There’s soft banter in the background and an espresso machine grinding away in the distance. It’s a warm autumn day and the sun isn’t baking yet. I’m at Octane Coffee in Grant Park downing caffeine at an alarming rate.
And as the jitters help keep the status of Faretrotter up to date, it’s almost starting to feel a bit redundant when launching and relaunching.
For those who are unfamiliar, ‘API’ stands for Application Programming Interface. In short, every website, app, or any piece of technology for that matter, is built with the help of other pieces of technology (duh!). One of the ways that this is done with with a single or many APIs. It’s a way of systematically making the inner-workings of one piece of software available so that others can leverage the meaningful information provided to another service.
A couple use cases are Weather.com’s forecast showing up on Google, or how NextBus works with municipalities to alert citizens of when the next bus will arrive. These services power not only their respective websites so that their partners can provide value to their customers, too. It helps their partners not having to worry about the technical side of that service and focus just on their customers.
Faretrotter’s API digs deep sits on our platform and exposing quite a bit of information. That is, it gives partners, developers, and anybody else, access to 13,103,975 distinct transportation routes globally. In lieu of wrangling disparate data sources to make travel information meaningful, that’s where our API comes to play. We serve it up at under 1 sec (1000 milliseconds is our main goal).
Not to nerd out too hard, but the special part of the API is that it takes two geo-coordinates from anywhere on Earth (sorry, not interstellar quite yet) and regurgitates every mode of option between the two points. That’s a pretty neat thing given the complexity of what we are trying to solve – never mind all of the issues surrounding the integrity and upkeep of our data. Putting our API out there like this does make us a bit uneasy. But also equally as excited.
We’ve drummed up a few exemplary applications that we’ll be launching in the coming weeks as well. No sneak peeks just yet. In the meantime, feel free to give us a follow on GitHub.