APIs - What they are and how they help you out
Every techno-savvy person that you may speak to will swear by APIs.
11:55 02 June 2020
But, it's impossible to understand the lingo, let alone know what APIs are and the various advantages it offers.
So, in this article, we're going to try to help you figure out what APIs are. And, explain the way APIs are helping us in our everyday lives.
What are APIs?
To begin with, let me talk to you about APIs. It may sound very technical, but there's nothing scary about APIs. And, you're probably already using it without knowing anything about APIs.
API stands for Application Programming Interface. Yikes. What does that mean?
It's a toolset that programmers use to create new software. And, it's a software intermediary that allows two applications to communicate with each other.
At this point, perhaps an example would help you understand better. For example, Uber, which is a ride-sharing app, couldn't have existed without the help of APIs.
So, Uber used APIs connections to Google Maps and Twilio to bring a company into existence. Customer needs a ride, they use the Uber app, that's linked to Google Maps.
The rider gets the location of the customer, and the customer can also monitor the progress of the rider. It's all quite beautifully synchronized and systematic. And, of course, Twilio makes the entire communications between rider and customer possible.
How do APIs help businesses?
New Business Opportunities
Now, the important thing to keep in mind is that almost all big companies are using APIs. These organizations such as Facebook or Yahoo! aren't giving away access to the general public.
Rather, these companies are giving certain requirements or pieces of codes to help you connect one of your applications to theirs, and use it to create new business opportunities.
Helps Save Time
Using APIs allows businesses to focus on their own strengths. And, work in collaboration with the skill set of other companies to provide products and services to the consumers.
For example, you use Siri to find out about the weather. Siri is connected through APIs with Yahoo! Weather Site and Google Maps.
Hence, you ask Siri for the weather and you don't end up with links to other sites that you would have to visit to find out about the weather.
So, now you know that it's isn't Siri that's the hero, rather it's those APIs you know nothing about, that have been helping you out all along.
Connect With Customers
Ever heard of Amazon, well, who hasn't right? So, you order something there, and they'll bring it to your doorstep.
In the meanwhile, you are able to monitor the progress of your order, read reviews about the product, and know about the dealer providing the product. You'll get a chance to write in your reviews and complaints. And, this entire operation is possible thanks to APIs.
If you haven't thanked your lucky stars for APIs, it isn't too late now. Especially, since you are aware of the purpose and functions of APIs.
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