The most successful technological innovation should feel so natural to the user that it’s almost completely invisible. We only notice things when the user experience is awkward or clunky, or when it simply doesn’t work.
By that definition, APIs — or application program interfaces — are one of the most successful technological innovations in recent history. These small bits of code are responsible for the time you save when you see a Google map embedded in reviews of the newest restaurants in your neighborhood and the money you keep when shopping websites point you to the nearest store carrying your favorite products at the lowest price. Those are just a few examples of how APIs improve our lives without our even noticing.
To understand the true potential impact of APIs on businesses and technology, think back to the days when each company had its own internal software development workshop. Every application, every platform, even full networks were essentially custom products. It was a slow, pricey, and painstaking process.