What is an API? (Programming Interface Guide)

What is an API? (Programming Interface Guide)
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Despite not being visible to the end consumer, APIs are increasingly present in the daily lives of companies, improving the user experience and making processes more effective. 

What is an API?

API is the acronym used for Application Programming Interface. 

What is an API then? 

It is a way of integrating systems through protocols used in the development of applications. That is, an API is a tool that allows communication between applications through software to share their actions, standards, etc.

Because of this, we can say that an API helps improve the productivity of your team, in addition to optimizing your business, once with this technology you stop doing a series of repetitive or complex activities, and your work becomes more efficient.

What is an API for?

How many things can be connected by a bridge? Probably more than we can imagine. The same goes for the API: this type of software development services has infinite applications. To give you an idea of ​​the main uses, we have selected four scenarios where the API is present in our lives.

It serves to integrate users and companies

When you buy a product online, how does it get to your home? The custom software development company apparently uses APIs to communicate with delivery companies, ensuring packages are picked up as quickly as possible and tracked as they go.

Used to verify financial information

Have you ever wondered how a bank knows whether or not to offer credit to a person? Or how do fintechs know exactly when to increase your credit card limit? Financial institutions use private APIs to track and manage checking accounts, credit cards, and other data. They can do this to monitor your purchasing pattern, make sure you pay your bills on time, among other things.

Used to distribute content

Streaming services , such as Spotify or Netflix, use APIs to distribute content stored elsewhere as requested by the user. After all, when you choose a song to listen to or a movie to watch, you are making a request to the platform, which responds with the action of making that content available to you.

API Types

When we talk about API types, there are several criteria we can use to classify application programming interfaces. In this article, we will focus on the structure of APIs, ok? Following this criterion, we will have three types of API: private, partner and public. Check out!

Private API

The private API is used internally to facilitate the integration of different applications and systems used by a company. It is often implemented to streamline infrastructure, reduce costs, increase flexibility, and optimize internal operations.

API Partner or Partners

The Partner API is used to facilitate communication and integration of a company’s software and the systems of its other companies, with which it has a business relationship. For example, an online store can use an API to connect its system with a payment processor such as Wirecard or Paypal.

Open Source or Public API

Also known as a public API, the open source API allows companies to publicly share information and functionality of one or more systems with third parties with whom they do not necessarily have a business relationship. It is often used to increase traffic and reach.

What are the advantages of the APIs?

As any element of the Industry 4.0 solution , APIs are capable of delivering several benefits thanks to their use.

In continuation, the main ones:

  •  Access to APIs guarantees greater flexibility in information transfer processes. Through them it is possible to create application covers with the aim of distributing information to different audiences.
  •  lt can serve as a solution to create differentiated experiences for the user, allowing you to adapt protocols, functions and commands according to specific requirements.
  •  When content is published automatically and available on multiple channels simultaneously, APIs allow data to be distributed more efficiently.
  •  One of the greatest benefits of APIs is the ability to adapt to changes through data migration and service flexibility.

How do you use an API?

We have seen what an API is, its uses and types. But how to use an application programming interface in real life? Here are some ideas.

Email automation

For example, to establish the automation of emails that you send according to the interactions that a customer makes on your website, you need information from two sources: from the website and from an email sending application. The API is responsible for establishing communication between these applications.

WhatsApp Business

If messaging applications are part of your company’s reality, the WhatsApp Business API can be a great ally in your interactions. It allows you to automate messages, report order status and notify multiple customers at once; and best of all, automatically.

CRM software

CRM software are very practical examples of application programming interface. Ultimately, these software are responsible for centralizing information that comes from other applications and allowing actions, such as sending email marketing, for example.

Telecommunications software

Another example of what an API is and how to use it are software from which calls can be made without the need for a telephone, such as those used in call centers . The API’s job is to share information from a telecommunications service with your software that makes the calls.

Examples of APIs in everyday life

Although we often do not realize it, there are many types of APIs that are present in our daily lives, making our daily lives easier. Check out some of the most popular API examples!


Facebook is one of the greatest examples of APIs and we have a hard time understanding why. Being the most used social network in the world, it is common for more and more developers to make investments for Facebook. 

So that you understand what an API can be like, we explain: how many websites or other applications, like Uber, for example, allow you to register using your Facebook account? So, that’s an example of an API: the exchange of information between applications.

Google Maps

Google Maps for Business is another example of how an API is used. Imagine you have a hotel, for example, and you put the address on the website. To explain how to get there more simply, you also add a Google Maps map. Therefore, the Google API integrates your site with the search tool.

Payment systems for e-commerce

Application programming interfaces can also be useful in e-commerce sites, for example, using payment systems, such as Paypal, which allow customers’ payment information to be integrated with their banks. In this way, APIs offer security when making this information available.

Chatbot API: how does it work?

When we talk about API for a chatbot, we are thinking about a bridge between a need and an action. Imagine that your mother’s birthday is approaching and you want to buy her a gift in a virtual store. After choosing the product, you need someone to transfer your money to the company and guarantee the purchase, right? This invisible person is an API. In this case, a typical e-commerce payment API, which connects your financial information to the store’s system.

But if you have a question when researching products or want to ask a question about shipping methods, for example, the chatbot API comes into play.

When you send a message using your favorite messaging application and the bot responds to your statement with some type of action, you are looking at a chatbot API. The action performed by the robot can be to provide you with a precise answer, recommend an article in the help center, or even ask you other questions to clarify the type of request.

In other words, the chatbot API allows developers to use natural language processing to respond to the user, based on the intent of the message.

Since it works as a bridge between your need and the solution, the chatbot API must be well designed. After all, each person expresses themselves in a different way and technology must be able to understand the intent and respond accordingly.

Author Bio:

Glad you are reading this. I’m Yokesh Shankar, the COO at Sparkout Tech, one of the primary founders of a highly creative space. I’m more associated with digital transformation solutions for global issues. Nurturing in Fintech, Supply chain, AR VR solutions, Real estate, and other sectors vitalizing new-age technology, I see this space as a forum to share and seek information. Writing and reading give me more clarity about what I need.