Application Programming Interface (API)

What is an Application Programming Interface (API)?

An Application Programming Interface (API) is a way for computer programs to communicate with each other. It’s an interface that offers a service to other pieces of software. APIs allow software to be abstracted and for different developers, teams and even organisations to work together.

Consider the analogy of going to a fast food restaurant to order food. You walk up to the counter, check the menu and tell the cashier what you would like to order. The cashier informs the kitchen and a short while later your order is ready and you can enjoy the food.

An API is not too different from ordering at a fast food restaurant. The cashier and menu act as an interface between you and the kitchen. You tell the cashier what you want and without having to worry about the chaos of the kitchen your order magically appears. The same is true of an API. You specify what you need from the API, then it goes away to do some work and comes back with what you need. You don’t have to worry about what happens behind the scenes in the API, it just gives you what you need so you can get on to focus on more interesting things.