In an earlier blog, we discussed the importance of inter interconnectivity in today’s evolving world. In that blog, however, we didn’t touch on one key part of ensuring next-level connectivity: application program interfaces, or APIs.
What is an API?
An API is a set of routines, protocols and/or tools for building software applications. The API outlines exactly how software components should interact to ensure applications run smoothly. As the building blocks for these applications, APIs are vital for ensuring programmers can effectively develop various software application programs.
These application programs can dictate how an end-user navigates through a website, for example, or how a smartphone user interacts with his or her mobile app. They can dictate how an organization engages with customers through various service channels (i.e. live chat, email, SMS). APIs are what allow you to do something as simple as copy and paste information from one desktop application to another. They are the governing force behind whatever it is we want and need to do on the Internet, whenever and however we like.
How do APIs Work?
Simply put, an API is an interface that allows one application to “talk” (i.e. exchange structured information with) another. This communication is done through simple commands that are sent and received in multiple different formats or protocols (i.e. Simple Object Access Protocol, Representational State Transfer).
As businesses compete to innovate, however, we’re seeing the widespread emergence of open APIs. These APIs are publicly available for use by anyone (be it a seasoned software developer or a first-time user with no prior experience), allowing them to exchange structured or unstructured information. Open APIs represent a true game-changer, allowing organizations to strategically leverage the explosive amount of unstructured data being generated, consumed and shared by billions of connected devices today.
Open APIs allow companies to tap into limitless opportunity for innovation and growth. For instance, programs can be customized in ways never thought possible with the ability to add and edit features on the fly. In doing so, organizations can future-proof their investments for time to come, ensuring solutions are always market relevant and meet end-user needs. Best of all: businesses can transform more quickly than ever with the opportunity for anyone to use open APIs; the more people who can use them, the better chance there is of discovering a competitive breakthrough.
Want to learn more about APIs? Check out this blog.
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