What is an API?


An API is a set of definitions and protocols that are used to develop and integrate application software. API means application programming interface.

APIs allow their products and services to communicate with others, without needing to know how they are implemented. This simplifies the development of applications and saves time and money. APIs give you flexibility; they simplify the design, administration and use of applications, and provide opportunities for innovation, which is ideal when designing new tools and products (or managing current ones).

APIs are a simplified means to connect your own infrastructure through the development of native cloud applications, but also allow you to share your data with clients and other external users. Public APIs represent a unique commercial value because they simplify and extend the way you connect with your partners and, in addition, can make your data profitable (a known example is the Google Maps API).

For example, imagine a book distribution company. You could offer customers an application that allows library employees to check the availability of books with the distributor. The development of this application could be expensive, be limited by the platform and require a lot of development time and continuous maintenance.

Another option is for the book distributor to provide an API to check inventory availability. There are several benefits of this approach:

  • It allows customers to access data with an API that helps them add information about their inventory in one place.
  • The book distributor could make changes to its internal systems without affecting customers, as long as the API’s behavior was the same.
  • With an API available publicly, developers working for the book distributor, vendors or third parties could develop an application to help customers find the books they need. This could result in higher sales or other business opportunities.

 

In summary, APIs allow you to enable access to your resources and, at the same time, maintain security and control. How to enable access and who depends on you. API security has to do with managing them well. To connect to the APIs and create applications that use the data or functions they offer, a distributed integration platform can be used that connects all the elements, including legacy systems and the Internet.