Meta Description: We all have numerous applications in our smartphones that we love using for various everyday tasks. And Application Programming Interfaces (API) connect these digital gadgets with each other and online resources. Here are five examples of APIs we use every day.
Did you know that you’re probably using many different API accesses every time you operate an app or surf the web? It’s true: whether you’re having fun playing games like Book of Ra or downloading software for employee management, API connections power these online activities. You can think of them as software-to-software interfaces that make it possible for servers and applications to exchange functionalities, information, and much more. But since APIs remain working silently in the background, most of us are not aware of them. So let’s shine a little spotlight on the five most common APIs everyone uses daily and get to know this helpful middleware. Here we go.
1. APIs Help You Leverage Third Party Sites
You’ve probably noticed that after you’ve downloaded a new app and start creating a username, you get offered a choice to do it via a third site. The most popular option is letting you sign in with your Facebook account. But does that mean the app will get access to all your pictures and a list of friends, etc.? The short answer is no. Instead, the app uses an API integration that first looks up whether you’ve signed in on Facebook (or on any other third-party website). If you are, the API confirms and authenticates your person without the app’s participation.
Using a third-party API can also lend other site’s data and functionalities for your application. For example, many weather forecast sites enable you to display their measurements for free. And the best part is that you don’t need to spend time updating the information. It gets done by the third site for you.
2. Making Streaming Available
Spotify and Netflix are perhaps the best-known streaming services that need to ensure their content is consumable on different devices. Whether people have a smart TV, an Android phone, or a MacBook laptop, they expect to get to consume the media. And it’s made possible by an API, meaning that it helps to make the streams compatible with a wide variety of digital appliances.
But streaming APIs, by definition, help to deliver any data in real-time. Social media platforms also use them to distribute videos, audio clips, and other content instantly and accurately. For example, on Twitter, this type of API enables you to stream public Tweets. It allows you to display them, along with relevant metrics, in real-time.
3. APIs in Banking
Internal APIs get utilized by banks in almost all online operations. They handle all aspects of money management, from credit cards to savings accounts, etc. Plus, the thing is that banking involves different services that all have their specific technical aspects. So managing accounts and customer support, for example, function with separate sets of software. And whenever these departments need to connect, an API ties the different functions together.
API development in banking has accelerated in the last years because people have grown accustomed to great apps like Airbnb’s and Uber’s. So they expect more from the applications of financial institutions as well. Customers want to track their expenses, categorize their payments, learn about specific bills, and much more. And APIs make it possible for banks to provide these functionalities.
4. eCommerce APIs – Everyone’s Using Them
If you’ve bought anything online (except from Amazon), you probably noticed the option of paying with PayPal. This popular payment gateway connects with the eShop via an API that’s very close to the one that’s handling the above-mentioned third-party login. And it’s worth mentioning that the online retailer does not gain access to your PayPal account. It only transfers your buying request to PayPal API, and the rest of the transaction gets handled by PayPal.
In the world of eCommerce, the speed of the checkout process is vital for a successful conversion rate. Whenever a customer feels like it’s taking too long to complete the purchase, they are very likely to abandon it. So, using different payment gateway APIs to enable paying without a credit card can give small business owners a competitive edge. But the use of APIs in eCommerce does not end there. The websites for online stores need to connect with services, from labeling to invoicing to shipping. Thanks to APIs, companies can streamline all their logistics operations on one platform.
5. APIs in Gaming
In Video Gaming, APIs share embedded content (settings, data, rules, etc.). API specifications also help to manage the game database, retrieve data and statistics, and much more. And that’s extremely useful for developers looking to integrate online gaming stats into their apps. Social gaming involves vast amounts of data, and it would be impossible to update all of it in real-time without APIs.
APIs also provide winning records, scores, and other historical data on online casino sites. As a result, players can place bets much faster. Plus, thanks to APIs, all the information that shows contestants’ account statements, betting history, bet details, etc., can get incorporated into applications. That makes holding online poker tournaments much less demanding.
All developers should keep a close eye on API security and make all the data exchanges happen safely. Most of the information APIs process and connect is highly sensitive, like credit card numbers and passwords. Plus, hackers can also compromise the digital infrastructure of the enterprise. So to protect your network, it’s mandatory to use a strong authentication in place whenever someone tries to access the APIs. You can even opt for more advanced solutions like encrypting your traffic with Transport Layer Security (TLS). This nifty feature hides all the data you’re transmitting and is recommended when handling credit cards every day.
So these were our API examples that many of us use every day. They help us connect different functionalities and web resources into a seamless flow that makes services from streaming to banking to gaming possible. Hopefully, the next time you use an API, you’ll notice it delivering a complex service to your app or webpage. Recognize the API working and use it in your own creations. The possibilities of convenient API combinations are limitless.
Which API automation gets used in your favorite apps are used. Let us know in the comments.
Jeffrey Bishop is a web designer who creates applications and APIs. He believes good web design starts from aiming to create the best possible user experience. Jeffrey also enjoys writing blog articles about app building and development. It’s a good way for him to keep up with the latest trends.