API – Web Service. What is it?

API – Application Programming Interface

APIs are calls made between applications managed through web services.  Web services are a collection of programming languages used to allow applications to communicate over the Internet.  An APIs job is to run silently in the background, grabbing the information a user needs.

Web services allow different sources to communicate with eachother without time-consuming coding, and it’s not tied to any one programming language.  The first step to utilizing API calls is to create a URL.  Of course, review the documentation beforehand for the API you’re interested in, to make sure you get the output you need.

Usually, an API call will require the use of an API key that keeps track of your requests.  An API key is unique to each user and similar to a password; something you shouldn’t share with other people.

The basic idea of using an API for geocoding involves a locator fuction that attempts to look for matches to the user input and will show a result after the call is made.

References:

1) http://money.howstuffworks.com/business-communications/how-to-leverage-an-api-for-conferencing2.htm

2) http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/W/Web_Services.html

3) https://gigaom.com/2010/10/29/using-apis-not-quite-as-hard-as-it-looks/

4) http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/api-good-technology-explained/

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