An Application Programming Interface is a set of functions that let you “hook” into a system without having access to the source code or inside workings of that system. There’s an API for all the modern languages like Java, PHP, Ruby On Rails, and HTML. Sites such as Google, Amazon, and eBay all have an API allowing programmers to access information from their sites. Here’s a list of the APIs Google has available for many of its services including maps, adwords, and Blogger data. This lets a savvy programmer include all types of eBay or Amazon services on their web site by using what these sites have already created.
You can also think of an API as a dictionary. Just like an English dictionary displays words and their meanings, an API lists all the functions available in the API as well as what type of information each one is expecting and what type of information each function will return. Programmers use an API as a reference in using functions correctly.
Up until now a programmer had to keep a copy of each API on their computer or keep a list of bookmarks pointing to the APIs out on Web.
gotapi.com changes all of that. All the common language APIs are now available from a single link page. (Sorry, the application APIs such as Google, Amazon, and eBay aren’t listed yet.) As a programmer this means you can find information quickly as you are writing code.
Tip: With the gotapi.com page displaying, click and drag the icon in the Address field of your browser and drop it on upper part of your Start menu button. You’ll see a solid black line showing you were it will be positioned as you drag it into the Start list.
Anytime you need to look up a function, gotAPI.com is only a click or two away.
– Special thanks to Sean Washington for reminding me about this really great programming tool.