Are you planning to integrate with any 3rd party APIs in your next software project? Should you’re development project have an API integration? Have you considered these questions while brainstorming your software system?
What is an API
API stands for Application Programming Interface. In layman’s terms, it is a set of methods by which one piece of software can communicate with another.
In practice, developing an API for your business’ data means enabling other software systems to access your databases in a secure way that you control.
Vice-versa, when you integrate with a 3rd party API, like Spotify, or Twitter, you are consuming their database in a way that’s allowed by the 3rd party, and configured by you. The amount, or type of data that’s accessible will depend on the company of the 3rd party API.
What’s so great about API integrations?
In other fields, but certainly for technology, it is wise to take advantage of what has come before.
For instance, we had a client recently who wants to build and automotive information system… and was planning on scouring the Web for vehicle information and inputting it into a database we build.
This is a massive and error-prone process… so, why bother when companies like Edmunds have already done the work and provide an API from which you can gather all the vehicular data you could dream of? It’s labeled, sorted and ready to use!
Best to stand on the shoulders of giants, and focus your efforts on those unique added-value propositions your software company offers. Investing in API integration services or API development allows you to harness what’s already available. This can lead to greater productivity, value and new service options for your customers.
API development can be about function, not only data.
For instance, if you are planning to build an e-commerce site, build one that provides an API to its core functions like “Add to Cart” and “Place Order”. This is one reason why we love custom Magento development.
If your e-commerce site includes an API, then you’ll be able to extend your customer’s shopping experience into other platforms, like a mobile app, or 3rd party websites.
Another classic example is integrating with the Facebook and Google Authentication API’s to allow your customers a seamless registration experience on your site. Logins can be a mess to keep track of but using the technology that already exist from these two companies, it simplifies the login process for your customers. A better function, not more data.
Talk to your developer and/or study the documentation of the software platform your web application is built upon. Double-check that it has ready-made functions to facilitate interacting with external APIs, and is also ready to expose its own data and functions via an API, should you eventually need it.
The modern-day platforms that Endertech embraces are all API capable… for example, platforms like Magento or Shopify for E-Commerce, Drupal or WordPress for Content Management Systems, and Symfony for custom backend software applications.
Start the conversation, connect the data you need and simplify the functions you already offer. API integrations and API development can take your product value a long way.