Even when you have no idea what an API is, you’ve undoubtedly interacted with any of them.
As we speak, we take connectivity between applied sciences without any consideration. For instance, we don’t doubt that we use OpenTable to make a reservation at a close-by restaurant.
Alternatively, when you use Kayak.com to e-book flights, you most likely by no means requested your self the next query: wait a minute … how does Kayak know that JetBlue has a free seat in 27A?
Lastly, everytime you want functions to speak with one another, you want an API or an utility programming interface.
Right here we’ll discover what’s an API and why you would wish it. Even if you’re not a programmer and don’t have to grasp the technical jargon, you continue to want to grasp the fundamentals, as a result of these days, technological integrations are sometimes important elements of the work of every.
What’s an API?
In accordance with its most elementary definition, an API permits software program to speak with one other software program.
To know an API in motion, let's take a concrete instance: HubSpot's integration into Typeform . Typeform, a instrument offering ready-to-use questionnaires, contact kinds and registration kinds, should be built-in into the HubSpot kinds API to work together with the shape instrument and transparently ship Typeform kind submissions to the HubSpot CRM.
To do that, the Typeform API and the HubSpot API should communicate. An integration can act as a translator, guaranteeing that data from every API is appropriately translated for the opposite utility. On this case, the mixing can assure that the Typeform kind fields are appropriately mapped to the corresponding HubSpot fields.
Isaac Takushi, HubSpot Developer Assist Specialist, explains, "You’ll be able to think about the APIs and" endpoints "that they perceive as entry factors for various data. API endpoint can solely have one particular job.Nonetheless, when mixed, totally different terminals can assist highly effective multi-faceted integrations. "
Kayak.com, for instance, wants an API to speak with JetBlue methods. When looking for "Boston to Charlotte" in Kayak, the JetBlue Reserving API primarily receives this Kayak request, retrieves details about that request, and sends it again. Kayak will nonetheless want its personal API or code to grasp the knowledge returned by the JetBlue API and act accordingly.
use an API
To make use of an API, you typically want the API key as a result of most APIs want it. See the API documentation for entry circumstances. Then search for a web-based HTTP shopper, akin to Postman or Runscope. These instruments will allow you to entry the API along with your API key with little or no coding required.
To make use of an API, you could seek the advice of the API documentation for the entry circumstances. For instance, HubSpot's Contacts API requires authentication :
When you want entry, you should use a instrument akin to Postman or Runscope to manually work together with an API. These third-party instruments, or "REST shoppers," let you make distinctive requests to API endpoints with out encoding. They’re nice for getting an thought of what your backend methods can do routinely. Try this useful resource on the way to make your very first API request with Postman.
In case you are not fairly prepared to make use of a REST shopper with a REST shopper, attempt the next in your browser:
This can be a free API public service terminal REST Nations . Particularly, we use the "Identify" endpoint, which accepts nation names as search queries. A profitable search will return matches from potential international locations, in addition to key details about every nation. On this case, we’re in search of international locations whose identify comprises the phrase "united".
You need to see the next block of JSON Information returned:
Congratulations! You have got simply made an API request out of your browser!
The top system returned uncooked information (in JSON format) to international locations with the identify "uni".
This may occasionally not sound fairly, however keep in mind that the APIs are designed for functions that don’t require the model that people anticipate on an HTML net web page. Though you possibly can simply Google "international locations that begin with" united, "apps can’t." They might want to make use of providers akin to REST international locations to seek for this data.
In case you are undecided whether or not it’s best to use your inside builders to create APIs or view exterior functions, see API vs. third-party APIs: What You Have to Know .
Initially printed on Might 17, 2019 at 07:00:00, up to date on Might 17, 2019