API History & Benefits

APIs are enabling more advanced & better connected solutions

API is the abbreviated term for an application program interface which is a set of routines, tools, and protocols for developing applications. An API specifies how the software components should interact. The joy of an API is that their increasing popularity and accessibility allows organisations to connect their applications with third party systems to achieve an automated result. During our last check via the API directory on the Programmable Web we found over 500 pages of available APIs available to use!

API History

The first web based APIs were introduced in 2000 when Salesforce, eBay & Amazon all launched their offerings to help developers connect with their systems for various reasons. Although at this time the popularity of application program interfaces was hardly noticed and we didn't see the type of use that followed mainly due to the bubble bursting for tech companies around the same period. It was only when the rise of social media really took hold that APIs gained in popularity.

From early 2004 to 2006 prolific social media giants such as Flickr, Facebook & Twitter all launched their APIs to the internet and hobbyist developers started playing with various widgets and concepts for how information from users on these platforms could be used in many ways from the wacky to the wonderful. At this point in time however the businesses were still not grasping how important a role APIs would play in the online applications of the future but their prevalence was certainly gaining traction amongst the developer community.

Apple changed the game in 2009 with the release of the iPhone 3G and subsequent iPhone 3GS. The mobile revolution began and with the advent of the App Store mobile developers rushed out to launch a series of applications which in all fairness changed the world. The majority of apps that gained traction and boasted huge user numbers were those that interfaced with existing platforms and they did this by utilising the various APIs on offer.

API Example Diagram

Modern Day APIs

It was around 2012 following the amalgamation of e-commerce, social and mobile development platforms that APIs reached a point where the business community took it seriously. The ability to quickly connect with existing systems to request and return data in a simple format made it possible for businesses to automate far more processes than ever before. This allows bespoke systems to query user inputs or automatically generated queries and get up to date information in a heartbeat from outside of their internal systems. Large organisations in areas such as banking, gaming, media and sport have been utilising such technology for a significant period of time but it is recently that we are seeing enquiries from SMEs for solutions that require the use of an API.

The team at Digital Process Solutions have an acute understanding of this technology and vast experience implementing it. We love discussing new ideas and solutions to streamline business operations so feel free to get in touch and see whether API use could benefit your organisation. Whther you want to build your own API to allow the outside world to connect to you, or utilise a third party API to obtain even more data than you currently have access to, WE CAN HELP!