What are APIs
APIs are protocols, specifications, that allow the exchange of information and online services, between organisations.
Put more simply, API’s let computers and datasets talk to each other.
This means that APIs allow companies to share services with external agents: it’s akin to how the World Wide Web opened up the potential for the internet to billions of other users.
Example Of Using an API:
Suppose you ran an amusement park. You realised that people are more likely to click on your web based adverts (such as Adwords), on sunny days.
Your aim then, is to increase your bids on days when the weather is sunny so how do you do this?
Adwords has a scripting language, which will allow you to connect to online services. In this example, the BBC Weather map could be a good choice.
By using the API offered by the BBC, you could read the latest weather forecasts and update your Adwords bids. This could happen automatically at regular intervals.
Many companies have exploited the Salesforce and Ebay APIs. Generating large growths in revenue for all parties.
Sharing, and consuming data can be very profitable.
With the internet forever pushing further into our lives. Through the ‘internet of things’ for example. APIs can only become more important.
APIs and Excel
You can communicate with an API by sending and receiving text strings. The most common formats for these strings are known as JSON and REST .
Where we as Excel developers, excel with APIs is in building and format these strings in a dynamic and data contextual manner.
An Excel API connection is a classic example of Excel being a one-stop-shop for software solutions. We have direct experience of building fully automated applications that work in real time.