Today we live in an API-centric world and you likely use APIs regularly without realizing it. If you use an app on your smartphone such as your social media app, you interact with APIs. APIs are what makes it possible for you to use your favourite software applications by facilitating them to send and retrieve data on your command. Before we begin our discussion on development and integration of API, let’s first understand what APIs are.
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What is API?
API stands for Application Programming Interface. API is a set of instructions, definitions or protocols that allow the software to interact with other software applications, platforms, or devices. An API of a software is a set of code that can be added to the code of another software system enabling it to send, retrieve, and exchange data upon request and use its features. For instance, Facebook’s API can be added to a software’s code to allow it to employ features of Facebook within the application and transmit data to and from Facebook. In simpler terms, API is a piece of code that makes it possible for both the software applications to communicate and exchange data.
Today, APIs are an integral part of software development. They serve various purposes. For instance, they simplify and speed up the process of development as developers can use available APIs to incorporate additional functionalities in the software without having to write the custom code for them. This saves development time and makes it easier to add features and functionalities from other providers.
3 Different Types of APIs
APIs are everywhere around us, and they can be categorized into three main categories:
Private APIs, as the name suggests, are APIs that are not available for open use by the public. Private APIs are intended to be used within an organization or are only used by parties that are authorized to access them. If a business has created private APIs for its software, then only developers from within that organization can use these APIs to create new software systems. This is the case with most internal business applications.
Unlike private APIs, public APIs are open to use for the general public. These APIs can be accessed and integrated with external software without any limitations. Some public APIs are fully open which means all their features are available publicly for free. However, some public APIs are paid which means the developing party needs to pay subscription fees to use the API. YouTube API is a popular example of a public API.
Partner APIs are created to allow software integration between two parties. If two businesses have agreed upon a partnership, they can authorize each other to use and share their APIs. This is an example of partner APIs.
What You Need to Know About API Development and Software System Integration
Imagine you are the owner of a software product, and you wish to develop custom APIs of your software to ease data sharing and cooperation with other applications and third-party software. Developing custom APIs is something you probably can not manage on your own unless you are a software development wizard. It is wise to consider API development companies that are specialized in developing custom APIs and ensuring a smooth integration process.
Many companies provide business-specific API integration services to cater to unique requirements that an organization might have. They analyze the requirements and develop fully custom, secure, reliable, and easily integrable APIs for mobile, web or cloud-based solutions. With the help of an API development company, you don’t have to worry about any aspect of your API as the company takes care of the development, documentation, testing, and integration of APIs.
Find more about it at: https://www.goodcore.co.uk/services/api-development/
When you choose to work with a service provider that’s specialized in developing custom APIs, you go through the following steps:
The first step of the process of developing APIs is ‘Consultation’. Here you have a thorough discussion with the company about your precise requirements and goals. This helps them devise a clear plan for developing APIs that meet your specific requirements.
The next step is where the API development company designs and develops the custom API for your software. The API is designed after consideration of your requirements and other important aspects such as security and backend specifications. Once development is complete, the development teamwork towards the safe implementation of the APIs and smooth integration with the backend systems.
Depending on your contract, the software company might offer management services post-implementation to ensure that your APIs deliver high-performance without any issues. Their app maintenance and support service would take care of any bug or issue that may arise after the API is implemented.
Some Common Examples of API Integrations
If you want to use the data and software of a brand within your custom software applications to offer third party services then API integration is a way to achieve this in a secure way. The API of the branded software will be added to the code of your application so data can be smoothly transferred and fetched on request. Companies offer standalone system integration services to integrate APIs of branded software within your software.
Some common examples of API integrations services include the integration of payment gateways to allow secure payment processing within software applications. Integration of PayPal, Stripe, Amazon Payments and WePay are few examples of payment gateway integrations. Another famous example is the integration of SMS APIs in software systems that allow the app to send information such as code, confirmation and updates via SMS on the user’s mobile network. Similarly, another popular category of API integration is the integration of social app’s APIs. These include integrating APIs of Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Skype, Instagram, etc. With the help of these APIs, the software application can send and retrieve data from social media apps. An example of social media API integration is when you sign up to a software using Facebook or Gmail. Instead of creating an account manually, when you sign up using your social media account, the app where you are creating your account sends data to the social media app and retrieves your information to create your account in a few simple steps.