Business and technology

APIs are everywhere

The Application Programming Interface is for IT just as electricity is fundamental for society
by Serpro Press and Media — 13 de august de 2018

It's just three letters. Together they form something we can say is ubiquitous in the world of technology, both among those who use APIs to create IT solutions and among users of these solutions. Although it is a common subject for developers, a user of an application may have never heard that "A-P-I" is the acronym for Application Programming Interface.

Anyway, what really matters is knowing that APIs are in fact everywhere. Are you adept at YouTube? Well, know that the video platform uses APIs in its construction. The same goes for WhatsApp, Uber, and a variety of software and apps around the world.

Experts often say that just as a device uses electricity from a utility company through a socket, an IT application can use data or functionality of a service through an API. A plug makes it possible to connect electronic equipment cables directly to the electrical structures of a home. Without this, for instance, you need to have specific knowledge and tools to remove cables from inside the wall, mend with the cable of the device and store everything again.

That's why in the technology field there are the facilitator APIs, which are defined by Gartner as software components. Accessible only by programming, APIs implement functions independent of the source application.

Business transformation

Gartner also broadcasts what he calls the "API Economy". The Institute's concept refers to a set of business models, based on secure access to functionality and data, for an ecosystem of application developers and users, built via the API. In this ecosystem, according to Gartner, most of the money is not generated by directly leveraging the APIs, but by the business opportunities they enable and the building applications that consume them. According to the institute, this technology would make it even easier for companies to expand their business potential and focus on their core businesses.

The Brazilian government is aware of this, and the proposal is that public sector-created APIs become platforms that allow more efficient access to public and government data, generating benefits for citizens and companies. "APIs such as the CPF and CNPJ Consultation offer many advantages for companies, facilitating decision making, improving analysis processes and minimizing the risk of fraud and errors", exemplifies Felipe Lopes, manager of Structural Platforms and Transversal Solutions at Serpro. CPF and CNPJ are similar records to the social security number and the Employer Identification Number (EIN) in the US respectively.

"Ebanx, Cielo, Serasa, BNDES are some of the many clients of the Serpro APIs. For e-commerce companies, minimizing fraud risks, by performing cadastral validation, means increasing revenue.This same validation applies to the granting of credit by financial institutions , who need to guarantee the veracity of the information, whether of the citizen, or of a company or of an invoice committed to guarantee a loan", adds Alfredo Dias, from Information Products Management Division at Serpro.


Serpro APIs

Get Involved!

Hire and start using the API services

(portuguese only)

Serpro already offers six APIs. New options will soon be released and others may come with the help of external partners like you.

Any developer can suggest creating an API that involves data stored by Serpro. After structuring the idea, the internal approval and the consent of the government d that holds the database involved, the proposal can become a reality: at this stage, the API Center of the company starts construction alongside the Development teams responsible for the systems where are the data that will be made available by the API, elaborating the necessary integrations to obtain the data in the base of origin.

During the build phase of the API, documentation is also organized with the methods detailing, with API input and output parameters. This documentation is on the internet  (portuguese only) and can be viewed by customers.

Apis2.jpegIn addition, there is a customer area (image to the right), on the web, so that he can check his invoices, monitor the consumption of APIs, and other actions.

It is worth remembering that, for APIs, each contractor has a pair of access keys, which are used for authentication, authorization, auditing and consumption ticketing, on the Serpro API platform. This key pair generates a token, valid for consumption of the APIs contracted during the period of one hour, until the need for new authentication, providing another layer of security in case the client discloses the token by some carelessness. In addition to ensuring security of access to information, any consumer assessment requested by customers can be easily performed.