Connect POSitive to 3rd Party Applications
POSitive Software Company has decided to no longer create, and maintain, individual interfaces to specific services such as e-commerce sites, and has released an API that will allow developers to create custom interfaces for a variety of services.
API is the acronym for "Application Programming Interface", which is a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other. Each time you use an app like Facebook, send an instant message, or check the weather on your phone, you’re using an API.
Think of an API like a menu in a restaurant. The menu provides a list of dishes you can order, along with a description of each dish. When you specify what menu items you want, the restaurant’s kitchen does the work and provides you with some finished dishes. You don’t know exactly how the restaurant prepares that food, and you don’t really need to.
Similarly, an API lists a bunch of operations that developers can use, along with a description of what they do. The developer doesn’t necessarily need to know how, for example, an operating system builds and presents a “Save As” dialog box. They just need to know that it’s available for use in their app.
This isn’t a perfect metaphor, as developers may have to provide their own data to the API to get the results, so perhaps it’s more like a fancy restaurant where you can provide some of your own ingredients the kitchen will work with.
But it’s broadly accurate. APIs allow developers to save time by taking advantage of a platform’s implementation to do the nitty-gritty work. This helps reduce the amount of code developers need to create, and helps create more consistency across apps for the same platform. APIs can control access to hardware and software resources.