API or Application programming interface is primarily a piece of software that helps two or more applications interact with each other. Given the boom in the software development industry, APIs are becoming increasingly popular in the development world. They can be defined as a software that takes in an input, processes the information and gives out an appropriate output. For instance, every time you use a weather application or Facebook, you are using an API.
API in Simple Terms
APIs have made development a whole lot easier these days. Programmers do not have to code rigorously for simple features, instead APIs can seamlessly do the trick. They create a bridge between two applications, allowing the sharing of data. For instance, when you select “Log in with Facebook/Google”, on any web portal, you are using an API.
To explain Application Programming interface in simple terms, imagine sitting in a restaurant with a bunch of menu items. There is a kitchen that prepares your order and a waiter that takes your order- acting as the main link that connects the two bodies. In this case, the waiter is acting like an API.
Similarly, consider booking flights on an online portal like Expedia. Even though you are not on the airline’s website, you get all their data on the portal. This again, is done through APIs. The data is being fetched from the official airline website and presented to you on the application you are on.
How APIs make lives easy for Developers
APIs have eased the development process by removing the need to write all the code manually. For instance, instead of coding for the smallest of features, you can just use APIs to perform the task for you. To delve into some of the benefits of using APIs:
Access to data
APIs allow you to access data from different applications while also making sure there is no breach of privacy. Ethical rules are followed while granting access, allowing for secure transactions.
APIs give you a bigger room for customizations. You can change the content of your interface according to user requirements.
Another great benefit of using APIs is the fast transmission of data. You can communicate between apps without any interruption and hence, work efficiently.
APIs can be integrated into different platforms as well. This ensures smooth delivery and a seamless user experience.
Security is a big concern, especially with inter application communications. When other platforms access your data, there is a greater chance of security breaches. APIs have several policies that make sure all your data is kept safe. These include:
- Public: Public APIs can be used by any developer in his/her application.
- Partner: Partner APIs is used by third party applications
- Private: Private APIs are only for internet use i.e. for one application or framework only.
Overall APIs have made lives easy for numerous mobile development agencies. They provide a simpler way of achieving the same goals that would, otherwise, require rigorous coding. Further, they are also extremely reliable when it comes to data security and efficiency.