Glossary

ProgrammableWeb's glossary of API and other technology terms and defination
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API Key

An Application Programming Interface key (API key) is a unique identifier used to initially identify a user, developer, or calling program to an API. However, its really a best practice to associate a project (rather than a human user) with the API. [DB comment: API providers will typically furnish a unique API key to a developer at the time that the developer registers a new project with the API provider]. The API key itself is typically a long string of randomized characters. Different platforms may implement and use API keys in different ways. [DB comment: Altough the term "key" suggests that it's a security mechanism for authentication, API Keys are too easily discovered by hackers and are most often used by API providers to generate usage statistics. For example, how many calls is specific application making to an API and is that volume of calls within the application's allowable quota]