Application Programming Interface (API)

APIs are a type of code that facilitate communication between two software programs by defining how a developer can request services and access data across different contexts and channels. These function calls are composed of verbs and nouns, with the necessary syntax outlined in the application’s documentation.

For instance, on a real estate website, multiple APIs may offer distinct functions such as publishing available properties by geography, providing current interest rates, or offering a mortgage calculator. To function, APIs comprise a specification that describes the process for exchanging information between programs and a corresponding software interface published for use. When a software program wants to access the API’s features and capabilities, it “calls” the API, while the software that creates the API “publishes” it.

APIs authenticate and grant access to data that users and other applications request, with predefined roles governing who or what service can access specific data and actions. Furthermore, APIs maintain an audit trail that records who or what had system access and when it occurred.