Glossary

Networked APIs

  • Application Programming Interfaces that operate across a network of computers. They communicate using network protocols including HTTP, and are frequently produced by different organizations than the ones that consume them.

Google APIs

  • Networked APIs exposed by Google services. Most of them are hosted on googleapis.com domain. It does not include other types of APIs, such as client libraries and SDKs.

API Interface

  • A Protocol Buffers service definition. It is typically mapped to an interface in most programming languages. An API interface can be implemented by any number of API Services.

API Version

  • The version of an API interface or a group of API interfaces if they are defined together. An API version is often represented by a string, such as "v1", and presents in API requests and Protocol Buffers package names.

API Method

  • An individual operation within an API Interface. It is represented in Protocol Buffers by an rpc definition, and is typically mapped to a function in the API Interface in most programming languages.

API Request

  • A single invocation of an API Method. It is often used as the unit for billing, logging, monitoring, and rate limiting.

API Service

  • A deployed implementation of one or more API interface(s), exposed on one or more network endpoints. An API service is identified by its service name that is compatible with RFC 1035 DNS, such as calendar.googleapis.com.

API Endpoint

  • Refers to a network address that an API service uses to service the actual API requests, such as pubsub.googleapis.com and content-pubsub.googleapis.com.

API Product

  • An API Service plus related components, such as Terms of Service, documentation, client libraries, and service support, are collectively presented to customers as a product. For example, Google Calendar API. NOTE: people sometimes refer to an API Product simply as an API.

API Service Definition

  • The combination of API Interface definitions (.proto files) and API Service configurations (.yaml files) used to define an API Service.

API Consumer

  • The entity who consumes an API Service. For Google APIs, it typically is a Google project that owns the client application or the server resource.

API Producer

  • The entity produces an API Service. For Google APIs, it typically is a Google project that owns the API service.

API Backend

  • A set of servers plus related infrastructure that implements the business logic for an API Service. An individual API backend server is often called an API server.

API Frontend

  • A set of servers plus related infrastructure that provides common functionality across API Services, such as load balancing and authentication. An individual API frontend server is often called an API proxy.

    NOTE: the API frontend and the API backend may run next to each other or far away from each other. In some cases, they can be compiled into a single application binary and run inside a single process.

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