APIs – What are They?
Now, unless you work in the industry or have a particular interest in software development you might not know what an API is. It stands for Application Programming Interface. It is essentially a piece of code (the building blocks of websites) that provides a set of functions and procedures to allow other applications to access data or features in another operating system or service.
In this day and age dealing with numerous APIs is not unheard of. With software being developed for all sorts of businesses in all sorts of industries, APIs have become increasingly important.
APIs are Crucial
They allow different programs to “talk” to one another; in other words, they allow information to be exchanged between systems. There are lots of examples of these Application Programming Interface documents from both system-level and on the Web.
An API works by revealing a limited amount of the programs internal functions, making it possible for data to be shared. Using them is a simplified method of “sharing code”, which, let’s face it, developers don’t like doing. APIs are often referred to as windows or doors; creating an opening and defining exactly how a program will interact with other software.
APIs are also a great way of saving time, as it means businesses can easily integrate software with the original program without having to work out how to do this solely within the code. This also means fewer resources are used and reduces the potential legality issues.
APIs are everywhere. Examples of them in use could be a Google Map on a business website indicating their location. Also, logging in to an app using your Facebook information is another common one. But, be wary! As APIs are for a particular program, which is owned by another business, there is always the potential for things to go wrong. Companies shutting down their services or shutting down completely could cause problems for your businesses.