An Application Programming Interface (API) is a software intermediary that serves as a communication link between myriad applications within an enterprise.
Apart from facilitating connectivity between applications through integration, devices or programs, it also processes requests and streamlines functions in a business ecosystem.
APIs allow an organization’s products or services to communicate with other products and services without having to know how they are implemented. They enable developers to make repetitive yet complex processes usable with little coding. This can simplify the app development process, saving a great deal of time and money. As a result, development teams can place their focus on governance activities rather than on their daily operational role.
Because APIs simplify the process of integrating new application components into existing architecture, they not only help developer teams take up the governance role but also collaborate. This speeds up their productivity.
In short, APIs help organizations become more flexible. They simplify design and administration and offer opportunities for innovation.
Types of APIs
After understanding the importance of APIs, one must become wary of the numerous types. One can find a host of APIs (almost 1500) in the ProgrammableWeb.
For example, Java APIs – these application interfaces within classes allow objects to communicate with each other in Java. Another example of an API is a web API, such as the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), Remote Procedure Call (RPC), and Representational State Transfer (REST).
1) Help Enhance Team Productivity
API Integration platforms are extremely effective in boosting productivity for members of the IT department, especially developers and coders. It helps in better time management, as hours can be spent fixing, overseeing, managing, and creating APIs, instead of anything else.
API integration platforms help make a difference for other departments as well. It helps develop stacks but also allows non-technical teams to manage and create APIs as well.
2) Create new APIs easily & quickly
Not so long ago, when a company needed an API, they had two options. Either they used what was readily available to them or they built a new one from scratch. In both scenarios, difficulties were bound to occur. While employing what is available can bring limitations, building a new one can be time-consuming and expensive to boot.
With an API integration platform, companies can create APIs easily with just a click. This saves time along with money and increases efficiency.
3) Greater Ease in Composing New Apps
Did you know that Instagram had only 13 employees when Facebook bought it in 2012? WhatsApp also had only 55 employees when Facebook purchased it in 2014. So how did these corporations manage to build such widely successful apps with small teams? They managed to do so because of APIs.
An API integration platform can make a world of difference in such a case, as it allows businesses to create their own APIs for internal uses. Businesses can also extract data from older databases and servers easily by reusing workflows and business logic that works.
Most popular apps are constructed from existing technology that is combined to create unique APIs. Social media technology and photo filters used to exist before Instagram, but they used APIs to package them together in a completely different manner. Composing new apps can be done in the same manner, as teams can use an API integration platform to quickly connect with disparate technology and expose existing integrations as microservices or APIs for bringing new apps into the market.
4) Helps Manage API Individually
The maintenance and oversight of API will fall on IT staff members and developers in the business, even if the API was built by a third-party. As it becomes more common to use APIs, tracking all of them can be time-consuming and exhausting. This is where an API integration platform makes a world of difference since it helps reduce the administrative burden. It also simplifies the overview, management, and security processes.
5) Because it’s better than doing it alone.
Whether self-created or third-party APIs are in use, businesses typically have no one to turn to for help. APIs made by outside parties might offer user guides and documentation, but good luck getting in touch with the likes of Google or Amazon for any specific queries.
API integration platform providers often have in-house experts that can be called upon if necessary. This level of support can go a long way toward ensuring that a business is getting the most out of all of its APIs and other IT investments.