The Power of APIs: Is API Integration Good for Small Businesses?Authored by: Nataliia Popova, DocuSend.
In the most basic of terms, an application programming interface, or API, is an application that carries messages back and forth between two or more other applications so they can work seamlessly together. In terms that are slightly more technical, it is a type of programming architecture that connects—creates an interface between—programs or systems.
And that’s as technical as we’re going to get in this article. Here’s what you really need to know: APIs can give a boost to a wide variety of businesses. Is your company one of them?
Where Do We Already Use APIs?
Whether you know it or not, you have been using various types of APIs to make your daily life easier.
If you have used a service that allows you to compare prices for a certain product and the addresses of stores that sell it, or if you have booked a hotel, this information was displayed on one site through an API that integrates with the site of the store or hotel.
If you have ever used data synchronization between your Google account or your social media, watched a YouTube video with a review of the product directly on the website that sells it, used an application that checks the grammar and spelling of your written text, or ordered a taxi or delivery with an app using Google or Apple maps, an API definitely took part in the process. APIs enhance the efficiency of the Point of Sale (POS) systems used in many of the locations where you do your shopping. It is also API technology that is used in e-commerce to pay online when you enter your card details to make a purchase without leaving the page to switch to a payment system. Through an API, the information displayed on the widgets of your phone is updated. APIs have made many amazing things possible: using an API, you can even control home appliances or a quadcopter via the internet.
API technology can also extend the functionality of your business’s website or software.
Let's dive deeper into this area.
Where Can My Business Use an API?
Modern web applications provide APIs that can be used to communicate between different programs. Think of an API as building a bridge between programs using software code. This lets you “borrow” the functions and capabilities of other software and use them in yours. If you are a business owner, your customers can seamlessly enjoy the functions that another service provides without leaving your site. Or maybe you want to add new, useful functions to software you use within your company. An API is a ready solution that removes the need to develop your own innovations from the ground up. APIs save you time, money and effort by simplifying tasks for both programmers and software owners.
APIs As a Ready Solution
Development teams offer practical, easy-to-use APIs as stand-alone, off-the-shelf products to help businesses. People not closely associated with programming can use them to perform many complex tasks without having to understand how they work—or even know they exist. Many API solutions allow you to save the time and effort of completing the usual processes and reduce the costs for equipment and hiring more employees. Like DocuSend’s API, which makes printing and mailing a snap.
With so many companies taking advantage of API solutions for their business, now is a better time than ever to join forces with other software providers. It’s just about one of the most cost-effective technologies around today.