API linkage is often used to connect systems. The two patented systems we are developing, a vehicle dispatch system and an automatic ordering system, are API-linked with all companies toward the realization of smart cities. For inquiries! This time, I would like to introduce an article about API as part 2.
What is API
"API" is an abbreviation for Application Programming Interface. In a narrow sense, it is used to create applications and is a system that shares the functions of an external application.
To put it a little bit more, it is a system that allows you to introduce the functions of apps used elsewhere in your own apps.
For example, the famous one is the Twitter API. This can be used to create a private app using Twitter's posting function, or to retrieve tweet history for data analysis.
If you use the "Post" function in the Twiter API, you can use the posting system without developing the posting function yourself. Also, if you use the "save" function of tweet data, you can analyze it just by retrieving the tweeted data.
What is an interface?
I explained that API is an abbreviation for "application programming interface", but what is "interface"?
The "interface" can have several meanings when it is used in hardware, but the "(software) interface" used in apps and software has the following meanings.
In software, there are specifications and APIs defined for exchanging data between programs.
Simply put, this programming is a manual that says you should use it this way. With this, functions developed in other apps can also be used in-house.
By the way, the word API is used synonymously with "Web API". That's because many APIs are published on the Web along with specifications and rules. Therefore, when you touch the Web API, you need to be strong in Internet services.
If you are not familiar with Internet systems (cloud / SaaS) in the first place, you will be able to understand cloud-related terms by reading the article below.
For those who know that, the article below is recommended. Here, we introduce the trends in SaaS, including API integration. If you read this article, you will know the trends other than API.
Specific example of API
I think that there are some people who haven't come to the point in the explanation so far, so from here on, I will explain using concrete examples.
LINE Messaging API
It is an API that can use the message function of LINE. The appearance and message function are LINE itself, but you can send the message type original to the system creator. What could only be sent as text until now can now be equipped with buttons and other items.
Google Calendar API
You can pull the schedule of Google Calendar, and conversely, you can enter the schedule from other than the official app. The article below explains how to sync the appointment data in Garoon of the groupware system to Google Calendar.
It is difficult for non-engineers to understand, but I think it can be done by asking an engineer. Here, there is no problem if you can be convinced that you can do this with the API.
Benefits of API
The API is intended to share functions between software. What are the benefits of sharing functionality? I will write from the perspectives of both the developer side and the service user side.
Easy to develop apps
Until now, you had to program in-house and create an app. However, by using the API, the development of the common part between the API provider application and the in-house application can be omitted, so the hurdle for application creation is lowered.
For example, suppose you develop an app that arranges a taxi.
Suppose you want to add a service to this taxi arranging app that automatically recognizes your current location and allows the taxi to go without having to fill in the location. At this time, if GPS is not published on the Web, GPS development must be done at the same time.
However, if it can be linked with GPS software, it is possible to identify the customer's current location. In this way, you can easily develop services by using APIs.
It enables the provision of various services by linking with other software. This is the biggest advantage of the API.
Reduction of development cost
By using the API, it is no longer necessary to create software from scratch when developing an application. This can significantly reduce development time and costs.
This also makes it possible for engineers to do things that were originally considered impossible due to their skills and resources. As a result, even venture companies are now able to create large-scale apps and websites.
Recently, SNSs have collaborated with each other and have evolved so that other services can be used using personal data of Twitter and Facebook. In this way, service users can also save the trouble of using another service.
By improving UX (customer experience), it is thought that sales will increase and customer satisfaction will increase. In other words, API linkage is a convenient system not only for the development side but also for the user.
API implementation procedure
I will briefly introduce the procedure when actually using the API. Please check the website of each API provider for the specific registration method and usage.
Register with API provider
First, register with the company that provides the API. The registered contents are "Application name", "Summary", "Top page URL", "Return URL after work", etc. The "URL to return to after work" represents the content of the response and is used to guide the user.
Get API key and secret
From a security point of view, you will need an API key and secret to use the API. Obtaining this will prevent outsiders from using your data.
Implement API in your app
After that, let's check the API specifications and actually use it. The simple ones are available to non-engineers, but many more advanced ones are in the engineer's area of responsibility. Let's ask.
Roughly speaking, that's all. As you can see from the small number of steps, it is overwhelmingly convenient to introduce it. Let's consider introducing it.
Expansion of "API Economy"
The "API economy" refers to the way in which the economic zone expands and businesses expand by creating APIs and creating various API collaborations.
This wave of API economy is spreading to various industries, and especially in financial institutions, software-specific cooperation and great progress are being made. If this trend continues, all applications and cloud services will work together seamlessly.
For example, when you want to travel to Paris, France, you can arrange airline tickets, stay at hotels, taxis to hotels, recommended restaurants, etc. with one service, and many other services are linked. It is conceivable that an all-in-one service will appear.
APIs are expected to continue to hold an important position in software development. Consider using the API to broaden your business. When using APIs on the Web, it is difficult if you do not know the current state of the Web. For such people, the article below that thoroughly explains the cloud, such as the difference between SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, SaaS report, etc., will be helpful.