Application Programming Interface
“In the increasingly digital world of today, it is a requirement to communicate between computer systems in a structured and well-defined way. It should be quick and easy to combine existing parts into new solutions and thereby create more value. In this context, APIs is a key technology. There is no natural language with enough semantics for systems to be able to exchange information, and APIs allow us to define precise languages that fulfills such needs of communication.
The value of APIs to a business is that it opens up isolated digital islands to communication. It allows us to build efficient digital sales channels, used in entirely new contexts by new users, external as well as internal. APIs are also a key technology for all kinds of automation, which brings up productivity and reduces error.
APIs fulfill a specific need, such as updating a product or getting an order. To develop an API it is required to understand the context where the API is going to exist, such as what business processes it is a part of. An API developer often works together with a business analyst to define these requirements.
From a functional point of view, there are two things that define an API. An API works with a specific type of information, and what actions can be performed on this type of information. When that is known, an API contract can be written, which is the formal definition of the API. A well-designed and –written API contract makes it easy for an API user to develop an application that can consume the API. The system developer implements the API as part of a system implementation, or develops a new micro-service that implements that specific API.
To make the APIs discoverable they are published on a developer portal, that provides easy access to documentation for the APIs, and ways to test the APIs and get and understanding of how they work.
All this brought together enables a digital company that can build on existing technology investments to create new possibilities.“