It is no longer sufficient to simply state that business needs to be digitized, because a big portion of the industry is already there. Interconnected equipment, AI-assisted automation, and cloud-synced compatible software solutions are very much a part of the modern industry today.
The focus has now shifted to opening up the data, features, and functions from existing software applications to seamless collaboration, customization, communication, and innovation. The application programming interface or API is what makes all that a feasible possibility.
What is API?
Technically, the application programming interface consists of a defined rule set that enables, dictates, controls, and maintains communications between two or more applications. It’s the point of interaction that processes all data exchanged between multiple applications and their respective cloud servers in alignment with the preprogrammed set of defined rules.
APIs are open, documented software interfaces that allow several applications from different developers to collaborate seamlessly by communicating data and sharing features between themselves. In other words, they enable numerous business apps from different vendors to work together as a single software application when required.
What is API First?
APIs are not uncommon at all in SaaS sectors, but they are usually limited in their ability to do everything that we just discussed. Limited compatibility and restricted collaborative features make traditional APIs somewhat self-defeating in view of collaborating and open inter-app communication goals that we just explained earlier. This is a common issue with software applications where API integration was not a part of the original project’s planning.
If the API integration was a late-stage add-in for the project, or if it had to be added via updates, the application programming interface will not be as productive as it could have been. In direct contrast, API First is a software development infrastructure that not only incorporates API integration as part of the original development plan, but prioritizes it as one of the primary goals. All applications are developed with collaboration, communication, and wide compatibility in focus.
Is API Integration a Secured Process?
It is a common misconception that “open” translates to vulnerability, and API integration would make applications more vulnerable to hacking attacks. On the contrary, APIs make application data more secure against external threats. No decent developer would allow API integration without TLS encryption and unique gateway signatures to protect and authenticate each data exchange.
The defined set of rules do not just control the data exchange between verified applications, but they also verify all external data coming in from a web server, before allowing anything to get in or out through them. In the absence of an API, connected applications would actually be more vulnerable to threats from compromised peers and cloud servers.
In summary, API integration’s role will be critical for us to reach the next stage of evolution in business software solutions. Automated, seamless, and secured collaboration naturally leads to unified productivity, better ROI, and easier innovations.