If you want to learn about APIs, you’ve come to the right place! API stands for application programming interface. APIs are the little pieces of code that make it possible for digital devices, software applications, and data servers to talk with each other, and they’re the essential backbone of so many services we now rely on.
Digging deeper, an easy way to understand the definition of an API is to think about the applications that you use every day. In an internet-connected world, web and mobile applications are designed for humans to use, while APIs are designed for other digital systems and applications to use. Websites and APIs both do the same things, like return data, content, images, video, and other information. But APIs don’t return all the details that are needed to make things look pretty for the human eye—you only get the raw data and other machine-readable information needed behind the scenes to put the resources being delivered to work, with very little assistance from a human.
What is API integration?
“API integration” is a pretty common Google Search term, and we have good news. The whole reason APIs exist is to support integration. API integration is simply the connection between two (or more) applications, programs, services, or systems, using APIs. Applications use APIs to send and receive data and content between each other. Keep reading for a history of APIs, what they’re used for, examples, and more.