Web Design primer - APIs

Web Design primer - APIs

With 11 percent of Americans thinking HTML is an STD and 30% thinking mp3s are robots from Star Wars, then maybe we should be explaining ourselves better. 

A term you will hear a lot about in the future is APIs. An API is an Application Programming Interface. It allows different software programs to interact with one another.

For example, when you ask for a Facebook like button to be added to your website then the web developer will connect to the Facebook API. Without an API to hook into the best we could do as web designers would be to tell users to visit Facebook and like the page there.
We are currently working on our own Easibuild API to allow our customers to add content once and publish to multiple channels as and when they are required (by channels we mean any service that consumes data - Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, next years big thing, your web site etc).
To give you an idea of how API Development is taking off, 60% of all ebay listings are done through their API. Google receives 5 Billion calls daily to over 100 APIs that it serves.
So what does it mean to you when you get a new website designed? Well you now have access to all sorts of data that you could mash together in a meaningful way.

You could hook into a translation API to provide your content in multiple languages,  show specific content based on weather conditions in the users area, send sms messages direct from your contact page to the appropriate employee. If all your images are hosted in Facebook or Flickr then we could connect to that and create an image gallery on the fly.
Obviously not all of this data is free to use, but with so many options it’s much easier for us Web Designers to deliver on our clients visions quicker and cheaper than in the past.