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What are APIs?

Also known as: Application Programming Interface

APIs are mechanisms that enable two software components to communicate with one another, by using a set of definitions and protocols, essentially creating a common ‘language’. There are four ways that APIs can work depending on when or why they are created. These are SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), RPC (Remote Procedure Calls), Websocket & REST APIs.

To begin, Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) define how a software can request another software to provide data or to perform a task, by specifying what requests can be made, and what data format to use. There are three types of APIs which can be used: private (for internal use only), partnered (shared with specific partners to provide additional revenue streams) and public (allowing third parties to develop apps that interact with your API to encourage innovation).

An example of how an API is used is travel booking sites, which use APIs to get flight and hotel availabilities from providers, allowing them to aggregate thousands of live flight and destinations to show the cheapest options to their customers.

In the telecoms space, a common example we see is these services offered by service providers for clients to program their applications to automatically request services while they’re running.

The world today requires 24/7 availability, ever-increasing connectivity, and a reliance on data. These trends have created new challenges for businesses and APIs are increasingly the answer in for both consumer and business environments. They have transformed the way businesses interact with each other and the way they provide value to their customers by increasing automation, improving collaboration, simplifying innovation and enhancing security.

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