What is it?
- An application programming interface (API) provides standardized, open access to an application service or a data set; it is decoupled from the actual user interface of the application.
- A set of subroutine definitions, protocols, and tools for building application software, APIs provide the building blocks for developers to compose and enrich their application leveraging data from multiple sources. With more and more companies opening their data sources through means of APIs, we no longer have to build all our services.
- APIs can be managed as a product through API management platforms; they take care of versioning, scalability, quality, and monitoring of actual use.
- APIs can be built on top of existing applications in order to provide more flexible access; new applications typically come by default with a set of accompanying APIs.
- APIs can be exchanged with the outside world.
How do we use it?
- Of Salesforce’s daily use of core application services, more than 70% is based on API usage rather than through the browser user interface.
- The New Zealand Post provides a special developer resource center that enables its customers and partners to implement digital solutions by integrating their applications with the New Zealand Post’s APIs.
- A European tax agency rebuilt its entire core system as a set of micro services and APIs, enabling any flexible solution to be developed on top of it.
- IBM’s Watson’s Cognitive capabilities are exclusively available through APIs.
- Simplification of the application portfolio, as well as better and more flexible access to existing and new application services by both business and IT sides.
- Monetizing and enriching application services through the publication of APIs to customers, partners, and external developers.
- Leveraging external API catalogs for ready-to-use application functionality and very specific IT services.
- Dedicated API management platforms
- API management open standards
- The Open API Initiative
- API marketplaces