What is a Video Streaming API and How to choose a Good One?

Businesses have adopted the use of videos in their various daily activities. Video calls, entertainment, and giving instructions are among the use cases for videos.

Therefore, one can only be right when they say, video streaming has become a new way of life, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thus, there is a need for businesses and developers to come up with well-designed video streaming APIs to ensure the business’s website accesses the video content.

In this post, we shall look at the video streaming API and consider it when choosing a video streaming API.

What is a video streaming API?

Before looking into the meaning of a video streaming API, let us understand what an API is. An API (Application Programming Interface) is a tool for facilitating the access of data and various features of an application or a service.

Based on the technological environment, there are varying types of APIs. In the professional broadcasting context, the APIs exist in two different types, the video streaming APIs and the player API.

video streaming API

We use the Player API for customizing and manipulating the aspects of the video player. You can use video streaming API to customize the experience of a website by integrating various programs and applications and the video content management system.

Also called live streaming API, video streaming API is essential for broadcasters who have advanced streaming needs. Through API access, you can customize the video streaming experience to reach your goals.

While an API is essential, you still need a video streaming platform that offers or allows API access. Since access to API is not a default professional broadcasting feature, you must choose a platform that supports it.

Through video streaming API, you can;

• Rename and manipulate the recorded live streams.

• Start or stop a stream

• Create a new Livestream

• Change the name and description of the live stream

• Change the privacy and monetization settings

Factors considered when choosing a video streaming API

Many businesses access the video streaming API through online streaming platforms. There are different documentation and API systems on different platforms.

As you plan to find a video streaming API, there are chances you will compare various online video platforms that have access to API instead of looking for the API itself.

This is mainly because access to video streaming API is not a standard video streaming feature. There are several things that you will need to consider before choosing an API, as discussed below.

The features

Most video streaming APIs have basic features. The difference comes from the way they customize them to achieve the objectives.

Thus, determining which best suits you depends on how each API works to meet your goals. Based on your broadcasting needs, make a list of the critical features.

Make another list of the features that you consider ideal but are not essential. With that, you can access video streaming of your choice based on the desired features.

The data formats the API uses

XML (Extensible Markup Languages) was the commonly used format in APIs in the past. Today formats like JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) are preferred in various types of APIs.

This is because JSON is simple to read, lighter on resources, and easier to write. Of all the formats, JSON is the best and the most preferred. Other APIs return data in formats like URL encoded strings.

Before you settle on the video streaming API to use, you must check if the data format it uses can integrate properly with your application.

Are the developers comfortable with the API’s data formats? A simple data format saves you time in parsing the code and interpreting the results.

Does the video streaming API use RESTful API?

REST is an acronym for representational state transfer. It is an architectural web communication style. It is a standardized approach that uses connectors, components, and data elements in a distributed hypermedia system.

YouTube video

Restful APIs are scalable, fast, simple, and above all, reliable. Although not all APIs use REST, its popularity is unmatched.

Documentation

The other factor to consider when choosing a video streaming API is documentation and how comprehensive it is. To use an API is like learning an entirely new language; you need to use formal resources.

The documentation should define and explain what the calls are and offer some examples of their usage. In ideal cases, the documentation should offer a sandboxed environment for testing. With the sandboxed environment, you can test the environment without fearing that you could mess things up.

Naming conventions

Each API uses a different naming convention for interacting and describing the discrete parts of your system. Therefore, it is critical to evaluate whether the naming conventions that a system uses make sense to you.

Before you purchase or subscribe to a video streaming API, ensure that you look at the methods and parameter names it uses. They should match the style of coding that the business uses. Thus, interpreting and writing code will be simplified.

Limits on the number of requests

Public-facing APIs are prone to cyber attacks like Distributed denial of services (DDoS) and system spamming. Because of various reasons, the servers can be overloaded by a flood of requests, which may slow down the other users. It could be a hacker trying to perform a DDoS attack or a bad code.

To prevent excessive traffic or limits, many APIs have now adopted the use of a threshold system. This system limits the number of requests to an API key or an IP address within a specified time. To a provider, such a measure makes sense. To a client, it affects the user experience.

Therefore, it is crucial that you examine if there are API limits on a platform. If your application fits underneath that headroom, you can subscribe. If not, go on looking for an exception.

Other things to consider before investing in a video streaming API include: if the API has a dedicated support system, the programming language that the API uses if there is a community forum, and the cost.

Conclusion

There are many benefits of using a video streaming API. However, choosing the right one is not a simple decision. You need to evaluate many factors as discussed above for you to arrive at the correct decision.

You can use the information above to help you choose the suitable API based on your needs to experience the benefits of streaming on your application.

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