In recent years, mobile app development has undergone a profound change. Now, mobile apps are no longer just a software package with limited functionality, but complex and fast-performing solutions responding to users’ social preferences, geo-location, and usage history. Such advancement is possible due to the use of mobile app APIs. In this article, we are going to provide a comprehensive explanation of what mobile app API is and why to use it in the application development.
What is API in Mobile Application?
API is an acronym for Application Programming Interface. The concept stands for various software libraries, operating and web-based systems that are used for building applications.
In the realm of mobile app development, APIs are generally the set of requirements that define the way mobile apps receive and share the data with other apps or web services. Simply put, APIs are the routes information uses to travel from one app to another, along with all the roadside traffic signs. For example, a mobile app uses an API to receive data about the user’s location from Google Maps or to send the in-app data the user wants to share in his social media account.
Since the APIs easily connect to the necessary data and rule rendering of the required information, they eliminate the need to pack massive volumes of data into mobile apps framework. This makes enterprise apps enjoy more functionality while being easier to program.
The Advantages of Using APIs in Mobile App Development
Faster Time to Market
The use of APIs reduces the need to reinvent the wheel and code the entire app to make all the features work. For example, if your enterprise app or a mobile game presupposes saving a current session so that it can be retrieved any time later, mobile app developers may easily connect the app to the Google Drive API or DropBox API.
More Functions with Less Coding
The use of mobile app APIs complements the app with additional functions without the need to code it from scratch. Just imagine, with a couple of APIs, your corporate team management app can let the team transform the comment into an Asana task or GitHub issue, send the shared files to the storage, invite each other to events and easily navigate to their location using the familiar Google Maps.
Social media sites are not just entertainment websites; they are a modern form of living. Connecting APIs of popular platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Whatsapp will allow your users to share the content, post comments, and leave reviews directly in your app. It is up to you to leverage this engagement to increase users’ retention and mobile app conversion.
Another feature mobile app API enables – sign-in with Google or Facebook – deserves a special mention. The apps need to ask users to register to maintain security and offer personalization. Still, typing in the email address, creating another password, and confirming the registration is becoming a more and more daunting task in the modern fast-paced world. Using a Google or Facebook APIs supports a sign-in feature while enhancing the mobile app user experience.
Popular Free APIs to Use for Mobile App Development
Here are the 10 most useful mobile app APIs that can be used for mobile app development. The best part of it is that they are completely free to use so you can have a variety of great features not increasing your mobile app budget.
- Google Maps API. Google Maps seems to be the most popular free API used in millions of apps. Maps can help the users locate the recommended shops, restaurants, hotels, etc. as well as navigate the users to your office or an event hall.
- Gmail API. You can use a RESTful Gmail API to give users secure access to their Gmail mailboxes and allow sending emails directly from the app.
- Google Drive API. The API allows integrating the Drive services into a mobile application so that users can easily add and access Google Drive files.
- Google Calendar API. The API allows creating, displaying and modifying calendar events and may be an excellent solution for apps dealing with events, meetings, and schedules.
- Facebook API. As mentioned earlier, Facebook API can be used for facilitating sing-in and adding social context to mobile applications.
- Google Analytics API. With this API, you can set up a customized tracking of a mobile app conversion and, thus, use the data for boosting your app marketing efforts.
- YouTube Data API. Connecting the API, you will be able to add the YouTube functionality to your app. This includes uploading a video, managing playlists and updating settings.
- Foursquare API. Foursquare API will let users access a large database of locations and check-in in the venues they are visiting.
- Twitter API. Integration of Twitter RESTful APIs gives access to code Twitter features and allows app developers to interact with Twitter trends and search data.
- Weather API. Last but not least app worth your attention is a Weather API that will make your app display current weather for any location. It is particularly suitable for booking and travel apps.
Mobile app APIs are the future of mobile application development tapping into:
- app development speed
- the functionality of an app
- improved usability
If you have an app idea, feel free to drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and hear our suggestions about what APIs can enhance your application.