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What Is an API (and How Does it Relate to No-Code)?

API handshake

Learn more about APIs, how they work, and how creators can unlock their benefits with no-code.

We’re on a mission to arm everyone with the vocabulary they need to talk about no-code and accelerated application development. We’ve covered components, we’ve defined Unqork creators, and now we want to talk about APIs—and how these popular interfaces relate to no-code.   

APIs Defined

API stands for “application programming interface,” which is a bit of code that allows two software programs to communicate with each other by defining how a developer can request information from another application’s operating system. In this way, APIs are like middlemen. An API is also an abstraction layer—it takes an overwhelming amount of complexity and distills it down to a simple set of possible interactions that can be used to facilitate seamless communication between your software and an application.

Every API is made up of two related elements—a description of how information is exchanged between programs, as well as the software interface written to that specification. In every application you interact with, you’re likely unknowingly interfacing with tens of hundreds of APIs. Most online tools you use on a daily basis have their own APIs that allow other software to easily interact with them.

Watch the above demo to see how easy it is to utilize APIs when developing applications with Unqork.

For example, instead of using thousands of lines of code to teach your software how to talk to Twitter, you can simply use the Twitter API to interact with the existing technology much more easily.  

The API-Waiter Analogy

Here’s a simple analogy for understanding exactly how APIs work. Imagine you’re at a restaurant, sitting at a table with a menu full of options and trying to decide what to order. The kitchen represents the larger system that will prepare the meal you ask for. The waiter, much like an API, serves as the messenger link between you and the kitchen to communicate your order and deliver your food. Similarly, the API takes your request, tells the system what to do, and returns a response back to you. 

There are numerous benefits to using APIs. Since APIs are essentially sets of rules, using APIs standardizes how developers write code and makes software development more streamlined and transparent. When everyone involved in a project is following the same rules, using the same shortcuts, and working with the same integrations, teams can pivot quickly and reduce time to market. Enterprises can also boost brand power by aligning their services with prominent public and partner APIs. 

From a security standpoint, APIs protect your data because the two software programs involved are never fully exposed to one another—each one only shares what’s absolutely necessary. 

From a security standpoint, APIs protect your data because the two software programs involved are never fully exposed to one another—each one only shares what’s absolutely necessary. Rather than allowing other systems to access an application’s sensitive data, an API provides a pre-approved way to communicate with the app. To sum it up, APIs work as agreements between parties, simplifying how software creators integrate new application components into an existing architecture and making it easier for business and IT teams to collaborate—not unlike no-code.

How APIs Work With Unqork No-Code

In many ways, the microservices trend turned out to be a huge driver for no-code. Enterprise developers capitalized on the demand for rapid application development by creating APIs for a lot of their internal services. Unfortunately, businesses still needed to use a lot of time-consuming and expensive code to use these microservices. No-code emerged partially as a way to stitch microservices together without code presenting a bottleneck.

Unqork itself offers an API, which is one of the most common ways to integrate with us. All of the forms and rules that are available in our application are also available via our API. The Unqork API makes integrating with our platform much easier and expands how we connect with our partners. Unqork works with other APIs as well, meaning that creators can access all relevant data with ease, centralize how APIs are accessed across the enterprise, and surface functionalities easily to anyone building an application. Our platform makes it easy to integrate with everything from modern APIs to legacy systems.

Want to learn more about the inner workings of Unqork no-code? Schedule a personalized demonstration with one of our in-house experts and sign up for the Unqork newsletter to keep up with what’s new in the world of no-code.