Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) allow developers to use features from other apps in their own applications. For example, when a retailer lets you search for the nearest store on their website, and see the results and driving directions on Google Maps, its developers will have used APIs created by Google to access the functions in Maps that make that possible.
- don’t have to write every feature they need from scratch, but can make use of code that’s already been developed and tested.
- don’t need to understand the detail of how the system behind the API works, either — just what operations they can ask it to perform and what output they should expect to get back.
The result is that they can deliver feature-rich apps more quickly and — if the whole team is drawing on a common pool of APIs — ensure features look and work consistently across all of the business’s software.
APIs don’t just control access to software and data sources but also to hardware. If your want to use fingerprint authentication in your banking app, for example, you can use the API provided by a phone’s operating system. There’s no need to write your own code and test it with every manufacturer’s fingerprint sensor.
Similarly, if you want to help a gardener identify a plant or a pest, you can use the API for the phone’s camera — together with Google Cloud Vision API — to build a solution that compares an image taken on a phone with your own database of images.
Taking an API-first approach to development means your business can:
- develop apps and services more quickly, helping your organisation become more agile and responsive to new business opportunities and to deliver faster on your digital transformation strategy
- create richer, more connected experiences for customers that will enhance customer satisfaction and engagement, increase revenues and improve profitability
- give your workforce integrated tools that let them get the job done from one place — without needing to repeatedly switch apps — boosting both efficiency and employee satisfaction
- create integrated supply chains that allow you to share data seamlessly with partners in end-to-end solutions
- make it easier for people to interact with you — whether they’re customers or employees — by using a standard set of APIs to give them a consistent experience across all your systems
At Ancoris, APIs are at the heart of the agile software development process we use to help customers deliver digital transformation initiatives. For example, we used numerous Google APIs to build the exam platform for Google for Education. To find out more about how to you should be using APIs in your business, come and talk to the experts on our Digital Transformation team.