Inside//Out: Google Orkut (beta)
Buzz Friday for September 28, 2007

Whiteboard//Session: What is an API?

Picture 9.pngNot a day goes by when I don't see complex technical terms thrown around in media press or on blogs. I often wonder if the average marketer knows what half of these terms mean. This new series is aimed at graphically illustrating (this is where the whiteboard comes into play) complex terms in ways that normal, non-geek people can understand.

First up is the API. One of the core tenets of Web2.0 is the idea around "open APIs", you've no doubt heard it before. API stands for Application Programming Interface and is really pretty simple when you break it down. Here is my whiteboard video that explains the process.

[Feed readers please click through to the post if you cannot see the video.]

Key takeaways:

  • APIs open up and regulate a library of data and services that you can access
  • APIs are controlled to give and deny access depending on your permissions
  • Marketers only need to know what's available in the library, not how to get it back (that's the technology person's job)
  • Mashups are applications that use these APIs to get and combine data from multiple sources

Is there a term that's confusing you? Do your tech guys like to show you up and you want a little revenge? Email me or leave me a comment with the buzzwords that you would like to see explained in a similar post in the future. Also, let me know if you have ways I can improve on this concept for new posts.

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