APIs are seen as the greatest boon in a rapidly growing digital world filled with technology. An API serves as a communication tool, bridging a number of web applications or web-based tools. This is done with less human interaction and intervention.
Modern cloud-based enterprises find API as a powerful tool. As all the applications and products are connected through the cloud, it is mandatory for the organization to automatically synchronize and collect data from all the software that they use.
Even though the SMTP service is widely used to send bulk email, the web API is preferred. This is because web APIs are quick and have fewer handshake properties compared to SMTP services.
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Why is API Integration important?
An API has the ability to integrate two apps or systems. This provides more flexibility, reduces the degree of redundancy, and improves the integrity and efficiency in handling and communicating data. Take, for example, a simple online food ordering app.
Firstly, the customer chooses one among the list of various restaurants. Here, data is interchanged between the databases holding the list of hotels, cuisines they currently have, various offers that every restaurant provides, and a database for prices.
Once the food item is added to the cart, the customer is navigated to the payment page. Data communication between the bank’s server, customers’ debit or credit cards, or online payment apps is all involved. From this, it can be concluded that an API integration system is everything that modern processes require.
Ways to achieve API integration
- API integration platforms are only SaaS applications designed and developed to communicate with other SaaS applications. With this, you can connect to various available private and public APIs.
- For easy management, various API connectors are available. These connectors can easily convert data to the required form to achieve API integration while maintaining integrity.
- Another method of API integration that is becoming very popular nowadays is handwritten or custom-made integration techniques. Software developers with a deep understanding and knowledge of the application will work on this.
Steps involved in API integration
1. Doing basic research on the prerequisites and preparation
There are three general types of APIs: SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), REST (Representational State Transfer) and RPC (Remote Procedure Call). One of these APIs is chosen based on the application’s requirements.
The type of payload to be carried can be JSON or XML. Proper documentation on all the APIs having the above details is maintained and is a mandatory procedure.
2. Planning the flow of data
As every protocol has rules and regulations based on the application, it is important to provide authentication considering all the restrictions.
The amount of data that has to be transferred must be decided based on the capacity (volume) and the time taken (speed) based on the application. Data discrepancies such as file size limitations and format limitations must be considered.
3. Data Mapping
All the available data is put together in a master data map. This can help all the developers, customers, and consultants easily access the required data.
4. Development and Testing
The code is developed and then tested based on the above three steps. Testing can be of two types: Development testing or use case testing to ensure that the API integration successfully achieves the intended goal.