API — Explanation and application

Definition

An API is a set of definitions and protocols that facilitate the creation and integration of software applications. API is an acronym that stands for Application Programming Interface. This makes data or functionality of an existing application available for other applications to use. This allows you to use an existing program rather than re-developing it. It is therefore a great time saver.

What are APIs used for?

APIs allow your product or service to communicate with other products and services without knowing their implementation details. They simplify application development, saving you time and money. When you’re building new tools and products, or managing existing ones, APIs give you more flexibility, simplify design, administration, and use

Why are APIs important?

APIs provide a simplified way to connect your own infrastructure through cloud-native application development. They also allow you to share your data with your customers and other external users. Public APIs offer unique business value because they can simplify and expand your relationships with your partners, and potentially monetize your data (the Mapbox API is a perfect example).

Concrete example of an API

Imagine … a book distributor? ( wdf what am I saying ) This distributor could provide its client bookstores with an application that allows them to check the availability of books from the supplier. But the development of this application might be expensive and time-consuming, while the final application might be limited by the platform and require ongoing maintenance.

Alternatively, the distributor can provide an API to check inventory availability. This approach has several advantages:

  • By accessing data via an API, customers have the ability to centralize their inventory information.
  • The retailer can change its internal systems without impacting the customer experience, as long as the behavior of its API does not change.
  • With a public API, developers working for the distributor, bookstores or other companies can develop an application that helps customers find the books they want to buy. In this way, distributors can increase their sales or seize new business opportunities. ( I’m not sure this is a very good example )

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