Application Programming Interface (APIs)
API stands for application programming interface. In definition, an API is basically a set of protocols, tools and routines that are used to build software applications. In lay man terms, an API is a programming language that allows communication between two different applications. The main use of APIs is the enhancement and addition of features and functionality to either one or to both applications. Though they are primarily designed for programmers, users can also use them. For those who use desk tops and laptops, APIs are in use a lot as they allow the movement of information between programs. APIs basically show how a program or an app will interact with other software out there. APIs help to save resources, time and even get rid of legal issues that may arise. With APIs, various applications on the web can share data and even carry out actions on behalf of each other without the need for the developers of the software having to share their codes which is just great.
APIs play various roles, for example, with APIs, social media is more easy to track and even more profitable. This is mainly because majority of the tools that businesses use today rely heavily on APIs, for example, Twitter, Flicker, Face Book, drop box and Google Maps, let other smaller apps use their APIs to operate. For instance, you can play a game while you chat on face book and you can even invite friends on face book to try out the game.
There are several advantages that accrue from using APIs. For instance, APIs play a crucial role when it comes to creation of new apps that tap into big services. An example would be the developer of a game using the face book API or the Drop Box API to allow users to store their saved games other than have to work out another completely new cloud storage option from scratch on the other hand; APIs can help in saving time. APIs are also quite advantageous in the sense that they offer convenience. A good example of this would be Face book whereby face book users can sign in into so many apps using their Face book IDs. This feature basically relies on Face book APIs to operate. APIs furthermore make it possible for developers to use a mix of APIs from big companies to come up with completely new apps and services for users. APIs have gone a long way in improving the modern web experience. For example, YELP app for android uses the Google Maps API to locate places rather than create its own maps.
There are also several disadvantages of using APIs. For example, APIs are not available forever, it may be available today and yet tomorrow it cannot be accessed. Twitter is an example of this, whereby it limited third party applications use basically meaning that all alternative twitter clients were done away with. The discontinuation of such services can leave you in a mess if your app depends on such APIs to operate.