What is API? Easily explained

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In connection with programming, the term API appears again and again. We explain to you in simple words what it is and what it is used for.

What is API?

What is the term API?

API is the abbreviation for “Application Programming Interface”. An API is an interface: It connects software and hardware components, for example applications, hard drives or user interfaces.

  • When programming, APIs standardize the transfer of data between program parts, such as modules, and programs.
  • Complex programs can no longer do without APIs. Individual program parts, so-called modules, are encapsulated from the actual code. The modules then communicate exclusively via the API.
  • Put simply, APIs translate the software into machine language, making it readable for various components.


Why do you need APIs?

  • Thanks to program modules and the associated APIs, complex programs are easier to maintain. An API uses transferred data to test whether the module is working properly. This makes it easier to localize and fix errors.
  • In addition, APIs function as data transmitters in the software area: content can be exchanged between different websites and programs with the help of APIs.

The IT area is full of terms that are not self-explanatory. We have therefore written various practical tips that deal with this matter. For example, you can also read what exactly software engineering means.

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