All about APIs

I had always heard this term “API,” and I think I knew just two things about it — it’s everywhere, and it’s powerful. After going through the readings and videos, I’m clearer on the actual technology, but still unsure of how I would use it in my site or in my reporting.

I’m also left with questions about security and ethics. In the WebConcepts video, the presenter said that in order to send a tweet through the Twitter API, you need to authenticate and get what’s called an “access token.” But I couldn’t see where he actually provided his login information in order to authenticate. I’m also wondering if this method circumvents any type of two-factor authentication.

I’m also wondering what companies get out of making all of this data public? This seems like a wealth of internal, constantly updating and valuable information that other companies can easily use to make their own products more valuable.

Conversely, having access to so much data and so much proprietary data is It’s also clearly a way to snuff out the competition. I read further about how Facebook has actually used access to their API to snuff out competitive companies by revoking their access. Revoking access to Facebook’s API means that whatever company is trying to use Facebook to create a user profile (these are the “Login with Facebook” or “Login with Google” buttons that allow you to basically autofill a profile with information you’ve already given to these two companies) is a real hindrance. Who wants to actually fill all that crap out?!

 

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