An application programming interface (API) is a series of protocols necessary for creating and integrating new software applications. These rules explain how the different components within these applications should communicate with each other. It is a software intermediary which is found in-between the software applications and a particular web server.
Define API Integration?
API integration is devising a way for numerous APIs to communicate, interact and share data without human intervention. It involves utilizing the potential of APIs to facilitate communication between numerous software applications and web servers. This allows companies to automate and integrate their business systems to ensure seamless data sharing between them.
An application programming interface’s primary function is to facilitate smooth data processing and transmission between the systems. It works in the following manner:
- An end-user utilizes a client application to initiate an API call to retrieve certain information;
- The API’s Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) processes the request coming from the client application,
- The API then sends the valid request to the web server by initiating a separate call,
- The web server sends its response containing the necessary information to the API after receiving the request, and
- The API then transmits this data to the initial client application of the end-user.
Common uses of API integration
Application programming interface (API) integration has become critical for companies with the rapid development of cloud-based applications and products. It enables these corporate enterprises to create a system ensuring seamless data connectivity within their various business solutions. Moreover, there is no manual intervention in the entire process. The common examples of application programming interface (API) integration uses are as follow:
- An e-commerce order management system processes customer orders by accessing client details, product descriptions, and inventory levels. This is possible only when an API integration platform facilitates ongoing data exchange between three distinct business systems. These are the e-commerce storefront, order management system and ERP software application, and
- People often use the payment gateway integration on e-commerce websites to pay for their purchases. They do not see the actual transaction taking place. However, an API integration platform aids in verifying the customers’ credit/debit card details. It transfers the credit information from the companies’ ERP system to the e-commerce website. Only then does the payment takes place.
How to accomplish API Integration?
Companies can use any of the following techniques to facilitate API integration depending on their business needs:
- Custom integration where these corporate enterprises implement a hand-written strategy an expert formulates for them,
- Connector application containing the necessary APIs facilitating the integration of two distinct software platforms, and
- API integration management platforms are SaaS applications designed to develop APIs capable of connecting other systems.
Proper implementation of API integration allows companies to gain a competitive edge in the market. It results in the automation of their scalable business systems without any manual human intervention. This ensures seamless data connectivity between systems to improve business monitoring and decision-making. They can even eradicate clerical errors inherent when transferring volumes of information from one solution to another with success.