• Track to the Future: The ABCs of APIs  
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Track to the Future: The ABCs of APIs

In 1989, the second installment in the beloved “Back to the Future” movie series offered a vision of how life would look in 2015. Perhaps you remember hoping it would come true? From hover boards to flying cars, self-fitting clothes to hologram technology on every corner, the film’s creators were clearly ahead of their time.

In actuality, technology today is often more about compact convenience than head-turning inventions. Take your mobile phone or tablet, for example. In a matter of moments you could hear a song you like on a TV show you’re streaming, identify it with an app, and download it to your music library of choice for later listening—all without leaving your sofa. Regardless of your view on such advancements, it’s almost quaint to imagine how we would have achieved the same end result just fifteen years ago.

But that’s only the technology we’re conscious of interacting with. Behind the buttons we tap and screens we swipe, something more powerful is at play. Take APIs, for example.

An API—Application Program Interface—is defined by Webopedia as a “set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications.” In practical terms, if you’ve ever copied and pasted a block of text, you’ve experienced the power of an API at work.

Other examples of APIs in action include the process of embedding a Google Map on your webpage, or the way in which applications you grant permission to on Facebook can access your profile data and publish posts to your news feed. APIs are constantly at work, with more being developed all the time to make all sorts of online processes more refined.

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Figure 1: Overview APIs (Source: www.programmableweb.com)

In an article for readwrite, tech expert Brian Koles suggested that, “If software developers are the new rock stars, then APIs are the instruments with which they make their music”, also stating his belief that the best technology applications are becoming “collections of elegantly woven APIs.”

For businesses, the relevance of APIs is significant when it comes to carrying out financial transactions. As we touched on in a previous blog post, the Traxpay Dynamic Payments platform fits neatly into Koles’ description by weaving together lots of APIs that connect users’ existing business processes and infrastructure to give users comprehensive control over every aspect of the payments they make or receive. This translates to buyers and suppliers being able to have faster, safer, smarter B2B payments without leaving the comfort of their normal workflow. In a nutshell, not all transaction platforms are created equal, and the level of power and versatility you can expect to enjoy over your B2B transactions will be largely defined by how the payments provider integrates via APIs.

Today, APIs are most commonly used in the consumer world, and for social applications, but their integration for financial technology comes a close second. As payments are the lifeblood of what makes the business cycle work, APIs built for B2B interactions are becoming critical as well. So just remember, if you’re looking to have the most adaptable, efficient, and complete B2B payment solution at your fingertips, you’ll want to align with a service provider that knows how to make APIs count.

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Figure 2: APIs per Industry (Source: wwwprogrammableweb.com)

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