Posted on 05-25-2012
One of the best ways to explain what APIs are to someone sitting next to me on the plane is to find something the user does every day, that is driven by an API, and explain how an API drives the functionality they take for granted.
I tend to look for industry specific examples if they are an accountant or stock broker, but the most common example I use, is Facebook. Facebook is technology everyone I meet has exposure with.
My story always starts with Facebook.com, and how the social networking website was built for people. People go to www.facebook.com and they see HTML web pages, that allow them to interact with the community.
Next I move to the Facebook application on their mobile phone. While the application is built for people to use, the application needs a way to talk with Facebook--in comes APIs. APIs are a way for other programs to interact with Facebook, providing a interface for developers to build applications that use Facebook.
When you first login to Facebook on your mobile phone, the applications makes a request to the Facebook Authentication API, and gives your mobile application rights to interact with your Facebook account on your behalf.
After your logged into the Facebook application on your mobile app, every action you take will make an API call. When you click on your news feed, update your status, look at photos or check-in to a place, they each represent a different call to the Facebook Open Graph API. The Open Graph API exposes almost every aspect of Facebook as a programmatic interface that applications can use, hence the name Application Programming Interface (API).
Most online technologies that you use everyday have APIs. Amazon, EBay, Facebook, Twitter and Google all have APIs, allowing developers to build applications on top of their businesses, turning their websites into web services.
With the grwoth of the smart phone and tablet markets, the number of, and usage of APIs are exploding, silently driving the mobile applications like Facebook that are part of your everyday lives.
comments powered by Disqus
Winning in the API Economy
|Download as PDF|
Latest Blog Posts
- What I Have Been Calling API Trends, Are Slowly Being Baked Into API Operations
- FDA Finding Their API Mojo With A New Drug Label API
- Adding PokitDok To Healthcare Research And The API Stack (Well They Did)
- Why I Am Continuing To Integrate Zapier In My Business Workflow
- Who Is Going To Build The Uber API Platform For The Sharing Economy?
- The API Focused Dev Shop
- Route SMS Messages To Google Spreadsheets Via Twilio API With TwilioSheet
- Publishing Your APIs To Product Hunt
- Providing Users With Reciprocity Tools So Important Intuit Purchases itDuzzit
- Bing Developer Assistant for Visual Studio Delivers Relevant API Code
- Average Number of APIs Used In A Modern App
- An APIs.json Collection Of API Resources Across Your Public, Partner Or Internal Resources
- One Possible Reboot Of The API Stack
- How Are Dev Shops In Chicago Using APIs? A Talk With Bryson Pouw At Blaze Portfolio
- Every API Provider Should Have A Logo And Branding Page
- What Is An API First Strategy? IT architecture And Catalyst For Engagement
- The Speed Of Federal Government When It Runs On Github
- Swagger, APIs.json, And Review For The New Developer.Trade.gov
- Student, Instructor, Classroom, Class, And Course API Planning At BYU
- Can You Add My API To Your Website Listing?
- Adding Google To List Of API Deployment Companies
- What Is An API First Strategy? Adding Some Dimensions To This New Question
- The Five Month Journey Toward A Stable APIs.json Discovery Format
- How Are Mobile Dev Shops In Chicago Using APIs? A Talk With Dave Devitt At SYDCON
- An API Case Study Format From Google Cloud Platform