WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT APIs

Stephanie Ani

Author

Image Credit: Apptunix

Every time you walk into a restaurant, there’s almost always that waiter who seems very nice, smiles at you and ushers you to a table. Of course there are those really mean ones who make you wonder if you perhaps hurt them in a different lifetime, but we’re not going to talk about them. Today, we celebrate the nice ones. These nice waiters take your order with a smile, help you pick what you might like; submit your order to the chef and waits till the orders are responded to, and comes back - still smiling - bearing your food. Who doesn’t love a good customer service?

An application programming interface (API) is a software intermediary that takes instructions from a requesting application, translates it and sends it across to the target application. The target application performs the required action and sends feedback to the API, which in turn sends it across to the requesting program. Just like the nice waiter in the restaurant, the API serves as leverage between communicating applications. API ensures that data extracted from one source is formatted and passed on to the intended application securely.

In this digital age where every business is online and you are a dinosaur if you’re still all about traditional business models, APIs are the hottest things right now. API economy refers to all commerce generated by the use of APIs to create economic value. Simply put, the API economy refers to business models designed around the use of APIs.

APIs are fast moving into the market for medium and small scale businesses. Seeing as their bigger competitors are leaving no space for them offline, they are taking advantage of the online space and levelling the playing ground. A number of businesses are exploring this advantage using E-commerce APIs such as the RIMS e-commerce API, which encourages others easily to easily create online shops and marketplaces. A vendor who wants to go digital can employ the services of a developer who will then use the API to build an online store to his taste.

We also cannot neglect how much workload has been removed from the plate of developers. There is no need to design from scratch anymore, you can just make use of ready-made program and get your software running in no time.

There are many companies that offer customisable APIs, and they are not very difficult to find. There’s Recordspad with their RIMS API which offers an all-in-one cart, analytics, payment processing and sales intelligence services to better manage your online business.  Twilo which uses Amazon web services to host telephone infrastructure and provide connectivity between HTTP and the PSTN through its APIs. Apigee which allows developers to design API proxies and to enforce security protocols and practices across all API platforms.

The prospects of the API economy are exponential. APIs are creating powerful ways for businesses to streamline how they engage with partners and together deliver new generations of applications that empower consumers with more services and options. - Bernard Harguindeguy (CTO, ping identity)