Wednesday, July 20th, 2016
API, an abbreviation of Application Program Interface, is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. A good API makes it easier to develop a program by providing all the building blocks. A programmer then puts the blocks together.
APIs are incredibly powerful tools for enabling partners, building ecosystems and engendering success among customers. A software company releases its API to the public so that other software developers can design products that are powered by its service.
For example, Salesforce’s Force ecosystem, which enables developers to build products atop customer Salesforce installations, increases the value customers derive from Salesforce selling more seats and retaining customers longer. Google’s Maps API enables developers to spread Google Maps, building the brand, increasing distribution and all the while improving ranking by sending back user feedback signals.
Many APIs are accessible via RESTful web services. Which basically involves accessing data and meta-data over HTTP by sending a request embedded in a query string and processing a response that is in XML or JSON format.
An API is a software-to-software interface, not a user interface. With APIs, applications talk to each other without any user knowledge or intervention. APIs make it easy to efficiently share data and processes.
Bear in mind that APP and API are two sides of the same coin. With Apps gaining more popularity and seeing more challenges, so will the APIs that support them.
Summing-up: APIs are great strategic tools. They can reinforce and grow businesses, partner ecosystems and customer value. But improperly deployed APIs can also undermine the business you’re building. Ensure your balance of data trade is always overwhelmingly positive before releasing your API.