APIs, The Unsung Hero

Through this week’s reading, I have realized that APIs is an important part of my life because it allows interactions between applications, data and devices, giving us the connectivity that we love and deserve! To be honest, I was originally skimming through this week’s reading and I had a lot of trouble understanding APIs at first, causing me to be extremely frustrated.¬† As soon as I slowed down and gave the API readings a chance, I realized that “what is an API” is a question that people should be asking more often, especially with how imperative technology is in our world.

So what is an API?! This is a question I surely have been asking all night. I enjoyed watching the analogy in a video I watched this week that described an API as you requesting an order and the waiter acts as the communicator telling the kitchen your order and delivering the food back to you. I have noticed that many programmers have different definitions for what they believe an API is. Simply put, APIs make a lot of sense using the waiter analogy, but gets extremely complicated to me when I hear about there being unique APIs for Google and WordPress. In one of the articles, it says that the difference in a Google API is the format of the request and the response. Are most APIs typically very similar in format? I also noticed that the WordPress API also uses  JSON, but I am not sure if they are the same kind of API. I thought of the JSON version of an API as the waiter receiving an order from a foreigner, trying to make sense of it in the kitchen and then returning words in a new language. Not sure if this analogy makes sense, but hopefully there is one that would explain the format better to me.

I am still trying to make sense of APIs because it seems like it is a title some programmer just threw out there. Is an API something a programmer creates with the server? Although there are many questions out there, at least I know that APIs are our unsung hero!

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