What is an API?

API — An Overview 

An API, or application programming interface, is a set of rules and protocols that allows different software applications to communicate with each other. Think of it like a menu in a restaurant – the menu tells you what options are available, and the kitchen (the API) will prepare your order (the data) according to the instructions you (the developer) give it. You can use an API to access data or services from an external source, such as a website or database, and use that data in your own application.

Types of APIs

Public APIs

As the name indicates, Public APIs are easily accessible to users or developers with little to no restrictions.  They are typically available over the Internet, and you either don’t need a username and password to access them, or you can sign up for free.

Private APIs

Private APIs are not available publicly. They are intended to be used by the resources within an organisation’s IT infrastructure. 

Partner APIs

These APIs are shareable between two business partners with no access to common users. Any user intending to use the Partner API of an organisation requires authorisation.

Benefits of API

Task Automation

Imagine a scenario in which your organisation has to perform a wide range of manual tasks. You would also need an extensive workforce and operational costs to conduct such manual tasks. This is where the use of APIs can save you from the hassle of wasting your time and effort on performing complex tasks manually. APIs can integrate with your applications to automatically perform tasks with better results. You get a streamlined workflow with minimal effort and a lesser workforce. 

Innovation-Driven App Development 

Innovation is what sets your application apart from others in the market. You no longer need to develop your applications from scratch to add innovation to them. All you have to do is to make changes to your integrated API and bring your application on par with state-of-the-art technologies. APIs have proved to be very beneficial in ensuring rapid application development. Third-party services and products can easily be integrated using APIs to improve and expedite your application development process. 

Easier Customisations 

Your users love improved features. Instead of getting into the hassle of writing code for new features, you can integrate APIs by using their functions and commands to add innovative features to your applications. Doing so not only makes it easier for you to perform customisations to your application but also gives your users a better experience. 

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