“API” – standing for Application Programming Interface – is a term that, five years ago, was familiar to web programmers but very few outside of IT. Today, however, APIs are becoming an increasingly critical part of corporate strategy and outreach, saving money while creating new business opportunities.
What Is An API?
Simply put, an Application Programming Interface is a small piece of programming code that acts as an interface, or translator, between two larger independent pieces of software. It allows them to interact via a standardized method, potentially joining them together at the user level.
As a simple example: Have you noticed how practically every app on your mobile phone has a feature that ties it into Facebook in some way? That’s because Facebook has a set of APIs which can be freely used by app developers. Rather than going to the time and effort of making a deal with Facebook directly, developers can simply download the APIs and make use of it to connect their services to Facebook. This is the essence of API integration.
What Can API Integration Do?
A better question might be “what can’t API integration do?” There’s almost no limit to how programs can be tied together via API.
Also, APIs can substantially cut costs on internal program development. It’s becoming increasingly common for programmers to be tasked with adding a function to their software, only to discover a freely-available third-party API already adds that functionality. Problem solved, for a fraction of the cost.
This goes far beyond software. A great example would be Walgreen’s Pharmacy, which had been struggling in the digital age. Then they released a set of APIs connecting third-party apps to their photo department. Suddenly, photography apps could let their users send photos straight to Walgreens for physical printout, and Walgreens saw a huge boost to their photo business.
APIs Bring Expansion
For a company, an investment into APIs means expansion and new partnership opportunities. They can connect you and your partners more seamlessly than ever before. They can make life easier for your customers. They can take a physical business into the digital realm.
Brandmovers offers robust API integration and development services. Contact us today to learn more about it.