Love APIs? Confused by them? Or, do you have absolutely no idea what APIs are? Read on and see why I love them, what they are, why we’re excited by them, and why you should be too.

Back in February at API Days Sydney, we announced a preview of Telstra’s new API, which is a public SMS API, limited to a small group of developers. The preview has been a huge success with more than 1,300 developers registering to use it in some really interesting ways, such as monitoring rabbit fences in the bush by sending an SMS notification to the owner if the system goes offline.

As a result of its huge popularity, yesterday, as part of Apigee’s I Love APIs event at the Telstra Customer Insight Centre in Sydney, we opened up access to the SMS API to all developers (you can register at our API Developer portal).

Telstra is one of Apigee’s first Australian customers and we’re delighted to have supported them in bringing this major event to Sydney – I Love API’s is the world’s largest conference and community shows dedicated to API strategies and digital business.

The conference featured two tracks specifically built for technologists, business leaders and developers, sharing knowledge to help attendees implement a successful API-centric digital strategy for their business. The day was packed with use cases, technology best practices and insightful business perspectives, with speakers including Apigee’s CTO Greg Brail, Telstra’s CTO Vish Nandlall, Apigee product specialists and members of the Telstra API Program team.

Not content with just one public API, we have now also introduced Mobile Connect, which allows a developer to provide a login and authentication to their application or service, via their mobile phone, doing away with conventional need to authenticate via a username and password.

Mobile Connect is actually an API facilitated by the GSMA, which simply matches you to your mobile phone, to let you log-in to websites and apps quickly without the need to remember passwords and usernames. Mobile Connect can be used by customers around the world on all participating mobile network operators – the relevant mobile operator is simply discovered via the Mobile Connect API Exchange.

Access for users is via the OpenID Connect standard, which is similar to other authentication and identity services often incorporated into applications and services. However, the big difference with Mobile Connect is that authentication is performed by the user of the mobile phone.

But this is just the beginning. In the coming months Telstra will be making more of our APIs public, providing the access to information and services, which we hope will help developers create cooler and more useful apps. To stay informed, make sure you subscribe to our RSS feed.

And if you do make something cool – please don’t forget to let us know what you have done! We’re always amazed by what developers can do with a few simple APIs.

In fact, it makes us very API!

APIs Explained

  •  An API is an Application Programming Interface. At its most basic level it allows apps to talk to each other. For example, it’s how our mobile device connects with Facebook. But there is so much more APIs can and are doing.
  • APIs power websites, widgets, mobile apps and even the devices we use. In fact, we’re all using APIs in our personal lives and at work, and often without even knowing. When commuting to work and reading our favourite news app, or checking the weather app, or simply tweeting, most of that activity is API driven.
  • The reality is APIs allow us to be mobile and have connectivity to our favourite apps and websites, and for business, they are enabling innovation and helping companies be more competitive.

If anyone asks, yes, APIs are really important.