Have you ever wondered why you can log into some applications through your Facebook login even though it’s completely unrelated? Or how you can have your banking application such as Quickbooks automatically communicate with your bank? Where does that connectivity come from? The answer is with APIs. APIs – Application Programming Interfaces – are like messengers that take your request from one system and easily transmit that information to a totally different system, regardless of the technology or language it uses. So, what exactly does that mean? If you’re still wondering, “what is an API?” you’re not alone. Learn more below.
What is an API?
APIs act as a type of mediator for software that helps two or more applications connect and communicate. Websites that utilize APIs can easily transmit information to each other. Think of APIs as being messenger birds for information found on the Internet. Like messenger birds who receive a note from one party and then deliver that message to the next party, APIs take a request from one application to a corresponding application helping to bridge the gap of communication. Once the receiving application has a response to give back to the requesting application, the API will deliver the message again. This is done through standardized communication supported and published by each application provider.
How does an API work?
In simpler terms, APIs allow the system to pull information from one resource and deliver it to another. For example, the weather app on your phone uses an API. It takes data from other Internet sources to deliver a simple forecast for the upcoming weather right to your phone. It takes a good chunk of leg-work out of Internet searching to provide convenient, quick responses to the topics you’re inquiring about. Rather than searching the Internet through various sites and resources to find the answers, you’re looking for a weather application that pulls all relevant information off the Internet to deliver simple and fast results. Now, imagine if you were able to do the same with your business applications. APIs might be the answer.
APIs are used much more now to keep up with the ever-growing amount of technology applications. You likely interact with many APIs on a daily basis and don’t even realize it. Some examples of APIs include:
Pay with PayPal – Online shopping is extremely popular, and e-commerce is only growing in our market. PayPal provides an easy and fast payment for several different e-commerce sites and applications.
Travel websites – When you use travel sites such as Travelocity, you are using an API. Travelocity is a platform that allows you to input information into a search box that requests information from various airlines to give you several quick results at once.
Car Navigation – Your vehicle’s navigation system likely runs off of Google maps or a similar application that uses API technology to give you directions to wherever you’re looking to go.
How an API Can Improve Your Business
APIs provide several benefits to businesses. The use of APIs in web development helps to improve the customer experience. Not only do APIs provide greater access to information, but they also make it easy for developers to integrate these technologies into your existing systems. This cuts down on development costs and time. So, while your users are having better experiences with your software, your company also benefits from the improved internal processes associated with API integration.
API Solutions Designed for You
Developers will tailor your custom software, ensuring the appropriate APIs and other processes are in place. At Dorian Solutions, we are more than developers, we’re solution experts that are happy to answer any questions you have regarding your custom software development needs. Call us for more information about our services and get personalized API functionality designed for you and your users.
Want to learn more about APIs and System Integration? Connect with us today!