There are some acronyms used in tech talk that the average person skims past, pretending as if they know what it means, but really just doing the “nod and smile” when others use them. API is one of those. It’s time to turn those fake nods into real ones!
(acronym) Application Programming Interface
1. A scary acronym representing something to do with computers
2. API, or Application Programming Interface, is simply a set of instructions an operating system has that lets other people use that system for other applications.
Real life situations are always best for explaining technical stuff, so remember when we posted about the feud between Instagram and Twitter? Part of that feud was when Twitter turned off the API feature that let you find friends on Instagram. Basically, they turned off the instructions that allowed Instagram to communicate with Twitter and find your friends.
Developers use API to gain access to certain parts of existing software and add on to it without having to start from scratch.
A daily way you might use API is when you visit a site that asks you if you want to “Log in with Facebook.” API has made it possible for Facebook and that site to work together, seamlessly.
“It’s like a power socket that allows you to quickly plug in your own bit of code, instead of having to design the complete power plant and grid to create and redistribute electricity.” (Telly One)