If you are new to API then you are in the right place, let's review the basics of APIs and how they integrate applications.
An application programming interface (API) is the medium by which different software interact i.e it allows two applications to interact with each other without any user intervention.
An API is a hefty block of code that empowers developers to build user-friendly software.
Why is an API ?
Using APIs, developers don’t need to write separate communication protocols for communicating any third-party software or services, making the system independent.
API works as Abstraction between two systems. Both systems can talk to each other without knowing each other’s low-level concepts such as data formats, how the data is stored etc. Both systems can use one common structure to communicate. Both don't need to know what underlying languages or processes are used, how the data is stored etc. Thus, making it super easy to communicate with each other.
APIs are also useful for security purposes. One system doesn’t need to expose everything to any other third-party system i.e. only relevant information will be provided to the user. So, basically, API enables products or services to communicate with other products and services without having to know how they’re implemented.
Without API’s, the digital experience that consumers encounter today would be entirely impossible.
Examples of API
Sharing flight information between airlines and travel booking sites
Using Google Maps in a rideshare app
Pay with PayPal
Building chatbots in a messaging service
Embedding YouTube videos into a webpage
Automating workflows between B2B software tools
If you consider a travel booking site, it's a very useful API example because making connections and building relationships is exactly the point of most travel websites.
That is, travel websites like Trivago and makemytrip have the power to feature and sell all-inclusive travel packages that account for both lodging and travel.
But it's not just a coincidence that travel booking platforms can pull flight information from Airlines and book you nights at the Marriott.
This is where the API comes into picture.
In the above example of makeMytrip application, the user sends the request to makeMytrip based on his flight requirements, now makeMytrip contacts different airlines API and sends the data. Here makeMytrip uses the API’s of other airlines by sending the request and getting the response.
Same way google maps API is developed by google, but we use google maps in different applications like uber, facebook and whatsapp, all these applications are using the google maps through an API.
It is quite evident that if you want to communicate better, APIs are the way to go.
Thank you for reading, I hope this blog gives you the basic idea of an API.