Let's say you want to order a cheeseburger with extra cheese from a variety of options on the menu at a restaurant. After making your decision, you tell the waiter, “I want a cheeseburger with extra cheese.”
The waiter writes down your order and delivers it to the kitchen team, who prepares your meal according to your specifications. When your meal is ready, the waiter picks it up from the kitchen and brings it to your table. After reviewing it to make sure everything is just like you ordered, it's time to eat!
Now, what does it all mean? Well, it's interesting to know that waiter in this scenario closely resembles an API(Application Programming Interface) on the modern web in their role of delivering data(Instead of food) from third-party products(Instead of the kitchen).
Shortly, an API:
- Receives a set of instructions (a request) from a source (such as an application or engineer)
- Takes that request to the database
- Fetches the requested data or facilitates a set of actions
- Returns a response to the source
APIs ensure that data extracted from one application is formatted and passed on securely and accurately to the next, regardless of the associated applications' changes. In other words, APIs allow different systems to communicate seamlessly and quickly.
But why is it so important? Well, APIs speed up the development process, offers a better customer experience, and generate additional revenue(Because products can get to market faster, companies have more freedom to experiment and find new ways of generating revenue).
Many popular products are also using APIs. For example, Uber applications use Google Maps API to pull out the location data. That is why the term "API Economy" is transforming the world, connecting all the points(products) to build a vast network.
“The world is on course to having a trillion programmable endpoints and the momentum behind serverless, multi-cloud, and APIs are increasing into this year, so the world will probably double the number of endpoints that are generated. This is going to create all sorts of new problems that need to be solved: autonomous management of APIs, to improve coder productivity, new programming languages and cloud abstractions to remove complexity,” said Tyler Jewell, the managing director at Dell Technologies Capital.
APIs let us connect other third-party products, like puzzle pieces, to build a fully-functional product. Eventually, Wish Work has used APIs from third-party products(We will talk more about third-parties) like other big companies to avoid reinventing the wheel. As a result, our processes have been fast and feasible, allowing us to complete our projects as quickly as possible.