eCommerce glossary

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Application Programming Interface (API)

An API (application programming interface) is an interface that allows two pieces of software to communicate with each other. It is a set of rules that define how data can be exchanged between applications. An API can be used to create, retrieve, update, or delete data. It can also be used to invoke functionality from an application.

For example, a third-party app may use Twitter's API to display tweets within its own interface. Or, an app may use the Google Maps API to show map data within its own interface.

Benefits of using an API include:

  • Allowing third-party developers to build apps that work with your data or service
  • Enabling you to share your data or functionality with others in a controlled manner
  • Improving the usability of your data or service by providing a consistent and well-documented interface

When choosing an API, it is important to consider its:

  • Functionality: What does the API allow you to do?
  • Usability: How easy is it to use the API?
  • Documentation: How well is the API documented?
  • Support: What level of support does the API provider offer?

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