A Lucid Definition of an API
Most of us use API’s daily without knowing it. From online product comparisons to online credit card payments, API’s are the unsung heroes working quietly in the background to improve the functionality of our digital experience.
What is an API?
API is an acronym for Application Programming Interface. An API is a software messenger that carries requests. It tells a system what you would like it to do and then relays the system’s response back to you.
To use an analogy here, API’s are the postal service of the internet. A couple (you) gives their wedding invitation to a postal officer (the API) to deliver to a friend (the system). The friend then writes a response stating if they can attend (the data), gives it to the postal officer who in turn delivers the answer back to the couple.
The postal officer has a very specific role in this exchange. The postal officer can’t answer for the guest but can deliver the message and retrieve the answer that the couple need. The postal officer is the method of connection.
How do they work for your business?
The capabilities and versatility of API’s are endless. They can be used by business owners to streamline internal business processes from modernising organisational structures to speeding up the time-to-market of new products.
Existing public API’s like Slack make it easier for work teams to connect with each other and stay in the loop for increased work efficiency. Third-party management platforms like Sprout Social simplify social media by allowing businesses to monitor all of their different accounts in one place. And API’s like Ecwid make it easier for small businesses to go global with built-in international payment tools for 175 countries.
Businesses can design an API strategy to increase productivity based on their specific needs. Developing private API’s will help businesses manage their supply chains more efficiently. They will also allow for more meticulous business intelligence analytics and aid businesses in decreasing their overall operational costs.
Put simply, an API is a solution for different programmes to work together in various ways and deliver exceptional digital experiences to its users.
Wondering how your business could benefit from API’s or have questions on API development? Book a discovery call with us today.