API stands for application programming interface. As it’s a rather complicated concept, let’s break it down by looking at each of its parts.
|If you have a smartphone, you are well acquainted with what applications are, i.e., the tools, games, social networks and other software that we use everyday.||Programming is how engineers create all the software that make our lives so much easier.||An interface is a common boundary shared by two applications or programs that allow both to communicate with one another.|
So an API is essentially a way for programmers to communicate with a certain application. Every time you want to access a set of data from an application, you have to call the API. But there is only a certain amount of data the application will let you access, so you have to communicate to the operator in a very specific language—a language unique to each application.
To help visualize this concept, imagine an API as the middleman between PensionPro and your application. This middleman accepts requests and, if that request is allowed, returns the data. The middleman also informs programmers about everything they can request, exactly how to ask for it and how to receive it.
Do you use an application that tells you what the current traffic looks like? Or how about an app that shows when the next bus will be at your stop? Most tools like these rely on open APIs to run and pull the most accurate data. Those are both good examples of how open APIs might help you in your everyday life, but here’s how our API can help your business.
There are many businesses out there that build software and tools that rely on pulling data from open APIs to help streamline a business process in some new way. In fact, without our API, PensionPro wouldn't be able to deliver our products since we rely on our own API to deliver data to the user interface of our products.
APIs are important for business because they allow programmers to build amazing tools that help us do our jobs more effectively. Our DOL data search and FTW integrations both rely on APIs to provide data that PensionPro users work with everyday. Here are a few simple ways our API could help:
APIs are also important for the businesses that provide them, because third-party developers build out applications that further the use of the company’s core product. This saves the API provider both time and money. See how PensionPro can increase your efficiency and help you engage with your staff and clients by contacting us for a demo, today!