It is said that software runs the world, but
it wouldn’t necessarily be so without the ability to integrate applications
with others. What exactly makes these integrations possible? For this week’s
tech term, we will briefly introduce you to the application programming interface,
or API; and, why it's so crucial in software development today.
When people talk about an application’s API,
they often mean a web-based interface that returns data, but the API is
actually just the code that governs the access point or points for the server.
In fact, all an API does is facilitate the ability to get data from outside
sources. It is effectively a door into a software.
For the developer, the API is a way for their
software to communicate with other pieces of software. This could have a myriad
of uses. For example, if the database your application needs is structured
outside of your development platform an API will allow developers to have a way
to call on data from the database for use within the software they are
This allows developers to use data from other
applications to integrate two pieces of software. Ever wonder why your favorite
news site lets you sign in using your Facebook account? It’s because the
developer of the news site uses the Facebook API to provide access to the
content you are trying to access.
The API is therefore extremely important for
mobile application development. In fact, an API is one of a mobile application
developer’s most crucial tools as it allows them to:
- Accelerate app development - An API allows
developers to eliminate wasting time building specific integration methods.
- Increase an app’s functionality - An API
provides access to data from other applications.
- Grow the app’s market - Tools with more
integrations are more apt to be used.
Now you have a cursory understanding of what it means
when you hear someone talk about an application’s API. For more great content
designed to help you better understand the technology you use every day,
subscribe to our blog.