Today, nobody ever builds software from scratch. And though unique ideas are implemented in unique ways, auxiliary functions supporting the core features are usually reused. Such reuse is possible through APIs, or Application Programming Interfaces, which allows using various functions in other software.
One of the most popular examples of API usage is Google Maps. Almost every application that needs location or positioning functions will most probably integrate Google Maps. Taxi applications, hotel booking aggregators, restaurant finders, service marketplaces – all of them will have that Google Maps window or a Show on map link in their interfaces.
In a nutshell, APIs allow using a great thing made by somebody else in your product. You do not need to build your own maps when you can use what Google made and has been testing and improving for years. You do not need to create your own user registration form when you can use registration with Facebook or Google accounts. That’s how APIs work.
For online businesses, APIs bring a whole range of benefits allowing them to bring new customers, make their brand better recognized and, ultimately, increase their sales. Let’s look at some of them briefly.
This one may very well go with “no comment”. By using third-party APIs, a business saves all the time that is needed to design, develop, and implement the functionality that is provided by the API built by some other engineering team. Of course, inserting a third-party module in your product requires certain integration tasks, but when it comes to time, using an API is much more effective. At the same time, while using third-party API comes at a cost that can be partially balanced by your cost savings from not using your own development power to create the same functionality.
In the context of user experience, the benefits are multi-layered. On the one hand, by using a third-party API, your business will be able to focus on its core functionality and make it truly awesome. On the other hand, you can be confident that the integrated features will perform at the top level.
APIs bring additional functionality which increases the value proposition of your business. For your users, the complete package of services you offer becomes more valuable when it is enhanced with effective third-party software. Moreover, as we already said, a ready-to-use API of some third-party company saves you time for the development of extra features that will make your business even better . All this means that with third-party APIs you are getting added value and competitive advantages at a lower cost.
Like any other software developer, API providers update their products from time to time. If you are using an API, one of the great things is that any updates that the provider released will be applied to your product, too. You only need to set up the automatic check for updates, and that’s it. Besides, all updates released by the API provider will go through all the required tests and can be used easily and safely.
Most third-party APIs and SDKs are sophisticated products with dozens of features allowing them to achieve many of the related business goals. At the same time, for the majority of API users, only certain features are relevant while others are not needed right now or at all. When using an API or SDK in your product, you can select only the features that you need and configure them in accordance with your goals.
QuickBlox offers a complete API and SDK allowing quick and easy integration of full-featured chat functionality in your online service. We have spent years to create and test our product, and now we are 100% sure that with QuickBlox you will get exactly what you expect from advanced chat software. Browse our API documentation and contact us for a detailed discussion of how to add custom real-time chat to your online service.