API Integration quite simply put, is the process of communication between a number APIs, in which data is shared,seamlessly, without human interruption. API stands for Application Programming Interface. An API acts as a set of tools, which are used to relay messages and requests amongst various applications.
It can be likened to a receptionist of a company, who is portrayed at the face of the company or first point of contact, only an API is the online version thereof, allowing applications to communicate with other systems. Companies are able to market their services and products online,as a result of a channel, created by an API. An example of API Integration is when you make online purchases, and proceed to the payment process – at this point, data is being exchanged back and forth,verifying your credit card details, etc. this is done by means of API Integration.
Want your business to have that competitive edge, but don’t really know how to go about it? The answer is simple – API Platforms. This is the foundation upon which APIs function. This makes the automated experience for customers more streamline, efficient and user-friendly.
API Platforms facilitate the interactions and exchanges between consumers and producers, providing additional services. An example of this is when developers use Facebook’s API to create third-party services, such as games and interactive programs and as a result thereof, Facebook would also benefit, due to the increased usage of their site and also an increase in new Facebook accounts being opened.
The more services you can offer your client, the more beneficial it will be for the company. Companies across all industries are now more focused than ever, to provide a superior user experience, to that of their competitors, with the end desire of luring more customers.
The banking industry is one such example, where clients have the option of online/digital banking, which at times, can be somewhat of a tedious experience, and also lessens the need for face to face interaction and it is therein that an API Platform can serve to be a game changer.
As is the case with APIs. Businesses and companies are now able to see an increase in production, due to APIs being used to update workflows. Businesses are once again at the forefront of benefitting from APIs as less time is used by software developers during the coding process. Through APIs, users and companies are now able to customize content and services which they use the most.
Data migration is better supported with the usage of APIs, and therewith allows services to become more flexible.
With regards to the API Integration Process, there are a few steps to adhere to; Step 1. Research & Prep. – It is important to note that when it comes to web APIs, they are not all the same, as there are three different types of web APIs, namely Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), Representational State Transfer (REST) and Remote Procedural Call (RPC).
Step 2. Data Flow Planning – This is a very important part of the API Integration Process and basically entails the transferring and flowing of data from one application to another. Security also plays a huge role in the form of authentication, as most web APIs are governed and protected by security protocols.
Amongst the popular security protocols are OAuth and SAML. Data discrepancies form part of the process and in our everyday life, we find ourselves indirectly involved with this specific process.
An example thereof, is when you create a table in Microsoft Word and then try to transfer it directly to a Microsoft Excel document, by means of copy and paste, however, it, more often than not, mumbles up the table, placing numbers and words in the wrong format.
Another one is the log in prompt, which you’d find on apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. When the application loads, it uses the API to verify if the user has logged in before with those user details.
In the business world, today, there is a famous saying, “Time is money.” What if you could save time and increase productivity?
Well, by making use of APIs, you will definitely be saving time and resources, and computers and apps will be be able to engage with each other, automatically, without any human assistance.
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