An application programming interface (API) is a connection between computers or computer programs. It is a software that provides information/pieces from another software.
Unlike user’s interface which links a computer or a program with a person it actually links different programs and it is not meant to be used by people.
Basically, one can link several different programs (CRM, ERP etc) together with an API integration and use them all from one portal.
Imagine a company that has thousands of products whose prices and stock availability changes constantly. You want to sell their goods online as a subcontractor/retailer. For this you need to integrate their database with your online store or in other words you need an API integration.
An API can be custom built for a particular pair of systems, or it can be a shared standard allowing interoperability between many systems.
Any two or more software solutions, programs or apps can be integrated with each other. These are just a few of the endless possibilities:
– integration of dynamically changing databases
– in large companies, multiple programs are used for different needs of the organization – they can be integrated together to a cloud for easy control and access from one place
– financial institutions prefer to create their own solutions for invoicing, etc. by using the best “pieces” of software and integrating them together
– older companies have tons of data that often cannot be processed due to the lack of functionality of the software they started with – through API integration with other program/applications, the information can be pulled from the archives and put to use
– API integrations allow rapid creation of applications by combining “pieces” of software instead of creating them from scratch
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