An API (or application programming interface) is a way of getting computer programs to communicate with each other. These programs can be anything from databases or application on your PC to a web service (like CharityeMail).
Usually, programs are told what to do by their users (aka people) by clicking on buttons/typing on their keyboards and show users data on a screen. This is great for people to use but surprisingly hard for other computer programs to interpret. This is where the API comes in.
Say you have a database on your computer that has all of your contacts and you want to import them into CharityeMail. You can export the data and import it into CharityeMail manually each time, or you can program the database to talk directly to CharityeMail using the API.
The database can then be told what to do with CharityeMail. For example:
- Keep the contacts up to date
- Get information about which campaigns the contacts have interacted with
- Send a campaign to certain contacts
- Find out which contacts have unsubscribed
…all automatically and driven by the database.
Almost everything you can do as a person using the ChairyeMail web-interface can be done using the API. So the possibilities are endless.