As tech needs get increasingly complex for businesses of all sizes, APIs are becoming an incredibly handy way to streamline and improve their operations and communications. In the hands of a knowledgeable software engineer, APIs can be very powerful, and can have a huge impact on a site or app’s services and functionality.
Here, we’ll introduce you to everything you need to know about APIs, why they’re so useful, and the best way to implement APIs.
What is an API?
API stands for Application Programming Interface.
Simply put, an API is a shortcut for two different types of software to communicate to each other and transmit information. APIs are essentially sets of rules, standards, and protocols that enable one program to quickly send useful data to the other, in a way that it can be “understood”. It’s a faster way to turn information into a useful output for the end user.
APIs are frequently used by businesses in many different industries. In fact, many of the apps that you use today likely rely on many different APIs to work quickly and efficiently.
Benefits of APIs
In some cases, APIs reduce the complexity of software development, since they can be repeated and replicated. So they make it easier for organizations to change and improve their products.
APIs also enable many different types of integrations that create a better user experience. Without APIs, these integrations may be too time-consuming or costly to be worthwhile.
APIs also make it easier to share information and data in real time. Without APIs, it would be hard to quickly extract meaningful information from one algorithm or app, and transmit it to another. APIs make this process much more simple and efficient, making services and data more widely accessible.
Are APIs easy to build?
As you might expect, the answer to that question depends upon your technical knowledge.
If you know how to code, you can learn to create your own API or implement existing ones. Depending upon the functionality you’re actually trying to build, almost any coding language can be employed to build your own API.
If you don’t know how to code, then you should partner with an experienced developer or web development agency to build out the type of tool you need.
Examples of APIs
Developers use APIs to improve the functionality of large, well-known apps and sites. But they’re also commonly employed by smaller businesses as well. APIs make it easier for organizations to implement marketing, operations, and sales software such as HubSpot, so APIs are incredibly common even within smaller organizations.
Uber, Twitter, and many other well-known apps offer API integrations, which allow businesses and organizations to benefit from their data and services more easily.
How to implement an API
If you don’t have any first-hand coding knowledge, you should partner with a developer to implement the right API for your business.
If you’re interested in exploring new ways to improve your site or app through APIs, contact us for a personal conversation and consultation about your technical needs.