In today's digital age, Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have become an integral part of businesses, connecting applications and data to deliver better products, services, and user experiences. For companies and organizations looking to use cloud technologies, APIs are essential. However, understanding how APIs work and how to manage them can be a daunting task for many companies. 

While APIs have a lot to offer companies looking to use the latest technologies to improve their organizations, tackling APIs alone can be quite the challenge. If you want to reap the benefits of API integrations without having an in-house API management team, then working with an API management platform might be a great investment for your company.

Here are 5 things you need to know about APIs:

  • APIs allow multiple applications to talk to one another by providing a set of functions that allow applications to access data and interact with external software, operating systems, and microservices.
  • Common examples of API functions include deleting and creating products, updating product data, and manipulating HTML using javascript.
  • There are different types of APIs, including REST APIs, SOAP APIs, browser APIs, and iOS/Android APIs.
  • Common API integrations include banks and financial institutions, weather reporting apps, travel booking websites and apps, and entertainment streaming services.
  • API management platforms aid in distributing, controlling, and analyzing the APIs that connect applications and data, and they include important components like API gateways, developer portals, reporting and analytics tools, and lifecycle management tools. The benefits of API management include increased agility, a seamless user experience for customers, and better protection and security for APIs.

In this article, we'll explore the basics of APIs, their common functions and types, how they work, and the benefits they offer to businesses. We'll also delve into API integrations, and the role of API management platforms in distributing, controlling, and analyzing APIs for increased agility, seamless user experience, and improved security. So let's dive in and discover everything you need to know about APIs and API management.

Table of Contents 

Understanding APIs 

An Application Programming Interface, or API, consists of a set of functions that allow applications to access data and interact with external software, operating systems, and microservices. The biggest thing to understand about APIs is that an API is what delivers a user’s response to a system and then sends back the system’s response to a user. Essentially, APIs allow multiple applications to talk to one another.

Common API Functions

Some common examples of API functions include: 

  • Deleting products or product categories.
  • Creating new products and product categories.
  • Updating product data.

Common Types of APIs 

The following are the most common types of APIs: 

  • REST APIs: The Representational State Transfer or REST APIs deliver data using the lightweight JSON format. Many public APIs are based on REST API technology, as REST APIs are known for their reliability, scalability, and ability to perform quickly. 
  • SOAP APIs: The Simple Object Access Protocol or SOAP APIs use XML to transfer data. The SOAP APIs are a bit more complex and require more upfront data compared to the popular REST APIs.
  • Browser APIs: Using javascript, browser APIs manipulate HTML to create a unique experience within a browser, like playing music or displaying animations. 
  • iOS/Android APIs: The iOS/Android APIs are primarily used to transmit data to a phone’s hardware and use different sensors in the hardware like the phone’s camera. 

APIs allow multiple applications to communicate, but how do they actually work? 

Related Reading: 13 Great Reasons To Add APIs To Your Business

How Do APIs Work?

To understand how an API works, it’s best to liken an API to a translator who helps two people who don’t speak the same language to communicate. Essentially, for machines or applications trying to share information, an API works as the translator or middleman between them. Read on to discover some common API integrations and the benefits these integrations can bring to your business.

Related Reading: Everything You Need to Know About API Integration

Common API Integrations 

Some common examples of API integrations include: 

  • Banks and Financial Institutions: Utilizing API integrations is very common in the banking and financial industries. Oftentimes, banks and other financial institutions utilize APIs to send and receive important data regarding a customer’s credit card, checking account, transactions, payments, and other sensitive financial information. 
  • Weather Reporting Apps: Another industry that heavily relies on APIs is the weather app industry. These apps use APIs to collect weather information from multiple third-party platforms, allowing their users to check on the weather conditions of any location all within the same app. 
  • Travel Booking Websites and Apps: Many travel booking websites and apps also utilize APIs. In this scenario, these websites and apps utilize APIs to collect flight and hotel availability from multiple third-party providers. Through this system, users are able to find the best travel deals all within the same app or website. 
  • Entertainment Streaming Services: Popular streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, and Spotify also use APIs to distribute their music and video content to millions of users around the world. 

Related Reading: Top 100 API Integrations

Common Benefits of APIs for Business

The following are some of the most common benefits APIs have to offer your business: 

  • Increases Productivity 
  • Improves Collaboration 
  • Encourages Innovation 
  • Allows for Customization 
  • Saves on Cost 
  • Creates New Revenue Opportunities 
  • Enhances Customer Experience 
  • Improves Marketing 
  • Collects Data for Intelligence Analytics 
  • Builds New Product Capabilities 

What Is API Management? 

APIs certainly have a lot to offer businesses. However, trying to design, publish, document, and analyze APIs in a secure environment can be a laborious task to take on alone. The good news is that there is a solution, and that’s where API management comes into the conversation. Essentially, API management platforms aid in distributing, controlling, and analyzing the APIs that connect applications and data. Read on to learn more about the common components of API management as well as the common benefits an API management platform can bring to a company. 

Common Components of API Management

The following are the common components that make up an API management platform:

  • API Gateway: The most important aspect of an API management platform is the API gateway. The API gateway handles all routing requests and translations between applications or machines. The API gateway also plays a crucial role in ensuring the security of all API connections.
  • API Developer Portal: The primary purpose of the API developer portal is to provide a self-service hub for developers to access and share API documentation easily. This is essential for maintaining function within all API connections.
  • Reporting and Analytics Tools: The reporting and analytics tools available in API management platforms allow businesses to track important data and metrics.
  • Lifecycle Management Tools: The lifecycle management tools are essential within the API management platform as they allow for the longevity of API connections. 

The Benefits of API Management  

Some of the most common benefits of API management include:

  • Increased Agility.
  • Seamless User Experience for Customers.
  • APIs Are Better Protected and Secure.

Overall, the fundamental goals of API management platforms are to allow businesses to create or use established APIs and ensure public and internal APIs are functioning properly and remaining secure over time. For businesses looking for a sustainable solution for building, testing, onboarding, and managing APIs, working with an API management platform is a great idea. 

Related Reading: Common API Management Tools and their Usage

How Can Help

If you’re looking to begin incorporating API integrations and management tools into your business, can help. From automation to scalability to communication to redacted errors, there are a variety of benefits that API integration with can provide to your company. As a leader in the industry, the API will allow you to create clusters, run jobs, monitor the progress of these jobs, and terminate any jobs or clusters that are running. 

Are you ready to see what benefits's API Management can bring to your company? Contact our team today to schedule a 14-day trial and see how we can help you reach your goals.