Connectivity is an amazing thing
We have all become so accustomed to the instant connectivity that has placed the world at our fingertips. From desktops to mobile devices, we are given the ability to purchase, post, pin, and pick anything—and from anywhere. We are connected to the world, and to each other, like never before.
But how has this happened?
How does the data get from one place to the other? How do applications and devices connect with each other to allow us to place an order, make a reservation, or book a flight, with just a few clicks?
The real champion of our connected world is the Application Programming Interface (or, API). It is the engine under the hood that works behind the scenes which we take for granted. It is what makes possible all the interactivity we have come to expect, and rely upon.
But exactly what is an API?
An API is the messenger that takes your requests, tells a particular system what you want to do, and then returns the response back to you.
Here is a familiar analogy that you can relate to: Think of an API as a waiter in a restaurant. Imagine that you are sitting at the table with a menu of choices to order from—And the kitchen is the part of the system which will prepare your order. The crucial link that communicates your order to the kitchen, in order to deliver your food back to your table is what’s missing. This is where the ‘waiter’ (or API) comes into play. The waiter is the messenger that takes your order (or request) and tells the system (or in this case, the kitchen) what to do, and then it delivers the response back to you (in this case, your food).
Now that we have wetted your appetite
Here is a real example of an API. I am sure you are familiar with the process of searching for airline flights online. You have a menu of options to choose from, just like in that restaurant (a drop down menu, in this case). You choose a departure and arrival city, and the date, and also your return flight city, and the date, your preferred cabin class, and other variables, —in-order-to book your flight. What you are doing here is interacting with the airline’s website, to access the airline’s database, to see if any seats are available on those dates (and also the cost etc.).
But what if you are not using the airlines website? What if you are using an Online Travel Service (like Kayak or Expedia) that aggregates information from various different airlines?
In this situation, the travel service interacts with various airlines’ APIs. The API is an interface (just like your helpful waiter), which the online travel service utilises, in-order-to get the required information (i.e. your request) to a specific airline’s system—over the internet—to book the seats, choose your meal preferences, baggage options etc. that you are looking for. It then takes that airline’s response to your request, and delivers it right back to their online travel service platform, —and then shows it to you.
So, we should never forget that its ‘s the APIs that make it possible for us all to use travel sites. All interactions between applications, data, and devices have APIs that allow systems to operate them—and that’s what ultimately creates connectivity.
So every time you think of an API, just think of it as your waiter (or waitress), running back and forth between, databases, devices, and applications; —delivering information, and creating the connectivity that puts the world at our fingertips. —And whenever you think of developing an API, Think “Mitra Innovation”.
About Mitra Innovation
Mitra Innovation is a fast growing UK based technology solutions provider, specialising in product incubation, cloud enablement, digital transformation, and software development, with expertise in WSO2 and AWS technologies. Mitra caters to clients in the fields of Finance, Telecommunication, Education, Healthcare, and Public Sectors, globally.
Mitra Innovation and WSO2 Partnership
Mitra is a strategic global partner for the WSO2 open-source integration platform, and is the first UK based company to be named a WSO2 Premier Certified Partner. Mitra helps clients to choose the right WSO2 products, helps integrate them, and provides 24×7 customer support during integration, and afterwards.
WSO2 is a sophisticated, Open Source Company that produces software that enables other software such as CRM systems and accounting systems etc. to communicate and share data. WSO2 is Mitra’s top choice as a Middleware Supplier.
The key differentiator with WSO2 middleware is that it’s the only 100% Open Source, Cloud Ready Middleware available in the market. What this means is that, not only is it ready to use and free, but it can be customised and improved without restriction. The nature of Open Source fosters rapid development and innovation in scalable environments. In short, it provides control. Control over development, control over budgets, and control over infrastructure.
Mitra’s WSO2 Clients
Mitra uses WSO2 middleware in Mobile and IoT management, API integration, API management, Apps Development, IT Security, Analytics and many other technology related needs for their clients.
Some of Mitra’s clients that utilise WSO2 are: Kraydel, WSO2.Telco, Travis Perkins, Synnex, Capital Alliance, Moneta Money Bank, and Kenya Telkom. The Open banking industry in particular now relies heavily on APIs to enable digital transformation, its changing the way business is conducted, and is a key ingredient that helps them expand its service domains and remain competitive.