What is Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)?
APIs are a set of software building tools, a set of subroutines and protocols that specifies how software components should interact. These are a set of definitions for building and integrating application software. APIs let your product or service communicate with other products/services without the need to explore how they interact or communicate.
When are APIs used?
APIs are used when two or more separate systems are in need to work together, to achieve or extract information, or process something that they cannot do alone.
Where is Application Programming Interface used?
It is used in one form or another in almost all the software that is being explicitly called in your program or implicitly called by the compiler. For example, you enter your credit card details on a website and press the continue button, it will tell you if the information entered is correct or not. A remote application validates the information and sends it back. API is used in this scenario. Similarly, almost all software use API as a communication layer.
Why do we need APIs?
If there is an application that operates with exchanging data on any software/website in the world, and if you store data on server-side DB, API is required to request and process this data. This way it's easy for a developer to retrieve or even update the data without downloading the entire data to the app's backend.
Who uses Application Programming Interface?
APIs dictate how developers can create new apps that tap into big web services, Social platforms like Facebook & Pinterest, Utilities like Google Maps & Dropbox. For instance, a gaming developer can use the Dropbox API to let users store their saved games in the Dropbox cloud instead of setting up a storage option in the cloud from scratch.
How APIs Work?
For instance, when a flight ticket needs to be booked, from the options menu we are interacting with it from the airlines' website which in turn access the information in the database. In this case, to get the information, the app must interact with the airline's API giving it access to the airline's data. Similarly, APIs are used in all the software and applications to retrieve and add information.
Benefits of Application Programming Interface (APIs)
- Ability to integrate directly and eliminate barriers
- Promotes innovation of creating new products
- Utilize customer insights
- Increased mobility
- Increased developer productivity
- Streamline operations