So what is an API?

An API(Application Programming Interface) is a door or window to a how a software program works. You may say it a socket that you can plug in to get electricity. An API would allow a mobile app, set-top box or other connected devices in a home to communicate with a service you want to provide.

Why is an API an investment?

See it like that this, an app is a plate of food. All the ingredients have been put together to cook the food. The chef uses their creativity to make the dish. It is added to the menu.  You get the menu. When customers come, they choose which dish they want to savour, order and eat.
Now, an API is like ingredients used to make the dish. Let us use the say our API is eggs. You can use eggs to make so many types of dishes. The creativity is endless. The limits are the ones that you set for yourself.
An API is an investment as it can be used to but limited,
  1. Share assets with internal and external teams. Your company may have data points, pieces of code, database, software or services that they want parties to access.
  2. Seamless connection and communication. It lets developers create solutions in any format; a mobile app, a wearable, or a website.
  3. Universal outlet plug. APIs are free from the issues that web application and mobile app developers experience when developing for HTML5, Hybrid Apps or Cross-Platform Toolkits. It provides standard access.

To answer my question,

1. Monetization

They are 2 ways you can make money from an API. You either sell it as a service to external parties or sell it as a product.
  • PRODUCT. You sell it to other companies to use or integrate into the apps or software. This is having an ingredient that you can sell to the restaurant so they can make food they like. The other option is that the restaurant can make you part of them. You become an entity of the restaurant. Your API will be integrated into companies portfolio for use.
  • SERVICE. You can easily monetize your API by defining what service or the level of access you provide then make external parties pay to gain access to your app. As long as you can have subscribers you will be making money.

2. Distribution

How you distribute it is entirely up to you. An API is independent of APP stores. This is where seamless comes in. You are not restricted by the guidance and policies that govern apps before they are made available on app stores. You are not affected by the time delays and consideration that you have to put in consideration before you release an app.

3. Security – Controlled access

You have total control of access. That means you are accountable for your API. It helps avoid service unavailability in your app. Your customers will already be disgruntled. We all know what comes next from there? With a well defined Information Security Team, that should not be a problem for you. They can undertake proper web application security testing and proper access control.

4. Platform and Device independent

You are not restricted to devices and operating systems. There is nothing hard like making a decision to choose which Android or iOS version to release your app without having statistics or data to lean on. You definitely close out a small percentage of your possible consumers.

5. Cost of production.

When you have a restaurant you have to pay the cooks, buy the foodstuff and spend the time to make the food. Now compare with having to provide or sell an ingredient to a restaurant. What is cheaper?
Having an app means you will have to iterate the product through SCRUM/Agile until you get the most MVP(Most Viable Product). You have already paid designers, developers, testers, security team and pay for your mobile app account. After all this then your APP is out.
Having an API means you will have to iterate the product through SCRUM/Agile until you get the most MVP(Most Viable Product). You will pay for a software architect, developers, testers and security team.
which is cheaper to produce a service?

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