The world is built around great relationships: William and Kate, Barak and Michelle, Posh and Becks. The same can be said for computers, and in particular the internet. If individual websites were just that, having no interaction with each other the web would be nowhere near the all encompassing, all knowing tool it is today. There are many factors which make this possible but perhaps the most important in allowing different sites to interact with each other is API’s. A set of requirements which allow one application talk to another and create the content which we as users rely on so heavily.
Almost every application, website and program will contain API’s which allow others to connect with them and share their data by defining how a program will interact with the rest of the software world. It’s the availability of API’s from web giants such as Google and Facebook which have allowed people to create entirely new apps and services and made the World Wide Web into the powerhouse that it is today. API’s will be in use every time you use the web, and recently when you use your Smartphone.
Developments in the technology behind API’s have allowed companies such as yelp to benefit from providing them with abilities such as using Google Maps to display nearby bars and restaurants on its app. Another good example to look at is how game developers allow players to post high scores via Facebook while still playing their game. They can also allow online content to stay up to date; advancements in technology introduced from other companies can be added into existing content hassle free. Allowing the content to stay relevant and in line with what consumers demand.
API’s can be especially useful for smaller and start up tech and internet businesses as they allow them to ‘piggyback’ on some of data from much larger companies without ever having to have a relationship on agreement with them. This has allowed for smaller companies to create far more advanced online material without access to the complex data themselves. When Netflix first started up, it offered a public API which allowed third party developers to highlight content which was available through Netflix’s DVD and streaming catalogues. This API has since been removed but it illustrates the help that they can give to smaller companies who want to expand their online business.
From developing new online content to allowing existing content to be available to view on Smartphone and tablets, the reach that API’s allow web developers to have is huge. Whether you’re a company looking to expand the reach of its online content or even a small start up online developer, API’s can help you to create the content that you need completely free of charge, without the need for an agreement with larger online companies. Through simplifying the development process of online content, more imaginative, functional and helpful content can be created for users of the web. In short, API’s make it possible for relationships to form between websites and programs to improve the intelligence, resourcefulness and responsiveness of the World Wide Web.