What is an API?

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Hi everyone,

The one thing I’m having trouble understanding is whether, for example, Facebook WANTS Twitter to be able to obtain a user’s Facebook friends?

Is it that Twitter (or Snapchat, or what ever social media company you can think of) is taking advantage of Facebook’s APIs to query information for their own interests?

Or do websites like Facebook purposely develop their server APIs so that other servers, like Twitter’s, can obtain that information?

Thanks for clarifying!
~Josh

It’s intentional. facebook could easily put controls on the API so that only registered partners could access them. But I get the sense that the more sites that rely on facebooks API services, the more important facebook becomes. So I’m guessing facebook encourages the usage of it’s APIs. Otherwise, they would make them private and require their partners to go through some kind of registration process.

In another simpler example, there are tons and tons of public APIs. I build a google sheet and it gathers the price information for various crypto currencies. I use this free service:
https://api.coinmarketcap.com/v1/ticker/bitcoin/?convert=USD

Routers makes it’s news services available as an API. Any site can consume that service and render Routers news items on their site. Similary, the weather channel offers it’s weather data service. And so on.

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I found it way much easier to understand what is the API and how is it works by watching the video rather then reading the article. Now reading the article makes much more sense too for me.
How are you guys feel about it?
Who found it easier to understand it the other way around?