No-code 101: APIs

The language that apps use to speak to one another.

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In 15 words or less

APIs let apps speak to each other.

In a few more words

For people to communicate with one another, they might use words, social media, letters, hand movements or hate mail. APIs, or Application Programming Interfaces, are how apps do it and exchange data. An API acts as the middleman that runs back and forth between the two software applications. So you give your app an instruction and then the app uses an API to send that message to the other app, requesting information. It means you don’t have to do anything manually or write any code. 

There are a few types of API, but the two you need to know about are public and private. Public APIs are accessible to anyone who wants to use them (eg, Google Maps has a public API) as long as you stick to the Ts and Cs. Private APIs are more relevant if you’re sharing stuff between two internal apps in a business. For example, your business might use a private API to connect its CRM platform to its marketing automation platform to share customer data.

You don’t need to know what’s going on behind the scenes for an API to work. You just need to know that it’s doing its job. There are a ton of different APIs that make things like payment processing, data sharing and processing orders possible. Basically, anything you might need as a business.

Why do you need to know?  

  • They’re essential to creating workflows and automations. APIs are key in integrating all kinds of different tools and platforms with one another: from payment processing to facial recognition. They enable you to connect loads of services to create powerful workflows and automations: creating apps with a lot of functionality while saving you time. 
  • It affects the decision-making process. API integrations will be important when choosing your no-code tool. When it comes to choosing your no-code tool, what it can and can’t integrate with (through an API) is absolutely essential. 

Don’t say: 

“My love language is APIs”

Do say: 

“How can I send you an API request?”

Keep learning

Check out this tutorial Bravo Studio have compiled on this very topic.



About the Author
Marianne Eloise

Marianne Eloise is a writer and the author of essay collection Obsessive, Intrusive, Magical Thinking. She has written for The Cut, Vulture, the New York Times and more.


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