Application Programming Interface (API)
As many know of us know, an application programming interface is a computer interface which defines interactions between multiple software intermediaries. It defines the kinds of calls or requests that can be made, how to make them and the data formats that should be used.
When you use an application on your mobile phone, it connects to the internet and sends data to a server. The server then retrieves the data, translates it, performs the necessary actions and sends it back to your phone. The application then interprets that data and presents you with the information you wanted in a readable way.
Is a developer required to utilize an API?
For the most part, yes you will need a developer. Programming Interface is not called that for no reason, developers have to utilize a variety of different methods to connect to these interfaces, and to make use of any and all data received. Building an API is quite a complex project for any developer, requiring access to data and methods stored at a deep level within your application. While some services will allow you to utilize APIs from multiple sources and tie them together, for the most part, the power of an API is specifically intended to extend the capabilities of developers in general.
What are APIs used for?
Believe it or not, APIs play a bigger role in today’s economy than ever before. Allowing us to share and import data and allow for business functionality between devices, applications and individuals. APIs are used in our everyday lives for so many different things such as:
- Web Applications: APIs are used to connect user-facing front ends with all back-end functionalities and data.
- Third Party Payment Gateways: Just like logging in to a social account, the “Pay Now” functionality is built with APIs to ensure that the end application can only do what it needs to without being exposed to sensitive data or gaining access to personal and sensitive information.
- Streaming Services: Netflix, Apple music, and Spotify all use APIs to distribute content.
- Travel Booking: Third party APIs are used to collect flight and hotel availabilities from providers. When you make a booking through travel website, they’ll use APIs to confirm the trip with that provider.
- Banking: All financial institutions use private APIs to track and manage accounts, credit cards and profiles.
- Social Media Logins: Instead of logging in to a user’s account, applications with the API functionality leverage these platforms APIs to authenticate the user with each login.
As you can see, APIs are everywhere these days and all it takes is picking up a mobile smartphone to see them in action. Whether you’re booking a trip online, watching a series on Netflix, paying with PayPal, going to the bank or even logging into Instagram, all these actions are powered by APIs.
Have any questions or in need of assistance with a new or existing API related project? Contact Us today to see how the Nexix Inc team can help you!