The Options API precedes the Settings API in WordPress history. The Settings API was only introduced in WP 2.7 in order to facilitate the building of options pages for themes and plugins, thus building on the existing Options API.
Basically the Options API is the simplest form of saving options to your database, but does not provide any methods for building the settings interface, and neither does it do any validation checks, leaving both these cumbersome tasks to the developer. That is not even mentioning the security hassles whereby which developers (especially new contributors) could easily create security holes if not following best practices. This of course would be bad for the community in general who downloaded that plugin.
Creating settings interfaces, security checks and data validation are very repetitive tasks for developers. The can also lead to custom implementations (especially in terms of UI) which conflict with the overall interface of WordPress. So the good folks at WordPress decided to create the Settings API to help us out.
Nowadays, with the Settings API all the security checks are handled automatically by WordPress itself. Creating the settings form is also taken care of automatically. Basically, all you have to do is to register your options with the Settings API and specify the input fields you wish to add to the options page, and you’re ready to go.
Hope that explains the concept to you. If you have any other questions or which to contribute to WPMayor do get in touch!
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