API Explained in Fewer than 140 Characters (or thereabouts)

If you look up API on Wikipedia, you’ll find a lengthy explanation filled with computer terms and examples. In fact, the Wikipedia entry on APIs is more than 4,000 words long.

While we appreciate this detailed explanation, we were impressed by the bite-sized explanations we found on Quora and the web at large. Below are a few of our favorite explanations:

“An API is a programming language that allows two different applications to communicate, or interface, with each other. An API is used to enhance features and add functionality to one or both applications.” — Sprout Social

“… a series of rules. APIs allow an application to extract information from a service and use that information in their own application, or sometimes for data analysis.” — Hubspot

“An API is a set of commands that some application exposes so other applications can control it and extract information from it, e.g., the Twitter API allows programmers to create applications that interact with Twitter.” — Rafael Pinto, Neural Networks Researcher and Quora User

“You speak one language, and you are trying to work with someone else who speaks another language. This guy knows how to do things that are useful. An API is like a phrasebook. The phrasebook tells you the different commands you can give the other person to get them to do what you want, and it tells you how to interpret the responses he gives you.” — Dean Carpenter, Professional Programmer and Quora User

“Your TV remote control is an API. It is an interface that allows you to control your TV without needing to understand any of the underlying technologies. Notice that each remote control is different. Buttons are organised differently. Your TiVo remote control or your DVD/Bluray remote will operate your TV, but each one provides a different interface.” — Haoran Un, Quora User

“An API (“application program interface”) in the context of web applications and sites would be the facility for other software to interoperate with it as a client; use the site’s features, access its data, etc.

“A site without an API presents an interface which is convenient only for humans, but very inconvenient for machines. Using technology like REST, XML and JSON, an API does the opposite: presents an interface convenient for machines, but almost impossible for humans.” — Toby Thain, Quora User

“An API is a software-to-software interface, not a user interface. With APIs, applications talk to each other without any user knowledge or intervention.” — How Stuff Works

These bite-sized explanations should give you a better idea about what an API is, but how can one of our APIs help your business?

Our web APIs can enhance your existing software processes, allowing you to incorporate data validation into the mix. Our APIs tell your software how to interact with our software. API integration is easy, and the results impressive. There’s no need to master yet another computer programming language or develop your own data validation processes. There’s no need to understand what’s going on behind the scenes.

Simply integrate our APIs into your existing system and begin validating data in real-time. Sign up for a free trial key and find out just how easy our data validation APIs are.

Read Quote of Rafael Pinto’s answer to In layman’s terms, what is an API? on Quora

Read Quote of Dean Carpenter’s answer to In layman’s terms, what is an API? on Quora

Read Quote of Rafael Pinto’s answer to In layman’s terms, what is an API? on Quora

Read Quote of Toby Thain’s answer to What is an API? on Quora

http://www.quora.com/What-is-an-API Title

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