What means API?
An application-programming interface it is also called API. An API is a set of programming instructions and standards made to access a Web-based software application.
What happens usually is that a software company releases its API to customers so that other software developers can design products that are powered by this service.
For instance, the internet retailer Amazon released its API so that other developers could access Amazon’s product information in a much easier manner.
How API works?
Through APIs, applications talk to each other without any user knowledge or intervention. When we buy tickets online and enter our credit card information, the website uses an API to send our credit card data to a remote application that verifies whether the information is correct or not. After the payment is confirmed, the remote application sends a response back to the ticket website saying the purchase it’s ok.
As users, we only see one interface – the tickets website – but behind the scenes, many applications work together using APIs. This process is called seamless, because the user will never see the software or the process to notice what really happens. The user sees the final result of the process. To better visualize this concept, we can imagine an API as the middleman between a programmer and an application. This middleman accepts requests and, if that request is allowed, returns the data.
The middleman also informs programmers about everything they can request, exactly how to ask for it and how to receive it. The API itself consists of software code written as a series of XML messages. Every XML message corresponds to a different function of the remote service. Companies who release their API often do so as part of a larger software development kit (SDK) that includes the API, programming tools and other instructions documents to make the developer’s job easier.
APIs and web services are completely invisible to website surfers and software users. Their job is to run silently in the background, providing a way for applications to work with each other to get the user the information or functionality he needs.
A good API makes it easier to develop a program by providing all the building blocks. A programmer then puts the blocks together. There are many different types of APIs for operating systems, applications or for websites. Windows has many API sets that are used by applications — when we copy and paste text from one application to another, it is the API that allows that to work.
Nowadays, APIs are primarily important because they guide in how developers can create new apps that tap into big web services—social networks like Facebook or Pinterest, for example, or utilities like Google Maps or Dropbox.
A game application developer, for instance, can use the Dropbox API to let users store their saved games in Dropbox cloud instead of working out some other cloud-storage option from the starting point.
In this respect, APIs are great time savers. They also provide user convenience in many cases. Facebook users undoubtedly appreciate the ability to sign into many apps and websites using their Facebook ID — a feature that relies upon Facebook APIs to work.
The main advantages of using APIs are:
- Faster development – since the functionality is already implemented, you just need to call the API;
- Error handling – the implementation of the API is well tested and has minimal bugs. This can eliminate any bugs from creeping in if the functionality had been coded specifically instead of using the API.
BoostIT Hub help their clients to understand better how these interfaces run. Their team has understood how important API is for an online business and for this reason there is a specialized department working on it and now the company is ready to provide API integration systems.