If you’ve ever met with a software developer, or are at all familiar with software packages, you have probably heard the term “API.” In short, “API” stands for “Application Programming Interface.” That’s great to know, but what does that mean? And is it even relevant to you?
Now if this is the first time you’re hearing of API, you may be surprised to learn that you’ve probably already interacted with one (or several!) today. Essentially, APIs are how programs communicate. Here are some examples of how you may interact with APIs, even as a non-programmer.
Did you happen to ask Google about the weather this morning? Or maybe you booked a flight via a travel site like Kayak to get the best rate for your next business trip?
Of course, these are just a couple examples of API usage we see in everyday life. Since Google can’t possibly be the experts of everything, they use APIs to outsource data to give the best answers to questions in snippets such as the current weather. Additionally, travel sites like Kayak or Expedia use APIs to aggregate flights and hotels and showcase in a convenient way for the consumer.
Think of APIs as a key; by utilizing them, you gain access to all sorts of useful information for your business. Dashboards can give a business owner reports to help them make decisions that will benefit the company. With help from APIs, a business owner can compile some stats or reports they’d like to access at a moment’s notice.
Not long after the popularization of the Internet came online shopping. It’s convenient for consumers and helps shop owners expand their markets. Have you ever wondered about how this inventory could possibly be managed? It’d be time-consuming, expensive and frankly, not worth it if a business owner had to manually update details each time an item was sold. Luckily an API can do most of the work so that a business owner can save time and reap the benefits. An API can be utilized to update inventory numbers automatically or even create a label once receiving a purchase order.
Another interesting way APIs are used in ecommerce involves social media. While browsing Instagram recently, you may have noticed a small shopping bag appear on a picture. Thanks to APIs, Instagrammers can purchase items without leaving the app.
There are many other uses for APIs, especially for developers, and we’d be happy to explore those with you to find a business solution for your company.