APIs are defining today’s web experience more and more. For developers and other tech-savvy people, knowledge of APIs and their functions is taken for granted. The larger public, on the other hand are left without much of a clue about another technology-related term to tackle. Since APIs are increasingly defining our web experience, it helps to learn how they work and maybe gain a little appreciation in the process.
API Crash Course
“API” stands for “Application Programming Interface.” To explain it in the most basic terms possible, it is a programming language that determines how two applications can interact with each other. API is most often used to add or enhance the features of a pre-existing site or application. Some everyday examples that use an API to function are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google. This can be seen in the way users can sign up for certain sites by using their Facebook ID, or by sharing online content through Twitter via an icon on a website.
Benefits of Utilizing an API
Why should average users be concerned by these interactions? For one, APIs are currently responsible for the large part of users’ web experience today. The in-depth and varied ways websites are now able to interact with each other as well as with outside programs would be impossible without the help of APIs. APIs are responsible for almost everything – from Facebook to the Apple Store.
Developers are using APIs to improve on their products either through features or via cross-platform interactions. There is even a growing trend that goads developers to create so-called “mash-ups.” A direct offshoot of the buzz, mash-ups are both a conglomeration of APIs from different sources (websites or services, for example) and completely new applications and services.
APIs have created a whole new level of interactivity in our web experience today. Since there is still much potential for them, it goes to say that APIs will gain even more attention from developers and average users alike. The possibilities seem endless at the moment, and many industry insiders are excited to know how APIs will develop in the future. Stay tuned and watch for upcoming developments for application developers over the coming years.