instance, a flight-booking site uses its API when you enter your credit card information. The site sends the card number to a remote application in order to verify the accuracy of the information. If the information is correct, the remote application confirms the payment and sends back a report to the site saying it’s okay to issue you the tickets.
API closely resembles the Software as a Service (SaaS) distribution model. Anyone interested in leveraging the social nature of the Web must rely on interoperability. APIs efficiently share data and processes for use and re-use, and the information structure can help others build around the existing model. For example, the API of Amazon helps other developers to design products that are powered by the company’s service.
The New and Exciting APIs in HTML5
The Geolocation API allows a user to provide web applications the scripted access to the present geographical location of the hosting device. It can help users with turn-by-turn navigation (GPS) and find points-of-interest near the user’s location.
HTML Local Storage
The Local Storage API allows web applications to access a user’s browser and store data locally. This doesn’t affect the speed or functionality of a website running on that specific browser. Moreover, the size limit is much larger than cookies, too.
HTML Web Workers
The Web Workers API allows web applications to execute scripts running parallel to the user interface (UI) page by spawning background workers. Without having to wait for a responsive page to finish the script, users can continue doing whatever they want.
HTML Application Cache
The Application Cache API allows devices to cache a web application and access it without an Internet connection. This helps cached resources to load alongside the browser, thus reducing the server load by downloading only updated resources.
The Server-Sent Events (SSE) API allows web pages get automatic updates from the server. This functionality was available earlier, but web pages had to check for any available update manually. With SSE API, the updates come automatically.
These new HTML APIs have started changing the landscape of the Web considerably. We can surely expect more exciting introductions in future that will change the way we look into the Web, forever.
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