Previously, the phrase “API integration” was known only to a certain circle of people directly working with the API. Now, when information and communication technologies, such as virtual IP telephony, CRM systems and many others, have touched almost all business niches, this abbreviation is increasingly heard by office workers and their managers, whose specialization is not directly related to programming.
What is an API, where is it used and what is such an interface for? We will try to understand these issues in more detail in this article.
What is API and how does it work?
The API works at 3 levels:
Application: These are the applications you use on your smartphone or software.
Programming: Programmers use APIs to write code.
Interface: How you interact with the app.
Example: Imagine a waiter in a restaurant. You are a client, choose an order from the menu. The kitchen is the executor of your order.
You need a middleman who will inform the kitchen about the order and bring you food to the table. It can’t be a chef because he cooks in the kitchen. You need someone to connect the customer and the chef. And here the waiter comes into play – the API.
The waiter accepts your order, brings it to the kitchen, says what you ordered. Then he delivers the answer, or food to you. Moreover, if done correctly, your order will not drop.
Application of API in WEB
The use of API for interaction of programs, services, clients with Web sites is very widespread recently, so there are a lot of examples of such use.
- Chat: Slack, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram
- Social networks: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
- Authorization and access: LastPass, OneLogin, One Identity
- Recommendations: Foursquare, Yelp
- Polls: Typeform, Form.io
- Online payment: Mastercard API, PayPal
- Media content publications: Youtube, Flickr, Last.fm, Vimeo
- Safety: PhotoCaptcha, Key Captcha
- Analytics: Google Analytics Management
- As well as services for quickly sending emails, using electronic signatures, Google Maps, streaming platforms or Wikipedia.
- Data import and export: 1С, Google Sheets, Google Forms
- Search for products and services
With external integration, you can significantly expand your business capabilities, automate data exchange and reduce manual work. Besides, integration with an external service can become an element of affiliate marketing.