Getting Started With APIs

A quick look at the basics of APIs and how they can help you as a reseller.

Every  time you access a web page there is plenty going on behind the scenes that you never see. One of these protocols is called an Application Program Interface, or API.

What is an API?

Keeping it simple, an API is a set of instructions that applications use to interact with one another, kind of like the middleman between two applications. It creates a bridge to allow one application to pull an important feature from the other.

For example, a developer might use Facebook’s public API on their site to provide a way for users to verify their online presence. The developer wouldn’t have to write all the code that Facebook initially wrote for this feature of their site. Instead, they simply use the API so that their website communicates with Facebook, then returns the specific piece they’re looking for.

APIs have been around for a while. Computers use APIs to create a link between applications and the operating system. Everything from printing a document from Microsoft Word to downloading an image into My Pictures uses an API. In today’s world, we see an even greater emphasis placed on APIs due to the growth of web applications.

How do APIs work?

You can look at an API like the door of an application that opens up when one application makes a call to another. A developer will write up a call to the API that they’re trying to access. At the other end, the other application will open the “door” and let the developer’s app or website have access to the code they want to utilize.

This is helpful, and oftentimes necessary, when you want to develop an app that uses features from apps that have already been created. For example, Yelp uses Google Map’s API to direct its users to a map once they click on somewhere they want to go. Another example is the popular website Fuse using Spotify’s API to include music on their site.

APIs are written in various programming languages, but you will often be able to access the API just by using the included documentation. This will usually give you a URL that you can then use as a backlink to the API you’re trying to access.

Some APIs will require a verification process to make sure that you’re not trying to access their code with malicious intent. This process usually involves an API key that will limit what you can and cannot access.

How do APIs work for clients?

As a client, you can use various APIs to implement into your SuperSite. This way you can use existing code to add features to your site. Here are some popular APIs you can utilize, along with links wtih more info on how you can include them into your website:

There are also several other APIs you can access by going to the KnowledgeBase. You can read up more on access and authentication, as well as seeing the available APIs (click on API requests, then the category you want).
Check out to see how you can use APIs and get your start as a domain name or web hosting reseller!

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