What Exactly Is An API?
API is the acronym for Application Programming Interface, API is a mediator software that helps two applications communicate with each other and get things done. Even If you are using Facebook or sending messages, you are using an API.
When you use an application on your smart device that application connects to the internet and sends data to a server. The server then receives the data, interprets, and sends the data back to your phone. The application on your phone, upon receiving the data, interprets the data and only then you get the information in a way that you can understand. This is what an API does- this sending and receiving of the data happen via API. You can also try Zenserp now to better understand the concept of APIs and how it can serve to enhance your business.
To understand API better, let’s take an example.
Imagine you are at your favorite restaurant, sitting at a table with a menu card in your hands. You have different choices to order from. The kitchen is where your food will be prepared- the kitchen is a part of the ‘system’. Now, you can’t just barge into the kitchen and directly tell the chef to cook the dish for you. You need a link that will help you comminute your order to the kitchen and get the food at your table. That link is the waiter or the API. the waiter-API act as a messenger and take your order, go back to the kitchen- the system and tell it what to do. And the waiter delivers the response back to you, in this example, the food.
If you are still confused, this real-life example of API will clear the concept. You may know that when you search for flights online, you have various options you can choose from. If you are booking your flight on an airline website, you are interacting with the airline’s website. In order to check if seats are available or what the cost of the ticket might be, you access their database by interacting with the website.
But, if you don’t use the official airline website, how does it work then? What if you are using online travel services, which get information from different airline databases? In that case, the travel service interacts with the airline’s API. An API works as a helpful waiter here. It’s the interface, when ordered by the travel service, that gets the information from the airline’s database to book a flight or check for available seats. API then brings the response of the airline back to the online travel service and that’s how you get the most relevant information.
APIs were described as some generic connectivity interface, but in today’s world APIs are much more valuable and resourceful. APIs have changed over the years and now have characteristics that make them more convenient. Modern APIs are easily accessible and user friendly and also adhere to specific standards. They are much more secure and are monitored to provide great performance. To further understand the concepts and usage of APIs, see here.