An application programming interface, otherwise known as an API, is a software that operates as an intermediary between two applications to enable them to communicate with one another. Whenever you use WhatsApp, Facebook or search for something on your phone, you’re using an API.
When you use an app on your phone, the app connects to the internet before sending the data to a server. When the data reaches the server, it interprets it and performs the required actions before sending it back to your phone. The app then retrieves this information and presents it to you in a way that you can understand. This entire journey is what an API’s role consists of.
In order to better understand what application programming interfaces are, let’s look at an example.
In a restaurant setting, the kitchen is the “system” that will provide you with your order. The crucial link needed to communicate your order to the kitchen is the waiter. Therefore, the waiter is the API in this scenario, taking your request and delivering it to the system so that it knows what to do.
Still a bit unclear on how this translates to technology? Here’s another example.
When you search for a flight, you sometimes go onto an airline's website to buy the ticket. But what happens when you use another website, such as Expedia?
These websites must interact with the airline’s API’s in order to operate and provide users with a plethora of flight information.
When searching for flight details, Expedia takes your request and asks the API to gather all the relevant information from the airline’s system. Once gathered, the API then delivers this information back to Expedia, where it is then shown to you.
Hyro integrates with a variety of APIs such as Knock, Twilio, Verbit, Microsoft's Azure and many more, in order to finish last-mile tasks online or over the phone. This enables tasks, such as scheduling appointments, to be seamlessly carried out far after a conversation with a user has been completed.