One term you will often hear when programmers are talking about their jobs is "application programming interface," or API. Whenever a company like Apple or Google releases a new piece of hardware such as a smartphone, tablet or even a wearable tech item like a smartwatch, you will hear developers asking when they will receive information about that device's API. Naturally, if you're not a programmer, you'll wonder what an API is and why it's so important.
Let's say you're taking software coding classes and you now have basic programming skills with C#, the language we teach here at The Coder Foundry. The next step is to write a program for a device, probably a computer, though you could also write programs for smartphones, tablets or any other device that can run software. The question is, how do you know how to program for one device as opposed to another? The way that data is input into a PC is much different than how it is entered into a smartphone (for example, the former doesn't have a touchscreen, while the later does). And these devices may perform different functions: You may want to write software that takes advantage of a smartphone's accelerometers (the circuitry inside that detects when the phone moves or is dropped), while a PC developer may want to know how to access a user's graphics card.
APIs allow programmers to write code for specific platforms. Microsoft Windows has an API, as does Apple OS X and different versions of Linux. Facebook and Twitter have APIs. Smartphones like the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S5 have APIs for their operating systems (iOS and Android, respectively). The API lets a developer say that they want their program to take advantage of certain capabilities within the platform, such as the internet connection or internal storage.
When you purchase an app, such as a program that tells you how much space you have left on your phone or tablet, the developer of that app uses the API for your device's operating system to access the hard drive and calculate the amount of storage space that is currently empty or unassigned. Apps like Tweetdeck use Twitter's API in order to access data from a particular user's Twitter account.
At The Coder Foundry, we'll teach you about how to use APIs such as the ASP.NET Web API, which will allow you to create dynamic web applications. With this knowledge, you'll also learn how APIs work on a fundamental level so that, if you're ever asked to write code for another platform, you'll have no trouble picking it up. Contact us today to find out more about how our classes can help you land exciting, well-paid positions in the technology industry!