What is an API?
Before we get into what API integration means, allow us to first delve into the subject of what API even is.
API stands for “application programming interface”. It is essentially an interactive platform for communication between data, applications & devices that help build application software through the use of various tools, definitions & protocols.
To better help understand, we can compare it to User Interface: while UI is what humans use to interact with software, APIs are what the computer system uses for the same task.
The most common & widely used API would be the REST (Representation State Transfer) API, which primarily assists with web services. The communication process typically involves an API-enabled application, a remote server & a data request. What the REST API would do in this scenario is facilitate successful interaction between the application & the online server to make that data request, so as to receive a response to said request.
The other two types of API are SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) & RPC (Remote Procedural Call).
What is an API Integration?
API integration is essentially the establishment of a connection between two different applications using their APIs, so as to enable communication & exchange of information between them. It offers the opportunity to establish communication with backend systems. For businesses, API integration allows for the development of a connection with the consumer, paving the way for digital transformation & improved user experience. All in all, this helps not only boost traffic for a brand’s site, but consequently increases sales as well.
API integration establishes a channel for the brand to sell its products & services online. Moreover, it allows for access to services by the addition of codes to applications, enhancing connectivity, functionality & thus user experience.
The Importance of API Integration
API is an important tool for the productive processing of information requests & the efficient functioning of enterprise systems. It acts as an online programming interface for the organisation. Some of the advantages of API integration for online businesses include the following:
- API integration can improve software efficiency, as it enables seamless communication between a variety of diverse devices, applications, & other data forums to smooth out the process of requesting data & receiving relevant responses.
- It saves time. The ease of functioning characteristic of APIs provides developers the opportunity to get more done in a lesser amount of time, so that the brand gets to be more productive & yield lucrative results in a shorter span of time. Considering how competitive the online business is, the phrase, “Time is money,” is more relevant than ever.
- It can help improve user experience, as it affords significant insight into user interaction with an application.
- API integration enables customisation of website content, so as to tailor it in accordance to the preferences of the brand’s target demographic. This helps attract customers & persuade them of the relatability of your brand to their choices.
- It is a cost-effective way of creating & developing innovative business models, thus making API integration an essential element of application economics & digital transformation.
- API integration enables seamless functioning through automation strategies. When manual tasks are automated, transition between linked applications becomes smoother & more efficient.
The Process of API Integration
Our team at Digicoms consists of web developing professionals, persistent in the aim to relay your unique brand identity & voice to your target audience. To develop API integration, there are a few questions that must be addressed; like what type of API & data payload we are dealing with, & whether or not we have proper documentation (adequate documentation clarifies how to format data requests & what data is available). Our team will carry out thorough research so as to gauge whether integration is possible, & proceed to planning the data flow (the data to be transferred). For this step, we will keep under consideration authentication instance, data format, & the timing, amount & speed of data transfer. Data flows & consequent development will be meticulously planned out.
The next step would be the development process, & then testing. For any element of web development, it is important to test its efficiency before a final launch. There are two types of testing that are typically carried out: development testing (to ensure the authentication is accounted for & that the data is progressing to its endpoint without any hiccups) & use-case testing (this is testing carried out in conditions the integration will be expected to perform under).
Why opt for API Integration?
APIs have become an essential part of the digital world, so much so that you can find it as an integral element in any industry. However, with these tools one would require the adequate equipment for them to function seamlessly. That is where API integration comes in. Regardless of what faction of business you belong to, API integration is a process that is paramount for an online presence of a brand in this day & age.