The term API development may sound very technical. What is API and why should your business need an API? Irrespective of whether your business is small, medium or a large-scale enterprise, every business needs an API.
The abbreviation API stands for Application Programming Interface. API is a set of protocols, subroutine definitions, and tools for building applications and software. It may be for a web-based system, database system, operating system, hardware system or software library. It communicates with other software programs. It gives access to the use of services and resources of other software or applications.
An API provides access to work with the backend or raw data of a database. Hence, API development is also concerned with backend development. Application developers are responsible to design a software product that can easily communicate with other applications or software through the API. Sometimes APIs are also called web services.
Usually, API does not allow user interaction, but it allows the software to software interaction. The main benefits of APIs include simplification, standardization and hiding the complexity. A simple example of the same is when you copy and paste a text from one software application to another.
There are many types of APIs like Java API, Android API, and Web API. Web API includes SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), RPC (Remote Procedure Call), and REST (Representational State Transfer).
We can classify these into two types – internal and external.
• Internal: It is used within a company or organization. REST is growing among all industries and it can wrap an existing SOAP/HTTP or .NET services.
• External: It is available externally for consumers. Generally, external APIs are written based on REST/JSON. They are easier to use and have integration capabilities, leveraging web services such as WSDLS.
We can also classify it into other categories, such as Partner to give access to business functions for business relationships or partnerships. It is mostly used for reconciliation, ordering and online catalog.
• Amazon Product Advertisement: It gives developers access to select Amazon’s products to advertise them. And provides Amazon web services.
• Google Maps: It is designed to help developers embed Google Maps on a web page. It is also designed to work on mobile devices.
• Twitter: REST API allows developers to get access to core data, while the Search API gives methods for developers to search and trend data.
API development is not a new concept, but as the complexity of business requirements and computer systems has increased, the need for APIs has increased. The adoption of API is growing rapidly as companies are looking to connect their information technology assets to online portals and mobile apps.
APIs can help you automate many aspects of your business, hence helping you save hours of work. It also helps you become more data-driven to automate dashboards and create powerful reports.
These days B2B and B2C companies are sharing information and reaching new customers using APIs, which represents a business tool to generate substantial revenues from usage fees and referrals. In the era of cloud computing, it would be very difficult for businesses to survive without the use of APIs.
For example, Google has announced that it is going to acquire Apigee, which is an enterprise API management company. Google would acquire Apigee for a whopping $625 million, which would be one of the largest acquisitions by Google. This shows the importance of cloud business along with API management. Apigee has a substantial enterprise footprint with an affluent clientele, such as AT&T, eBay, Adobe, Citrix, Honeywell, and AccuWeather. API management plays a significant role in the API economy.
One can find the maximum use of APIs on Facebook. API has contributed to the growth of Facebook. It is used everywhere on Facebook, like login with Facebook ID, Share button, to import friends, and to market your content and have an online presence.
APIs offer not only business benefits, but they also have some operational benefits. To fulfill business functionalities, developers can easily discover from the available APIs for developing their web and mobile applications.
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