As the world of business moves headfirst into technological advancements it can be very hard for the rest of us to keep up on what is going on. In most cases however the phrases and the terminology which you see and hear are in fact far more confusing than what they actually describe. Let’s take for example API, which stands for Application Programming Interfaces. This is a widely used piece of tech yet when you start seeing ads for API management solutions and API gateways, it can appear to be confusing.
The reality however is that an API is basically a portal in which applications can interact to provide a result, to help you understand this better, let’s take a look at some examples of where we see APIs used in every day life.
Booking a Flight
When you head to a site such as Skyscanner and begin looking for flights you are going to find a wealth of information in a matter of seconds. In order to get the right flights for your search, the website has to interact with a huge number of websites and airlines, and to do this it will use an API, and the same is used for hotel searches.
Paying With PayPal
You have probably been there before, at the point of buying something new and then you’ll see the option that you can pay using your PayPal account. This too is a perfect example of an API at work and it is built in such a way that means you can access the payment feature of PayPal without exposing any sensitive information.
Believe it or not those pesky Twitterbots which you see adding comments onto posts are in fact APIs which have been designed to interface with the Twitter algorithm. Not always bad however, one great example of how these bots can be used for good is the Netflix bot which announces when new programs have been added to the video streaming service.
When you use the Weather app on your smartphone, this is another great example of an API at work before our very eyes. Apple, Google and other weather app providers actually utilize the apps which other, meteorological companies have created and will use their API to share the content. You will very often see on these weather apps that it will have noted who provided the information. In reality the information was uploaded to the original location and then simply integrated with another API so that it could be shared.
As you can see, on the face of it an API seems like a confusing piece of software but in reality we use this tech each and everyday, often without even knowing what it means. If therefore your business is going to utilize the information from other applications then an API gateway would be required so that you can then interact with these apps from a central portal.