An API, or Application Programming Interface, is a set of rules and protocols that specifies how software programs should interact with each other. It serves as an intermediary between different software systems, allowing them to communicate with each other and exchange data.
Think of an API as a waiter in a restaurant. When you want to order food from a menu, you don’t go into the kitchen to talk to the chef directly. Instead, you ask the waiter for what you want, and the waiter goes to the kitchen to place the order on your behalf. In the same way, an API allows different software programs to communicate with each other by acting as a “waiter” and taking requests, processing them, and returning the results.
APIs are often used to enable different software systems to communicate with each other over the internet. For example, a weather website might use an API to request data from a weather forecasting service, or a mobile app might use an API to request data from a database.