What Is API and What is It Used for When You Work With Data?

Have you ever, when exploring an open data site, observed that there is an API among the download possibilities? Do you know what an API is and what is it used for? Here is explained everything about API and other doubts so you can take advantage of that application.

The Application Programming Interface

The Application Programming Interface, also known by the acronym API, is a set of subroutines, functions and procedures (or methods, in object-oriented programming) that offers a certain library to be used by other software such as an abstraction layer. They are generally used in programming libraries.

In the simplest terms, an API is a model that allows “your things” to talk and work with “your things”. Your things, in this case, are known as the “API endpoint”.

What is an API EndPoint?

An Endpoint or API endpoint is the destination of the API requested by the owner of a website. If a content management system (CMS) requests access to an API, the CMS serves as the endpoint of the API. It is important that websites work well so that they can become safe and supportive endpoints for developers who want to share their data.

Why are APIs important?

One of the first questions that many marketing professionals ask is: why do all these companies share their data openly and for free?

Normally, the answer is: scale. As software companies grow, the staff of these companies quickly realize that they have more ideas than time and resources to develop them.

By creating APIs, companies allow third-party developers to create applications that can improve the use and adoption of the core platform. In that way, a company can create an ecosystem that depends on its API data, a dynamic that often generates additional revenue opportunities.

How to use an API?

Understanding the value of a particular API essentially consists of understanding what information is available through an API and how it can be accessed. To know what an API can do for you, you can do one of two things. Ask a web developer to find an API and discuss it with you, or do the research on your own. If you do not have access or budget to use a web developer, this is an attractive option. But do not worry, many online services have good API documentation. Also, stoplight is here for you. You can find many information about this and similar topic.

Image Credits: TestDevLab

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