APIs are all around us; even when we are not aware of them, we rely on multiple APIs when we use our favourite software applications daily.
For instance, when you open the Google app on your mobile to get weather updates for the day, the weather data you see is pulled through an API. Google sources the weather information through a third party, in this case, the Weather Channel, and shows it to you upon your request.
Another common example is when you sign up on a new application, let’s say a gaming app, and it gives you the option to log in using Facebook, Twitter, or Google. This feature is incredibly convenient for users because they can sign up with the click of a button instead of creating a new account by manually filling out all the details. Behind the scenes, this is made possible by login APIs. Login APIs by Facebook, Twitter, and Google authenticate the user and provide the identification information to the new app for easy sign-up.
These are just some of the examples of how we interact with APIs on a daily basis. But before we answer how API Development Companies can help a business, let’s first understand what APIs are?
What is an API?
The Application Programming Interface (API) is a set of instructions or requirements that allows one software system or mobile application to use services and features of a third-party app or platform. APIs helps two or more software to communicate with each other and implement the services and features of one software in another. Today, software development is greatly dependent on APIs because it simplifies the process of development and enhance the user experience of the software.
An API is a bridge between two software products or services that helps them communicate, share, and retrieve data easily. APIs are also helpful because developers are not required to write a new set of instructions every time as the same API can be used for different applications and platforms. These are the reasons why API Development is valuable for developers and businesses with software products and services.
Types of APIs
Here are some the examples of APIs that we use every day:
- Payment Gateways
- Facebook API
- Google API
- SMS API
- Yahoo API
- Two-Factor Authentication
- Oracle-based API
- Twitter API
- Skype-based API
- Shipping Method API
- .NET API
- Weather API
- Email API
- IP Geolocation
- News API
- Chat API
- Search API
- Wiki API
- Facial Recognition API
- Blogging API
From the development perspective, most API development companies categorize APIs into 4 main types: Public, Private, Partner, and Composite APIs. Each type of API is different in terms of how it is written and integrated.
API development companies also refer to public APIs as ‘open APIs’. Public APIs are accessible to everyone without any restriction; developers can freely integrate public APIs in the code of other software applications.
Private APIs, also known as internal APIs, are not publicly available. API development companies design private APIs to integrate systems within a company so teams can use different internal systems efficiently. Companies that use internal APIs also require system integration services that can integrate their internal systems for a seamless exchange of information.
Similar to private APIs, partner APIs are developed to be used by selected and authorized parties or “partners”. Partnership enterprises seek API integration services to facilitate business-to-business activities and joint projects.
Composite APIs refer to a set of programming instructions that combine two or more data and service APIs. When executed, composite APIs speeds up the process by running a chain of different tasks at the same time.
Benefits of APIs - Why are APIs important for businesses?
Custom APIs are beneficial for businesses in more than one way, especially those that have software products. Here are some of the benefits of API development for businesses and developers.
Opportunity to promote your product
Business with software products can promote their products through third-party services with the help of APIs. A product API will help them reach a larger customer base and grow their business.
Efficient internal business processes
Oftentimes businesses don’t realize the value of internal APIs and assume that an internal API is not needed. But a private API that is designed as per the exact needs of the organization can improve the enterprise software systems and make the internal business processes smoother and more efficient.
Reduction in Cost
From a development point of view, APIs are cost-effective because they save the time and efforts of developers. Instead of spending time on needless development, developers can make use of APIs of existing third-party tools and products and save a good amount of development time and money.
Offer additional functionality
By using third-party APIs, businesses can offer additional functionalities to their customers and improve the value of their products. Additional functionalities can make the product more competitive and increase its revenue potential.
Enhanced internal collaboration
Businesses that rely on different disparate software systems such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, accounting software, inventory control system, demand forecasting software, etc., can improve the collaboration between them by integrating the apps using APIs. This will not only streamline the flow of information but also enhance team collaboration.
API Development Cost
Cost is an important consideration when it comes to API development. The cost varies depending on a number of factors such as the location of the API development companies, the technical requirements, and the scope of work. The cost of developing an API can fall anywhere between $5,000 to $50,000 and more in some cases. But remember that the services of an experienced API development company will be on the pricier end but they will guarantee that your custom-built API is fully-secure, reliable, well-documented, easy to integrate, and stable.
A secure and well-built API can do wonders for your business and product. Whether it is an internal API developed to streamline the internal processes of your business or an API for your software product intended to improve your product and increase your business potential, it is important to choose the right API development partner.