What the heck is an API and what does it do?
The answer to this can be very complicated and full of developer-speak, but for the average person, the simple answer is that an API is a way for two pieces of software to talk to each other.
HR Bartender posted an interview with Chris Lennon of SilkRoad to explain what an API is and how it works in HR software.
Here’s a summary of the main points:
- An API (as far as an HR practitioner needs to know) helps connect different vendor’s software together. For example, an API is used to connect a talent management module to an HRMS.
Case in point, at HireGround we use our API to integrate our ATS with a client’s payroll or HRIS system.
- Most modern software uses APIs, especially mobile apps which allow data to transfer from the device to the vendor.
- “Releasing an API” (an announcement you may hear from Apple or Faceboook) means that they are making it public so that developers can tie into the API using their software product.
For example, HireGround makes use of Twitter’s public API to post jobs as tweets.
- APIs are not inherently secure. It depends on the software provider how seriously security is taken and how well it is built into the API.