Planet of the APIs
First off, what is an API? There are plenty of detailed courses and articles all over the internet that describe the technical components of how API's work and how to implement them on your website or software. If you're like me, all this technical information will fly right over your head like a Boeing 747. Instead of regurgitating all the technical components, I'm going to make things easier and present you with a simplified conversation about what API's are, what they can do for your organization and who you should have work on your API implementation.
In Layman’s Terms
An API (Application Programming Interface) is a request from one computer software program to another software system. Once the receiving software gets the request or instructions, if properly setup, the software returns the information to the original software that made the request.
The information you could be requesting could be literally anything. You could be requesting access to Facebook, you could be retrieving real-time weather reports from AccuWeather or you might be accessing directions from Google Maps relating to your current GPS location.
According to the DevPost: Student Hacker Report, some of the most popular API's were the aforementioned Google Maps and Facebook, as well as Twitter, PayPal and Spotify, among many others.
So What Does This Mean For You?
All these fancy API's are pretty interesting, but how can the average Joe like you and I use them? Well, to be honest, we think it's best to leave it up to the experts. Don’t get me wrong, you can go out and learn advanced programming and software development, but that certainly takes some time and effort.
A faster and and more effective solution would be to hire an experienced API integration team that can set up your systems to relay your information seamlessly, so that your data is automatically and consistently being conveyed across all platforms and programs used at your organization. Basically, an API integration team can synchronize your multiple systems, making life easier on you.
I'm lucky. I work at a custom software development firm that has a full team of qualified software developers and computer programmers who can help me with any API concerns or data retrieval inquiries I may have. Most people don't have that luxury. API's can do some remarkable things and having them implemented correctly can really save you time and relieve stress.
My suggestion to you is do some research about how and which API's could benefit your website or systems and then contact a professional system integration team to inquire about the project. Since data retrival and efficient access to information are vital to any business, having API's established throughout your systems will save countless hours of your time that could be focused on more pressing matters. Integrations and API's may seem daunting, but with the right team and the right solutions in place, you'll definitely reap the benefits!
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Thanks for reading!