Even when you do not know what an API is, you’ve got undoubtedly interacted with one.
As we speak, we take connectivity between know-how largely as a right. As an example, we do not query once we use OpenTable to make a reservation at a close-by restaurant.
Alternatively, should you use Kayak.com to e book flights, you’ve got most likely by no means questioned, Wait a minute … how does Kayak know JetBlue has an open seat in 27A?
Finally, any time you want purposes to speak with each other, you want an API, or software programming interface.
Right here, we will discover what an API is, and why you’d want to make use of one. Even should you’re not a programmer and do not want to know in depth technical jargon, you need to nonetheless perceive the fundamentals, since these days, integrations between know-how are sometimes essential parts of anybody’s job.
What’s an API?
At its most elementary definition, an API lets one piece of software program speak to a different piece of software program.
To grasp an API in motion, let’s contemplate a real-life instance — HubSpot’s integration with Typeform. Typeform, a software that provides mobile-ready quizzes, contact varieties, and signup varieties, must combine with HubSpot’s Forms API to to work together with the varieties software and seamlessly ship submissions from Typeform varieties into the HubSpot CRM.
To do that, Typeform’s API and HubSpot’s API want to speak. An integration can act as a translator, making certain every API’s data is accurately translated for the opposite software — on this case, the combination might make sure that Typeform type fields are accurately mapped to the corresponding HubSpot fields.
Isaac Takushi, a HubSpot Developer Assist Specialist, explains — «You’ll be able to consider APIs and the ‘endpoints’ they comprise as entry factors for various data. Every API endpoint might solely have one particular job. When mixed, nevertheless, totally different endpoints can assist highly effective, multifaceted integrations.»
Kayak.com, as an example, wants some API to speak with JetBlue’s methods. Once you search «Boston to Charlotte» in Kayak, JetBlue’s reserving API will basically obtain this request from Kayak, pull up data associated to that request, and ship it again. Nevertheless, Kayak will want its personal API or code to grasp and act on the data the JetBlue API returned.
How one can use an API
To make use of an API, you typically want the API key, since most APIs require it. Check out the APIs documentation for entry necessities. Then, discover an HTTP consumer on-line, reminiscent of Postman or Runscope. These instruments will provide help to entry the API together with your API key with little or no coding required.
To make use of an API, you will wish to try the API’s documentation for entry necessities. As an example, HubSpot’s Contacts API requires authentication:
After you have entry necessities, you should utilize a software like Postman or Runscope to manually work together with an API. These third-party instruments, or «REST purchasers,» mean you can make one-off requests to API endpoints with out coding. They’re nice for getting a really feel for what your backend methods might do robotically. Take a look at this resource on methods to make your very first API request with Postman.
In the event you’re not fairly prepared to leap in on the deep finish with a REST consumer, attempt punching the next into your browser:
This can be a public API endpoint from the free REST Countries service. Particularly, we’re utilizing the «Identify» endpoint, which accepts nation names as search queries. A profitable search will return potential nation matches, together with key details about every nation. On this case, we’re looking for nations with names that comprise the phrase “united.”
You must see following block of JSON knowledge returned:
Congratulations! You simply made an API request out of your browser!
The endpoint returned uncooked knowledge (formatted in JSON) on nations with «united» within the title.
It could not look fairly, however keep in mind that APIs are designed for purposes, which do not require the styling people count on on an HTML net web page. When you can simply Google «nations that start with ‘united’,» purposes can’t. They may should depend on providers like REST International locations to search for that data.
In the event you’re not sure whether or not you need to use your in-house builders to create APIs or look externally, try First vs. Third-Party APIs: What You Need to Know.
Initially revealed Could 17, 2019 7:00:00 AM, up to date Could 17 2019