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In 10 points, what is an API?

  • Guide

You have often come across the word API on the web without necessarily knowing what it means? An API for application programming interface allows communication between two applications. If this notion is so popular in the world of web development, it is not by chance. The use of an API allows you to use an existing program instead of developing it again. This is a real time-saver. If you want to know more about what an API is, please read this article.

Why an API?

An API is useful for making data or functionality available to an existing application. This allows other applications to use them. Without APIs, applications such as Zapier or Integromat would not exist. In addition, it would be impossible to share an image on a phone. As you can see, the interconnection between applications is based on APIs.

The example of the Spotify and Google Home API

When you give the instructions "OK Google, turn off the music", the reason the music turns off is because Spotify and Google Home have an API. This creates an interconnection and data transfer between the two applications. API stands for Application programming Interface.

The word Programming suggests that APIs are only for developers, programmers or anyone who knows how to use machines through a programming language such as Python or JavaScript. However, it is possible to communicate with a computer in another way. This is the NoCode. There are a variety of NoCode tools. For those who know, NoCode allows you to create websites and applications without having a lot of knowledge. Indeed, it is the APIs that make NoCode possible.

Zapier is possible because the APIs exist

Zapier is a tool for automating processes with several applications. This is possible because all these applications have an API. For example, Qonto has opened up its API to connect to various applications.

What is an API?

An API is nothing more than a set of protocols to facilitate the creation and integration of software applications. It is an acronym that stands for "Application Programming Interface". APIs allow a product or service to communicate with other products and services. This is done without knowing the details of their implementation. They simplify the development of applications. In addition, they save time and money.

The example of Uber and Spotify

In the Uber app, it is now possible to play Spotify music directly. This is due to the Spotify API. It's the same with platforms like Facebook. It's because it has an API that the site manages to get your first and last name and email address so that you can connect to the services.

What does an API look like? GET, PUT, POST, DELETE?

In the world of APIs, there are 4 main verbs such as GET, PUT, POST, DELETE. GET is used to retrieve information. Thus, every time you go to a website, you generally GET. The POST allows you to create or submit data. As for the PUT, it allows you to make modifications. Finally the DELETE allows you to delete.

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How to read an API documentation?

Knowing the above verbs allows you to read API documentation. For example, on the Spotify API website, you will know how an API works. It gives an explanation of everything that can be done with the API. It also gives some information that may not be useful to you.
What you need to check is the reference. You'll find several APIs including search, follow, playlist, player and artist. As you can see, these mini APIs allow you to control Spotify. If you want a list of all the artists on your account, you need to do a GET followed by the URL.

Using an API without coding using Postman

You can test the API through Postman. This is a tool that allows you to make API calls without necessarily being a developer. You can take a URL, go into Postman and select GET. Then you have to put the URL in question and press send. You will then receive a response.

But why do we need an API?

An API has many advantages. For example, if you want to create a mobile application to display random pictures of a dog, you would have to upload lots of pictures in order to display them. With an API, you can do this quickly without wasting time. It's the same if you want to make a mobile app that displays the weather, your stock price or your crypto-currencies. There are APIs for almost every need and most software has them.

APIs are the backbone of NoCode. It is therefore important to understand how they work. They simplify the way developers integrate new application components into an existing architecture. They make it easy for IT and business teams to work together.

It is not uncommon for business needs to change rapidly due to the constant evolution of digital markets. By implementing a new application, competitors can create major changes across the industry. To remain competitive, companies need to support the rapid development and deployment of innovative services.

In order to increase the speed of development, the implementation of cloud-native applications is an effective way. This requires connecting a microservices application architecture via APIs. These are an excellent solution to easily connect your own infrastructure with cloud-native application development.

APIs also allow you to share your data with your customers. Public APIs can simplify your relationship with your partners. They can also be used to monetise your data.

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