Getting to Know Technology: Application Programming Interface
Software runs the world, or so they say, and it’s all thanks to the ability to integrate with one-another through the use of APIs. This tech term, which stands for application programming interface, and it’s crucial to understand what these do in today’s technology environment.
An application’s API is often a web-based interface that returns data, but the API is actually just the code that governs the access point or points for the server. All an API does is provide the ability to receive data from outside sources. Think of it as the door into the software.
The developer sees the API as a way for their software to communicate with other pieces of software. For example, a database that is accessed by your application might be structured outside of your development platform, meaning that you’ll need an API to allow developers a way to call the data from the database for use in your development platform.
In this way, developers use data from other applications in your favorite solutions, allowing for integration between them. One great example of how APIs work is how you can sign into your favorite news site using your Facebook or Google account. This is because the developer of the website uses the Facebook or Google API to give you access to the content.
It’s clear that APIs are extremely important for mobile application development. APIs are able to provide the following benefits to mobile application developers:
- Accelerated app development: APIs give developers the ability to eliminate wasted time through building specific integration methods.
- Increased app functionality: APIs provide access to data from other applications, allowing for enhanced functionality.
- Improved application marketability: More integrations mean more usability in various markets, meaning that it will be more common and useful for more people.
This only scratches the surface of what an API is and does. What are some other tech terms that you’d like to see covered on our blog? Let us know in the comments.