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3 min read

What are APIs and why are they so powerful?

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If you heard your Tech Team mention APIs in a conversation where you got lost, then this article is made for you!

If you are a Tech, then you can scroll down this article ;)

Let's start with the meaning of this acronym. API stands for Application Program Interface. It might not help you much either.

So let's be more concrete!

I am sure you all have at some points used a Travel Search Engine like Trivago, Expedia, or Kayak to find the best trip, at the best price! Well, you might not have found it, but you're starting to get what an API is. The search engine is displaying all the results he found on the suppliers' platform thanks to APIs that help them communicate together.

A simple definition could be: an API is a door between two systems (software, servers, application, website) that don't know each other but need to connect. You can think of APIs like a black box: we use them so you don't have to understand the complexity behind it.

More technically, what happens is that the platform that needs to communicate with another would send a request to the system he wants to connect to through an API. If the system can answer the request, it will send the correct information. If not, it will send an error message, and another request will be sent. If we take again our travel search example here is what happen. Let's say I want to escape the gloomy weather in Paris during Christmas, and I am looking for a flight and a hotel to stay in sunny Mauritius. The search engine will send a request through the APIs he is connected with to all the systems of flight and hotel agencies. If flights and hotels are available then, the API will send the offer back and it will be displayed on the website. If an agency has no inventory for these dates, then nothing would be displayed.

Why are APIs so powerful?

Simply because they can be used with almost any scenario involving communication between two systems. With more than 23,000 public APIs and 1,000,000+ private APIs, we can say the connection possibilities are endless!

Ok, but let's talk business! Are APIs a powerful tool I can use for my business?

The answer is definitely yes, and here is why :

  • They simplify your workflows and make your teams more efficient

  • They save time on repetitive tasks so you can focus on your core business

  • They connect all the SaaS platforms you are using more and more (especially since COVID)

  • They help you aggregate all the data you need to refine your analysis

In conclusion, we can say APIs can be used in any challenges you are facing with applications you are using. We will give more concrete examples in the coming weeks! So stay tuned!

But how does it work? This is where it gets more technical!

If APIs are so powerful, what's behind them is not always easy to manage. APIs are built with a coding system that only some experts - understand here developers profile - master. The action of integrating APIs can take from half a day to 2 weeks or even more. It will mainly depend on the number of APIs you need to connect, whether the API is made public or not, and the complexity of authentication (like OAuth) and the code behind it.

What should I do if I am a business owner who wants to save time?

Well, there are plenty of actors on the market able to help you ease your integrations. Although they look the same, they all have their specificity with different offers and services included in their packages amongst which the number of APIs made available, the possibility to add your own API and to use your own server, the way you are using the tool, and of courses the prices!

Meta-API is a low code platform. Our solution eases the process of building and maintaining your APIs integration whether they are public or private. It also allows you to integrate the code to your own API server so you are in control, and get your project live faster.

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In addition, our pricing model is based on the number of requests made each month with unrestricted access to APIs. Thus we are more affordable than other actors which makes you pay the number of tasks per request per month but also with restricted access to APIs.

If you want to get more technical:

If you want to know more about Meta-API: Let's get in touch!

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