Welcome to the Kiiff Blog. Today we will explore a development oriented term called an API. API’s are fantastic for web developers, and non web developers too, and help ease the workload that can come with coding an application or website. So…
What is an API?
API stands for Application Programming Interface. It is used to make the job of programmers easier as they develop their applications. It is also used to aid users in interaction with an application. It is easy to think of as a library, where code that has already been written is stored and ready to be used whenever a developer needs it. Essentially, the developer will make an API call when they want to access some kind of functionality inside of it. This way, they don’t have to rewrite code that has already been written, nor do they have to understand how it works. They just import it and use the commands that are laid out already for them. This saves developers lots of time in building their applications.
APIs also can assist in application integrations. If you need Twitter, for example, in your web application or otherwise have to interact with it’s core code, you would make use of the one that Twitter provides. Another example that I have personally used is an application called Braintree. This is a payment system that was developed by PayPal so that people can pay on Ecommerce sites with various methods. This API has all of the coding done for the developer already, they just have to put the things they want where they want them; so in this case it’d be on a final buy page. These packages are also very flexible and can be deployed through a number of languages including PHP, the Java Spring framework, and the .NET framework.
It wouldn’t be a complete thought talking about APIs without their keys. These keys have a simple function. They are a code passed in when a program calls on an API to identify the calling program, its developer, or its user to a website. Many APIs have a terms of service, and one of the uses of the key is to track and control how the API is being used, for example to prevent malicious use or abuse it.
I hope that this has given you a broad and helpful idea of what an API is and what it is used for. These packages are important bits of code that add tremendous functionality to applications, as well as save developers time in the long run.