You may have the term Application Programming Interface (API) sometimes pass by. API is a kind of universal language in the world of software development. In this blog we tell you everything about what an API is, how it works and its benefits.

API meaning

APIs allow different computer programs to communicate with each other and exchange information. You can think of it as a bridge between two programs that allows them to share data with each other. 

APIs are essential in modern software applications. Thanks to APIs, you can easily integrate functions from different sources, such as databases, web services and mobile apps, among others. This allows us, for example, a seamless user experience, which deliver reliable and intuitive for our apps.

Google Maps example

You use APIs more often in your daily life than you realize. Consider, for example, e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and Zalando or the payment method PayPal, which all use APIs. A well-known API that everyone has used is the Google Maps API. It provides users with almost unlimited geographic possibilities at their fingertips. With the push of a button you know which restaurants and shops and others occasions are available relatively close to your location. Whenever you see opening times, ratings, contact details of a business on your screen, that's the Google Maps API in action. You request information, the Google Maps API retrieves this information from the relevant website and brings it back to you on your screen. So you can also see an API as a kind of messenger, handy right?

Below you will find a video that makes the function of an API even clearer by means of an example:

API link

You now have an idea of ​​what an API is, but what exactly does an API link mean? For example, imagine a webshop that uses a payment service. By means of an API link, the webshop can 'approach' the payment service and receive payments, without the user having to open the payment service himself. Both the webshop and the payment service have their own API. To allow these systems to exchange data, an API link is made between them. In other words: an API connection ensures that programs can automatically exchange information and use each other's functions.

The advantage of having your own API developed

Having your own API as a company brings several advantages. That's how it makes for one better integration between different systems and applications. For example, you can link internal systems with external customer systems. Or automate your own business process by making links between CRM, webshop or administrative software. In addition, having an API creates a new one source of income by selling access to other companies. Finally, it can lead to higher customer satisfaction. Customers can integrate your products and services more easily with their own systems and processes.

Have API developed by Coffee IT

As mentioned, having your own API made has many advantages. That is why dozens of customers have opted for an API developed by us. It is a good example of this project for the ROC Midden Nederland. For the students of the ROC we have developed an app with which they always have the current schedule at hand.

roc api

The challenge of this project was to align the backend of the ROC with the app so that the changes in the schedule are immediately effective. This was achieved by linking the schedule in the mobile app to the online SharePoint environment with a custom API. This is where the latest updates about the schedules come in and where they are therefore updated. As a result, the app now feels similar to similar calendaring features, with the user always up to date with the latest changes to their schedule.

Would you like to know more about APIs and how they can improve your business processes? If API developer experience we have already helped more than 150 companies. Contact us without obligation for advice.

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