CR Terminology: API

As there are many terms to such a large project like Elastos and Cyber Republic, we’ve decided to build a growing glossary of terms that can help the less technically acquainted understand better what the tech means and the impact it could have. In this edition we’re focusing on the term API (Application Programming Interface)

Term: API

An application program interface (API) is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. Basically, an API specifies how software components should interact. Additionally, APIs are used when programming graphical user interface (GUI) components. A good API makes it easier to develop a program by providing all the building blocks. A programmer then puts the blocks together. – Source

Example

“An API is the messenger that takes requests and tells the system what you what you want to do and then returns the response back to you. To give you a familiar example, think of an API as a waiter at a restaurant. Imagine you are sitting at a table with a menu of choices to order from and the kitchen is part of the system to prepare your order. What’s missing is the critical link to the kitchen and to deliver your food back to your table. That’s where the waiter, or API, comes in. The waiter is the messenger that takes your request, or order, and tells the system, in this case, the Kitchen, what to do, and then delivers the response back to you, in this case, the food. Whenever you think of an API, think of it as a waiter running back and forth between applications, databases and devices to deliver data and create the connectivity that puts the world on our fingertips” – Source

All e-commerce websites in today’s marketplace utilize APIs. For example, websites such as booking.com, kayak.com, and priceline.com utilize APIs from various hotels, airlines, and car services to give users access to various deals all around the globe. Without APIs, these travel providers cannot import the information needed in order to give consumers the relevant information they seek to make to make purchases. 

Building APIs help expand the outreach of a companies brand, creates a mechanism for outside collaboration and innovation in marketing the brand, and ultimately builds new revenue streams for the company.

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