Application Programming Interface

natasha selvidge
3 min readDec 6, 2020


So what is API? No, it’s not your favorite beverage at your local bar. API stands for Application Programming Interface. API’s essentially allow a developer to speak to another application online. API’s are built on existing applications. Usually, big companies make an API to enable developers to build applications that connect either by sending information to it, getting information from it, or both. Before, API’s businesses would have to go to Visa, Mastercard, or banks to get access to make payment transactions. Now developers can build software that handles payment transactions from an application without the hassle.

API’s typically have a set of rules to follow to let the developers know exactly how to interact with the application’s provided data. The best way to understand how to use the API you want to interact with is to read the documentation provided. However, it would be best to have a bit of knowledge before diving into API documentation such as AJAX, GET, HTTP requests, and code in general.

How do you find a companies API? Well, Google it, of course. All you have to do is Google the companies name and add API at the end of it. Most companies have APIs to build from example, Spotify has an API to get information on a specific artist, tracks, albums, and even make your own playlist.

The URL is important because it is how you communicate with the remote application. The way to structure a URL is first is an HTTPS protocol rather than HTTP because it means it is secure. Next will be the domain name, which is the application you call on, such as; right after is directories and filenames. But the end is usually the focus in the API documentation. It starts with a question mark, meaning it’s the start of the query parameters where you say this parameter is equal to that value. An example for Spotify is: https//{id}. This URL will give us back hash and arrays. This is where you need to know coding languages to understand how to grab the information you want out of the API.

Some companies do not have an API, such as Shazam, some hospitals, and even Netflix. Netflix used to have an API, but since 2014 it stopped supporting the API, which affected many developers because they were using that API on their applications. It does cost to have an API, but I don’t think Netflix was worried about the cost. Whatever the reason, some companies do not support it, but most do. API’s are fascinating because they are everywhere, and we don’t have to rebuild all the applications because we can use the already built API. Once you figure out the power of APIs, the sky is the limit.