You might not be moved to send a dozen roses to the creators of your favorite APIs, but those of us in the DevOps community have likely declared our love for an API or two recently. By enabling systems and applications to interface with one another in order to send and receive information and resources, APIs are a lifesaver for developers working on websites, apps, and other digital elements. They help us to work quickly and efficiently, making our jobs faster and easier.
So, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, here’s an ode to APIs and a closer look at why they have become the objects of our affection.
What is an API?
If you’ve never used APIs before, here’s a short explainer video of what to expect when you “swipe right” for the first time. API stands for Application Programming Interface, and is a set of definitions, protocols, and tools that allow technology products and services to interact and “speak” with one another.
Using APIs, developers have access to specific functionalities that they can use to build or add to their software and applications. APIs help to speed up the development process because they enable the creation of reusable components and allow for integration with other systems and services.
APIs: Friends with benefits
Once you begin spending time with APIs, you’ll quickly realize why they are a developer’s best friend: they bring valuable benefits to the development workflow by enabling easy functionality, integration, and automation.
Forwarding-thinking DevOps teams are embracing APIs to gain a variety of advantages and benefits.
APIs help them accomplish the following five things:
1. Provide a foundation: APIs act as building blocks by providing a standardized way for different software systems to interact and exchange data. By obtaining specific functionality through an API, developers can use that functionality as a building block in their own applications, without having to recreate it from scratch. This helps developers to efficiently build more complex applications. For example, an e-commerce website might use multiple APIs to handle tasks such as payment processing, shipping calculation, and product recommendations. APIs can also be used as building blocks to add things like navigation or personalization to a mobile app.
2. Reduce development time. Using APIs prevents developers from having to “reinvent the wheel” and spend time creating functionality that already exists elsewhere. Using the pre-existing capabilities of APIs allows DevOps teams to build and launch software and applications much faster than they would if they had to start from scratch on every required feature and function. This reusability is key for reducing overall development time.
3. Foster innovation: Looking to bring the latest technology “bells and whistles” to your app or website? APIs enable developers to turbocharge their projects with next-gen capabilities like image recognition and natural language processing methods, among other things. By providing a standardized way to access advanced functionality, APIs bring innovation to the forefront. Developers can use these existing capabilities in new and innovative ways that serve a specific purpose for the software or application they are creating.
4. Increase productivity: Not only do APIs reduce the overall time and effort required to create each component, they can dramatically boost overall productivity by simplifying and streamlining the development process. Because developers can more easily prototype and create new products at scale using APIs, they are not wasting time recreating solutions that already exist.
5. Provide monetizing opportunities: While we’re all crushing on APIs for their ability to help with development workflow, they also offer an additional benefit in the form of monetization. Companies can charge fees to software teams at other organizations who wish to access their APIs. Monetization models can be based on factors such as the number of API calls, the volume of data transferred, or the level of support provided. As APIs continue to prove their value, the focus on generating revenue from them is likely to continue growing.
APIs, you complete us…
It’s not hard to see why APIs are the new darlings of the software world. Enhancing the development workflow by enabling productivity and innovation while also offering an additional revenue stream, APIs truly are a great match for DevOps teams. For this reason, we believe the solutions offered by Rapid can deliver the right value for developers and enterprises alike, tackling the challenges of developing and managing APIs for the digital economy. Visit Rapid’s Enterprise API Hub to find and implement the tools that will take your relationship with APIs to the next level.
Rapid’s top Love APIs
You never know when you might need to add a dash of romance to a system or application. Here are the top love-based APIs available on the Rapid API Hub: