by • July 31, 2023
APIs are bits of software that act as interpreters for two different programs. They’ll connect to each service via endpoints and relay messages back and forth, doing the work of software integration for you. But how does this actually look in the real world? Read on for some examples of APIs.
Here’s the key things to know about some of the examples of APIs in everyday life:
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APIs play a pivotal role in modern technology by enabling different software applications to communicate and interact with each other. APIs serve as intermediaries that allow developers to access specific features or data from a service or platform without having to understand the underlying code. Their versatility and functionality make them indispensable in various areas of our everyday lives. From social media interactions to accessing real-time weather data, APIs power numerous seamless experiences that we often take for granted.
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Public APIs, also known as external or open APIs, are application programming interfaces that are made available to developers and the public by companies, organizations, or platforms.
If you spend any time on Twitter or Reddit, you’ve probably seen a few bots. These bits of software make use of the open APIs of their respective websites to do just about anything. The Reddit or Twitter API sends a signal to the bots in response to a trigger event (such as a comment with certain keywords). The bot responds with the action it’s programmed to do. The result? A bot can send you reminders on Twitter to drink water, or a Reddit bot replies to your comments with the punchline of a joke.
Many web applications allow users to sign in with their Facebook, Google, Github, or other accounts instead of making an account directly. But that doesn’t mean they’re getting access to your social media. Instead, the app makes an API call to check if the user is already signed in to the third-party website. The API makes the confirmation, then handles the authentication in the app’s place.
With DreamFactory, you can implement this authentication feature in your own web app.
Do any online shopping outside of Amazon and you’ll see a “pay with PayPal” option at checkout. The API that powers this works similarly to the third-party login APIs mentioned above. Again, the store doesn’t directly access your PayPal account. It instead sends the purchase order to the PayPal API and PayPal handles the rest of the transaction.
Have you ever looked up the weather with a Google search? How about with a smart device? These apps aren’t gathering weather data by themselves. Instead, they’re gathering that information through the API of any weather service. It’s a simple matter of sending the API request to the weather service.
Private APIs, also known as internal or closed APIs, are application programming interfaces that are intended for use within a specific organization or company. Unlike public APIs that are accessible to external developers and the public, private APIs are restricted and accessible only to authorized users, usually within the same organization that owns the API.
Netflix, Spotify, and other streaming services have to distribute media to nearly any device. Whether the user is on a Windows PC, an iPad, a smart TV, or something else, there’s an expectation that they’ll be able to stream content. Streaming services get this done with an API, ensuring their content is compatible with any device.
Your bank makes use of an internal API to manage all aspects of your finances, from checking and savings accounts to credit cards or CDs. Customer service will require a different set of software than the technical aspects of account management, but these functions need to connect. An API keeps these departments tied together.
Do you have an outdated SOAP (simple object access protocol) web service? DreamFactory can help you convert that to a secure REST API (representational state transfer) in minutes. Sign up for our 14-day free trial and let our guided tour show you how.
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Businesses are using more apps today than ever before. There’s an app for every functionality, and a way to streamline every workflow. But you’ll also need a way to tie these services together with API integration. Implementing an API has a number of benefits, and it’s easier than you think with the right API tools. You can create a user interface with all the features and services you want, with no hassle. You could streamline your existing business process or even implement new technologies like automation. The alternative? A messy interface in which you spend more time shuffling apps than you do taking care of business.
Let DreamFactory help you build your new API from scratch or convert your SOAP web service to a REST API. Find the right product package for you and have an API up and running in minutes.
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API stands for Application Programming Interface. It acts as an intermediary that enables different software applications to communicate and interact with each other. APIs have a profound impact on our everyday lives, facilitating seamless interactions between various services and platforms, enhancing user experiences, and simplifying tasks in the digital age.
Social media platforms like Twitter and Reddit make use of public APIs to enable the functionality of bots. These bots respond to trigger events, such as specific keywords in comments, and interact with users accordingly. For instance, a Twitter bot can send users reminders to drink water, while a Reddit bot can respond with the punchline of a joke.
Third-party login systems, where users can sign in using accounts from platforms like Facebook or Google, utilize APIs to check if the user is already signed in to the third-party website. APIs handle the authentication process, allowing users to access services without creating new accounts on each platform.
E-commerce websites often integrate payment gateways like PayPal through APIs. When you select the “pay with PayPal” option at checkout, the store sends the purchase order to the PayPal API. The API handles the transaction securely, ensuring a smooth and reliable payment process.
Weather apps gather real-time weather data through APIs provided by weather services. When you check the weather through a smart device or search engine, the app sends an API request to the weather service, which responds with the current weather conditions and forecasts.
Streaming services like Netflix and Spotify use private APIs to ensure media distribution across various devices. These APIs allow content to be streamed seamlessly on different platforms, from smart TVs to smartphones. In financial apps, private APIs connect different departments, such as customer service and account management, to handle various aspects of user finances securely and efficiently.
To start building your own APIs, you can explore API development platforms like DreamFactory. With DreamFactory, you can quickly implement full-featured, documented, and secure RESTful APIs without writing extensive code. You can leverage your existing database to create APIs that power your applications effectively.
While APIs offer numerous benefits, security is a crucial aspect to consider. Both API providers and consumers must implement robust security measures to prevent unauthorized access and data breaches. SSL encryption, API keys, and authentication mechanisms are some of the common security practices used to safeguard API interactions.
Terence Bennett, General Manager at DreamFactory, has a strong operational, business, and extensive experience in government IT systems and Google Cloud. He started his career as a U.S. Navy Intelligence Officer, then honed his skills on Google’s Red Team and later became the COO of Integrate.io.
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