What is an API?
An API which stands for Application Programming Interface, is a software interface which offers services to other pieces of software. These services can be JSON data which is being requested by the software.
How API’s work
As said earlier, for an API’s work when the backend of a web application is built to be separate from the frontend. This makes sure that multiple applications can have access to the same backend at once and share the same data, be it websites or mobile app. This architecture is used by several tech companies like Meta, Telegram, and Google. They all share their data across their different apps with each company having a central backend server. Let me give a simple use case of each of them.
How does whatsapp utilize their API?
WhatsApp, which is the most popular messaging app in the world today with almost two billion users has a private API which is being used to connect their app to their backend to allow for sending and receiving of messages. WhatsApp has only two official messaging apps which is the normal whatsapp and the whatsapp business app which are both available on the Google play store or App store
Over the years, they’ve been various unofficial versions of whatsapp which has been popular over the years like the GB whatsapp, FM whatsapp and so on. The fact that these unofficial versions still send and receive messages to the official WhatsApp versions means that whatsapp still releases their messaging API to the public which allows other third party developers create their own versions of whatsapp to include any feature they want which the official app doesn’t provide. However, you’ll need to gain approval from WhatsApp before you can create your own version of the app.
The whatsapp APIs can also be used to create whatsapp bot accounts for marketing and other customer service features which requires requires quick an automated response. These bots can do things like
- Query databases to search products and their descriptions for a customer support page.
- Perform searches on Google and give response through WhatsApp
- Handle investment platforms automatically all through a whatsapp chat
Although, most of these bots need a custom built API which would act as a middle man between the WhatsApp’s API and your custom application. Read more about the WhatsApp API in their official documentation
How Telegram Utilizes their API’s
Telegram, which is the second most popular messaging app, also has a free public API which is similar to that of WhatsApp, the only difference is that the telegram API doesn’t require any approval before you can use it which makes it openly available to scammers which uses it to create fake bots and platforms on the app. Read more about the telegram API here
How Google and Facebook utilizes their API’s
As you may have noticed, Google and Meta (formerly Facebook)have alot of different apps and website which all share the same data. This is possible because of their central API which releases these data to all their different apps. Another use of these API’s is in creating a secure account in most websites.
From the image above, we noticed how possible it is to create accounts and login to any website of your choice all with the click of a button. This saves users the stress of having to remember their passwords on every website they enter, it also provides a faster login and provides the websites with the required data previously stored in the host websites. Fascinating right? Now let’s go into the advantages of API’s and how developers can profit off them.
Advantages of API’s
- Increases productivity
- Reduces costs
- Speeds up development time
- Improves connectivity and collaboration
- Enhances customer experience
- Improves marketing
- It serves as a source of income
- Builds new product capabilities
How to make money off API’s
Most companies go through the stress of gathering alot of resource data like stock prices (yahoo finance), movie descriptions (IMDB), wallpapers, weather reports (open weather map) and so on just so they can distribute to other websites through their API’s and generate passive income off it.
As a developer, you can also purchase one of these API’s to get their data and find similar websites who are in need of that same data so you can sell to them who are in need. Also, if you have access to important data, you can host it somewhere and create an API for it to be accessed with authentication which you sell and make your own money off it.
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Your favourite software developers. Kudos!