This article is meant to tell you what an API is, but does not teach you how to use an API. When you are done 'learning the lingo' here, you can head over to our API tutorials here.
What are APIs?
API stands for 'Application Program Interface' - which doesn't really mean anything. What APIs do however is allow your Alexa skills (or any kind of application) to talk to an external application. You can think of an API like an online food ordering service. You send in your order, and get food back. In the case of an API, your send in your order (there are many kinds of orders), and instead of food you get information back (called an 'API' response).
In the event it's UBER Eats's API - you might actually get food back :)
What are API calls?
Sticking with our food example, API calls are the 'orders' you place to an existing API. Your API call is asking the API to do something, and there are several types of orders. In Voiceflow, you can place 5 different kinds of orders:
We'll go over all of these orders after we talk about what the heck a 'URL Endpoint' is.
In our food example, the URL endpoint is the phone number we are placing our food order to. In the case of an API, this would be the URL (the website link in your browser) of the API. Most people use Google Sheets for their API calls with Voiceflow, so you can expect your URL Endpoint would often be the Google sheets URL once you have turned it into an API (Google makes this easy, be sure to follow the tutorial on this).
API responses are what the API sends back after you place an API call. This is always in the response of data. Sometimes, you can place an API call which makes the API do a bunch of tasks (order food, call a taxi, add a friend on FB), followed by an API response telling you what the API did, and whether it was successful.