What is an API? (explanation with cartoon picture so a 5 year old could understand it)
Just imagine this scenario.
You alone, went into a warehouse and trying to retrieve something, for example, 3 screwdrivers, a toolbox, and 15 phillips screws.
But you do not know, where those things are in the warehouse.
At this time, the warehouse manager gave you a menu which stated where to retrieve those stuff. And he warned you to use these set of instructions only and do not touch other things in there, because the manager does not want you to mess up their organized warehouse.
Then, you take the menu, took out all the stuff you need, and left the warehouse happily.
So, in the above story,
The warehouse are other companies’ database
All the things in the warehouse is their data
The menu the store manager gives you is an API, basically , a menu that tells you how to retrieve some of their data, without messing up their database.
The above story is the perfect (self-proclaimed) example to explain, what is an API.