API (Application Program Interface)

An application program interface (API) is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. Basically, an API specifies how software components should interact. Additionally, APIs are used when programming graphical user interface (GUI) components. A good API makes it easier to develop a program by providing all the building blocks. A programmer then puts the blocks together.

What are Different Types of APIs?

There are many different types of APIs for operating systems, applications or websites. Windows, for example, has many API sets that are used by system hardware and applications — when you copy and paste text from one application to another, it is the API that allows that to work.

Most operating environments, such as MS-Windows, provide APIs, allowing programmers to write applications consistent with the operating environment. Today, APIs are also specified by websites. For example, Amazon or eBay APIs allow developers to use the existing retail infrastructure to create specialized web stores. Third-party software developers also use Web APIs to create software solutions for end-users.

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What are Examples of Popular APIs?

ProgrammableWeb, a site that tracks more than 15,500 APIs, lists Google Maps, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Amazon Product Advertising as some of the the most popular APIs. The following list contains several examples of popular APIs:

  1. Google Maps API: The Google Maps API lets developers embed Google Maps on webpages using a JavaScript or Flash interface. The Google Maps API is designed to work on mobile devices and desktop browsers.
  2. YouTube APIs: YouTube’s APIs let developers integrate YouTube videos and functionality into websites or applications. YouTube APIs include the YouTube Analytics API, YouTube Data API, YouTube Live Streaming API, YouTube Player APIs, and others.
  3. Flickr API: The Flickr API is used by developers to access the Flick photo sharing community data. The Flickr API consists of a set of callable methods, and some API endpoints.
  4. Twitter APIs: Twitter offers two APIs. The REST API allows developers to access core Twitter data and the Search API provides methods for developers to interact with Twitter search and trends data.
  5. Amazon Product Advertising API: Amazon’s Product Advertising API gives developers access to Amazon’s product selection and discovery functionality. Devs can then incorporate advertisements of  Amazon products to monetize a website.

Best API Management Software

1 Domo

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Build a modern business, driven by data. Connect to any data source to bring your data together into one unified view, then make analytics available to drive insight-based actions—all while maintaining security and control. Domo serves enterprise customers in all industries looking to manage their entire organization from a single platform.

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2 Mulesoft

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Use Mulesoft's Anypoint Platform to quickly design, test, and publish API products. Manage APIs, monitor and analyze usage, control access, and protect sensitive data with security policies. With Anypoint API Community Manager, transform portals into digital experiences that turn developers into evangelists by providing self-service API documentation, forums, support, and the personalized resources developers need to be successful.

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3 Apigee

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Package your digital assets as APIs and monetize to unlock new revenue streams for your business with Apigee. Apigee supports the creation and configuration of a broad range of API packages, revenue models, reports, payment gateways, and developer portal integrations. These capabilities help API providers launch fast and gain value from their APIs sooner. Apply AI to your historical API metadata to predict the behavior of your APIs and automatically detect anomalies in real time.

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4 Software AG

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Software AG's webMethods API Management allows you to reap the benefits of the API economy by managing the entire process of planning, designing, developing and securely exposing your APIs to external developers, partner and consumers. This Software AG solution provides an end-to-end tool chain, enabling you to leverage your current SOA investments for new API initiatives to get more value from your current assets while saving time and reducing the costs of development and training.

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5 IBM API Connect

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Expertly secure and manage your entire API ecosystem across multiple clouds — including boosting socialization and monetization efforts — with industry-leading IBM API Connect. IBM API Connect® is a complete, intuitive and scalable API platform that lets you create, expose, manage and monetize APIs across clouds. This means you and your customers can power digital applications and spur innovation. Accelerate API developer productivity with simplified methods and a built-in toolkit.

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6 Kong

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Kong provides comprehensive visibility and empowers application teams to provide consistent security and governance across APIs and services. Empower your development teams to add fine-grained security and traffic policies that provide consistency across services and APIs. Use artificial intelligence to autonomously monitor traffic for anomalies to proactively identify performance and security incidents.

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7 Axway

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API Gateway provides a comprehensive platform for managing, delivering, and securing APIs. It provides integration, acceleration, governance, and security for Web API and SOA-based systems. Axway offers the full lifecycle API management for the next generation, as well as automating the discovery, reuse, and governance of all your APIs across multiple gateways, environments, and vendor solutions.

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8 Postman

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Postman is a collaboration platform for API development. Postman's features simplify each step of building an API and streamline collaboration so you can create better APIs. Quickly and easily send REST, SOAP, and GraphQL requests directly within Postman. Automate manual tests and integrate them into your CI/CD pipeline to ensure that any code changes won't break the API in production. Stay up-to-date on the health of your API by checking performance and response times at scheduled intervals.

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9 Cloud Elements

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Cloud Elements is the first API Integration Platform to virtualize APIs into unified data models that eliminate brittle, point-to-point connections. With your data at the center of a customized Application Ecosystem, you get a cost, scale and performance advantage so you can seize new opportunities, create new experiences and discover what’s next.

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10 SAP Integration Suite

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Publish, promote, and oversee APIs in a secure and scalable environment with the SAP API Management capability. Empower developer communities to monetize data and digital assets in new channels, devices, and UIs. Encourage more productive collaboration through the entire business ecosystem. Managing and monitoring APIs across various data platforms with real-time analytics, the API Management capability promotes co-innovation among employees, partners, and the developer community.

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11 Workato

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Workato is a single platform used to integrate apps and automate workflows without compromising security and governance. Rapidly accelerate growth by being automation-first across your organization. It enables companies to drive real time outcomes from business events. There is no coding required, and the platform utilizes Machine Learning and patented technology to make the creation and implementation of automations 10X faster than traditional platforms.

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UPDATED: This article was updated April 5, 2021 by Web Webster

 

Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.

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