What is a Messaging API?

Messaging API refers to any service that enables developers to implement various messaging technologies in an application via a single programmable interface.

Messaging APIs are usually offered by a third-party provider with access to global carrier networks to facilitate traditional SMS / MMS messaging in addition to more modern Chat APIs. By using a Messaging API, there is no need to develop a backend system for these and other common messaging channels, as the entire necessary infrastructure is ready to use per the PaaS cloud model.

Messaging API Use Cases

One very popular use case of a Messaging API is to provide bulk SMS text messaging services for marketing purposes, such as sending promotional offers straight to customers’ mobile phones. Another use might be to send SMS notifications such as tracking updates from a delivery or courier service. The main benefit of SMS notifications over web-based notifications is that SMS is supported on all SIM-enabled devices (e.g. phones, tablets, and IoT hardware with GSM).

The Messaging API will make available all the tools needed to send and receive SMS or MMS from within an application, and will allow programmable functions to tailor the message to the individual customer. A Messaging API also often extends beyond SMS to include IP- or HTTP-based messaging capabilities (e.g. Social Media and Chat APIs) under a unified programming toolkit.

In purely technical terms, “Messaging API” may also refer to the Messaging API Specification by W3C which outlines how to send, access, and manage SMS / MMS messages on a client device.

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