What is an API why we use it?
API stands for (Application Programming Interface) most widely used by programmers and developers around the globe.
Each time you use an app like Facebook, send an instant message, or check the weather on your phone, you’re using an API.
Over the years, what an “API” is has often described any sort of generic connectivity interface to an application. More recently, however, the modern API has taken on some characteristics that make them extraordinarily valuable and useful:
- Modern APIs adhere to standards (typically HTTP and REST), that are developer-friendly, easily accessible and understood broadly
- They are treated more like products than code. They are designed for consumption for specific audiences (e.g., mobile developers), they are documented, and they are versioned in a way that users can have certain expectations of its maintenance and lifecycle.
- Because they are much more standardized, they have a much stronger discipline for security and governance, as well as monitored and managed for performance and scale
- As any other piece of productized software, the modern API has its own software development lifecycle (SDLC) of designing, testing, building, managing, and versioning. Also, modern APIs are well documented for consumption and versioning.
Why we use API?
Whether you’re managing existing tools or designing new ones, you can use an application programming interface to simplify the process. Some of the main benefits of APIs include the following:
- Improved collaboration: The average enterprise uses almost 1,200 cloud applications (link resides outside of IBM), many of which are disconnected. APIs enable integration so that these platforms and apps can seamlessly communicate with one another. Through this integration, companies can automate workflows and improve workplace collaboration. Without APIs, many enterprises would lack connectivity and would suffer from informational silos that compromise productivity and performance.
- Easier innovation: APIs offer flexibility, allowing companies to make connections with new business partners, offer new services to their existing market, and, ultimately, access new markets that can generate massive returns and drive digital transformation. For example, the company Stripe began as an API with just seven lines of code. The company has since partnered with many of the biggest enterprises in the world, diversified to offer loans and corporate cards, and was recently valued at USD 36 billion (link resides outside of IBM).
- Data monetization: Many companies choose to offer APIs for free, at least initially, so that they can build an audience of developers around their brand and forge relationships with potential business partners. However, if the API grants access to valuable digital assets, you can monetize it by selling access (this is referred to as the API economy). When AccuWeather (link resides outside of IBM) launched its self-service developer portal to sell a wide range of API packages, it took just 10 months to attract 24,000 developers, selling 11,000 API keys and building a thriving community in the process.
- Added security: As noted above, APIs create an added layer of protection between your data and a server. Developers can further strengthen API security by using tokens, signatures, and Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption; by implementing API gateways to manage and authenticate traffic; and by practicing effective API management.
That’s all for this Article. Keep growing Everyone ❤
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