What is an API? And how is it used?

4 years ago · 1 MIN READ

What is an API? And how is it used?

We live in a world where our devices communicate with each other and various applications interact with each other freely. For instance; the sharing of an article from an independent website on social media, the use of Google Maps on Uber, and to bring it closer home, initiating of an M-Pesa message on your phone by apps such as Jumia or Ticketsasa. This is made possible by the use of APIs.

Application Program Interface (API), as wikipedia puts it, is a set of clearly defined methods of communication between various software components. This can be simplified by describing an API as a set of instructions that make connection and interaction between two or more software programs possible.

This illustration breaks it down even further:

api.png

The customer makes a request to the waiter; the waiter takes the request to the kitchen. This is known as an API request. The kitchen responds by either preparing his order (request) or by informing the waiter that his order is not available. The waiter then delivers this response to the customer by either delivering a plate of food or by asking him to place another order. This is known as an API response.

This is how the API functions. It receives requests from the respective program, forwards it to the server, which processes the requested data and sends the response to the API, which delivers it to the client.

This is what we, at Dibon, specialize in. We develop APIs that help you connect to various service providers in order to; make mobile payments, send SMSs, buy airtime and purchase electricity tokens all at your convenience. If you want to know more about APIs or the services we offer, don’t hesitate to contact us at info@dibon.co.ke.

Sources: https://www.dibon.co.ke/api-documentation http://www.govtech.com/applications/whats-an-api-and-why-do-you-need-one.html https://www.mulesoft.com/resources/api/what-is-an-api https://searchmicroservices.techtarget.com/definition/application-program-interface-API

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