An API, or Application Programming Interface, is a set of tools and protocols that software developers use to make their applications work with other applications.
Software like Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin all have APIs. Think of it like a key that helps you get into big buildings (like the software mentioned), and once you have the keys, you can go in and use the building to your advantage. So an API is like a key to a bunch of different software.
What is an API?
Basically, it allows programs to “talk” to each other so that certain functions and features of one program can be integrated into another program. APIs abstract the language of each platform and allow the programmer to focus on the task at hand without having to worry about the details of how each platform works.
Example of an API
An API can be used in a variety of ways.
- Your website needs to know how much inventory is left for a particular product in your ERP.
- Your inventory management system in the ERP wants to send inventory data to your website.
- Your customer fills out a form on your website and you want to send the data to your CRM.
- The website needs an integrated payment gateway to accept payments online.
This is just one example of how an API works together. There are many more possibilities for an api and developers need to realize that even though it has become a buzzword, it is still very valuable when used correctly.
To summarize: APIs are computer programs that allow different software programs or platforms to communicate with each other effectively and at high speed.
Popular API examples
Payment Gateway APIs
Payment Gateway APIs, they are used by payment gateway providers to allow sellers to integrate third-party payments into their websites and merchants. Processors Paypal and Stripe Payment offer their API to developers who want to use it to embed payment processing features into their websites.
Another example of an API is the Facebook API. This is a set of code that allows developers to write plug-ins for Facebook that can be used to embed features from Facebook into other websites or applications. For example, one type of code allows a “Like” button to be added to many websites with one click. Another type of code enables a search box to access information from your own profile in Facebook.
Google Maps API
One of the most popular APIs is the one from Google Maps. If you want to create a website to display directions from one place to another, you can write the code from scratch or use the code that Google has already created and made available to everyone for free.
Amazon Product Advertising API
Amazon Product Advertising API is used by developers to add product ads to a variety of websites and applications. Amazon’s API has been integrated into many different types of e-commerce projects, including online stores and shopping comparison sites.
The above are just a few examples of APIs in use today. Many software companies provide their own, helping users access features that would otherwise be difficult or time-consuming to add.
The business benefits of using APIs
An API is an added benefit to your business because it allows others to easily integrate your products or services into their own.
An API is a powerful tool for businesses that want to break into broader markets without having to worry about the initial investment of setting up many different databases and software. An API allows them to use their own code and integrate that code with many different types of software.
API is a tool that can be very helpful when used properly, but it can also be very confusing when used improperly.
Api development is achieved by writing scripts that are in the same programming language as the software you want to work with. Your script is structured so that it can communicate with your software and make requests to it or access its information. You are not writing for a specific program because you are speaking a common language with the code that all programs can understand. Example: You write API extensions for WordPress that contact a third-party API.
API for Mobile Applications Development
The API for Mobile Applications Development is the interface between applications and mobile. When an application has an API, it means that developers can create a mobile application that interacts with that particular system.
With the boom of smartphones, it is possible to integrate multiple functions into a single application. Thanks to APIs, different apps can work together to provide a better user experience and create a richer platform for users. An example of this would be the ability to view news feeds from different apps in one app.
Why develop an API?
Developing an API for your existing app makes sense given the rise of mobile apps and their use by enterprise users. By creating an API for your app, you encourage developers to create new apps on your platform that will benefit you as well.
API as a service
Many APIs are complementary features, but some companies are designed to be API-first services. All cloud applications that consist of a single endpoint that developers access to integrate with their apps are considered API-first services.
An API-first service is an approach to building cloud-based applications that focuses primarily on API development. While there are many approaches to building apps or services, a true API-first approach is one where the team starts with APIs for various data and functions and builds client applications from there, such as a mobile app or web portal, to access that data. This ensures that all clients have access to all features, although it requires an investment in developing the necessary APIs before the user interfaces are released.
Web APIs, also known as server-side APIs, are APIs used to access the functions of a particular website. They can be easily integrated into mobile apps or even other websites thanks to existing data formats that they support.
Most of the web frameworks in use today support some form of web API development. Some examples are REST, SOAP, XML-RPC and JSON-RPC.
Web APIs are an essential part of any website that provides data and services to third parties. It is the primary way for developers to integrate their applications with a website to extend its functionality.
A fintech API includes financial services APIs. These APIs are typically used to streamline the development of applications that facilitate transactions or other financial activities.
These APIs are a perfect way for small businesses to use the services of banks and other financial service providers at a fraction of the cost. To do this, the third-party application must have permissions to access the bank account in question.
Development teams can work in parallel
When developing APIs, teams can work in parallel – one team can develop the API while another develops the applications for the API. Once both are completed, they can be integrated together.
Are you ready to create an API for your business?
If you need help with your APIs project, we’re here for you. We can guide the entire process from API concept to development and deployment, not only creating your APIs, but also ensuring success throughout the project lifecycle. Contact us today for a free consultation on how we can help you.