If you’re not a developer or some other breed of nerd, you may be asking “What the heck is an API and why does everyone keep talking about them?” An API is defined as an ‘Application Programming Interface’. That definition doesn't help much for for the non-technical, so in practical terms it is simply a documented way for one application to talk to another application.
Why are we talking about APIs? Because they are cool! Yes, APIs are cool. Let me explain.
API vs. Ford Model T
For the unfamiliar, you may more easily identify with a user interface and understand the importance. When you get into your car, unless you’re one of the few remaining Ford Model T owners, you don’t have to cross wires and yank on pulleys to operate your vehicle. These manual steps are not required because the designer built a user interface for you to operate your vehicle. The interface includes the steering wheel, gas and brake pedals and even some knobs to turn up and down the heat to keep you comfortable. The better this user interface is designed, the easier and more enjoyable it is to operate your vehicle.