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Definition: API

API stands for Application Programming Interface. It is a set of pre-defined functions that can be used by a programmer to use different features of an operating system. It can also be understood as an interface between user application and operating system (software to software) that communicates with both to generate a desired result.

APIs can also be used to get particular service from a website which specializes in particular service e.g. billing, user info etc. It helps programmers to build creative application like mobile apps from available online resources to cater specific interest of users. It saves time, effort and cost incurred in developing the application. The host websites allows their resources through APIs for self interest as well e.g. Flipkart allows access to its data though APIs which can be used by any website developer to post Flipkart ‘s products and their updated prices in their websites. In this process, Flipkart also gets benefited.


Suppose a person wants to provide interactive map service to his customers. It will require maps and a pre-defined process to bill its customers for the usage of map service. API enables this person to take MAP service from one website and billing related service from another. In this way, without handling the huge amount of data for maps and billing, he can create service in easy and cost effective manner. Similarly, different websites use facebook login API to know about user's identity and allow them to use their facilities.


Hence, this concludes the definition of API along with its overview.

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