Table of Contents
- What is an API and API Integration
- Common API protocols
- How to Integrate a Website with Third-Party Services
- Top API Providers (According to ProgrammableWeb)
Previously, the phrase “API integration” was known only to a certain circle of people directly working with APIs. Information and communication technologies, such as virtual IP telephony, CRM systems, and many others, have touched almost all business niches by now. Because of that, this abbreviation is increasingly heard by office workers and their managers, whose specialization is not directly related to programming.
What is an API and API Integration
Web services and API integration services are the two most common but overlapping technical terms that are often confused. You may also have heard that these words are used interchangeably. However, have you ever wondered if they are the same or if there are any differences between them? Although the two terms overlap, API integration services and web services are usually two different concepts.
What is an API?
An API (application programming interface) is a set of protocols and definitions that can enable one application to communicate with another. It is an interface that is used to define interactions between various software intermediaries.
It determines the types of requests and calls that can be made. It is an information gateway that allows software and services to communicate with each other. Have you ever wondered how modern digital technologies are so interconnected? Well, the answer is API.
- It also provides extensibility mechanisms, so that consumers can extend the prevailing functionality in many ways and to varying degrees;
- The API integration tools can be component-specific, customizable, or even industry-standard, designed to provide interoperability;
- APIs allow modular programming by hiding information. It can help users utilize interface implementation themselves;
- During application development, API simplifies programming by providing only actions or objects and abstracting the underlying implementations according to the needs of the developer.
In the tech world, almost everything depends on a hidden network of application programming interfaces, from data-driven marketing campaigns to automated business workflows and sprawling app ecosystems.
Advantages of using API integration services
Well, a lot has been said about the importance of API integration services that can improve the experience of professionals. API integration tools are very useful for both developers and businesses. They can help developers reach their maximum potential.
However, do you want to know how APIs can benefit developers and enterprises more effectively? Let’s take a look at some significant benefits of using API integration tools below. This will certainly allow you to have a clear understanding of the importance of using an API.
The API integration services can let you manage your tasks through computers, rather than by using human power. APIs can help agencies update their workflows to be faster and more productive in the best possible way.
It can help you automate manual tasks to ensure an easy and smooth transition between related apps. With the automation that API integration tools bring, you can easily save most of your effort, money, and time.
API integration services allow users to customize their services according to their needs. Users will be able to add or remove features or analyze data according to their requirements. With the help of APIs, you can customize an application however you want and make changes to it if necessary.
Flexible delivery of information
API integration tools can access application components. Therefore, they can make the provision of information and services faster and more flexible.
Easier distribution of new services
API integration services can simplify the implementation of new business models, applications, and digital products. In addition, they can offer highly effective additions to third-party services and products, while improving development processes.
API integration tools are fundamental to digital transformation, and to designing and building amazingly innovative business models. These are the foundations of a business economy that can be built better, faster, and at a lesser cost.
Finally, API integration tools are the best way to embed or integrate services for other platforms. An API can allow different applications, systems, and platforms to interact and exchange information with each other to easily perform different types of tasks. This is very effective for optimizing specific processes.
API integration services can also facilitate and simplify integration, allowing multiple programs to define their relationship according to specific business needs. This allows you to get better results with significant development cost savings.
Common API protocols
SOAP API also stands for Simple Object Access Protocol and is probably the most well-known among all other protocols. However, it is a messaging protocol known for modifying structured information in a computer network’s web service implementation.
- The purpose of SOAP API is to provide neutrality, extensibility, independence, and verbosity;
- This protocol relies heavily on XML (Extensible Markup Language), along with schemas that define it as a very strongly typed protocol for messaging;
- Each operation defined by this service is defined explicitly, along with the XML-based request and the response structure for a specific operation;
- Each input parameter here is bound and defined as a type, such as a string, an integer, or any other complex object.
SOAP API helps developers call processes running on various operating systems like Linux, macOS, Windows, etc. for authorization, authentication, and interaction with XML. Web protocols such as HTTP work on almost all operating systems, therefore SOAP API also allows its clients to call web services and receive responses regardless of platforms and languages.
REST API stands for Representative State Transfer, an architectural style for distributed hypermedia systems. Like other architectural styles, REST API also has its limitations. You must satisfy these restrictions if you want your interface to be convenient.
Here are the main limitations.
- It separates user interface and storage concerns to improve user interface portability across multiple platforms. Surprisingly, it also helps increase scalability by simplifying the server components;
- Each server must contain all the necessary information to make client requests easier to understand. However, the session state is fully dependant on the client;
- Due to caching restrictions, the data in a request-response must be marked as cacheable or non-cacheable;
- A single interface simplifies the overall system architecture, improving the visibility of interactions. Whereas REST API is defined by four interface constraints, including resource identification, resource manipulation through hypermedia views as an application statistics engine, and self-descriptive messages;
- The layered system is designed to allow the architecture to be composed of hierarchical levels with constrained component behaviour. Moreover, each component has access to all the data in the layer it interacts with;
- REST API allows you to extend the client’s functionality by loading and executing code in the form of applets and scripts.
GraphQL is a query language for APIs that allows these queries to be made using existing data. It can offer you a clear but complete description of the data in your API integration tools. This allows customers to request what they want, but nothing more.
Therefore, it can greatly simplify API development and acts as a powerful developer tool in itself.
- You can send GraphQL queries to the API to get exactly what you want to know. These queries always return predictable results;
- GraphQL-based applications are generally faster and more stable because they have no control over the data that applications receive;
- These requests will not only refer to resource properties but also smoothly follow the links between them;
- GraphQL queries can deliver all the data you need in just one request;
- These APIs work faster even with slow internet connections.
These API integration services are organized by fields and types, not endpoints. This makes it easier to use your data to the fullest. They can also easily suggest more understandable and useful errors, whereas types help you avoid the hassle of manually writing parsing code.
How to Integrate a Website with Third-Party Services
Modern applications and sites cannot be isolated. External integrations let one configure authorization through social networks, online payment, and order delivery on an ongoing basis. The site and its integrated services must automatically exchange data in real time to optimize the business process. Let’s talk about how to expand the functionality of your site, and about our experience in doing so.
The best way to integrate is via API integration tools. Say, you purchase a movie ticket. That ticket is automatically added to the calendar, and you can leave a comment on it by instantly logging in through a google account. It is an API integration service that connects the site with the outside world and allows you to perform all these actions – registration, purchase, and subscription – without leaving the site.
You can develop internal integrations from scratch, for example, integrate CRM with an email service and import all customer addresses.
The most popular services develop their API integration tools, make them public, and immediately compose the integration process documentation. Thus, you can connect booking services, voice search, and other applications for the convenience of users.
The site developer can refer to the existing API integration services in their code, after which everything will depend only on the app’s functionality. For example, airlines transmit offer information to an aggregator site, which makes it possible to book an air ticket in a few clicks.
Although a solution must be created for each type of integration and business task, this simplifies the programmer’s work and product development in general.
The functionality that can be added to the site this way includes:
- Chat: Slack, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp;
- Authorization and access: LastPass, OneLogin, One Identity;
- Recommendations: Foursquare, Yelp;
- Polls: Typeform, Form.io;
- Online payment: Mastercard API, PayPal;
- Publications of media content: Youtube, Flickr, Last.fm, Vimeo;
- Security: PhotoCaptcha, Key Captcha;
- Analytics: Google Analytics Management.
As well as services for quickly sending emails, using electronic signatures, Google Maps, streaming platforms, or Wikipedia.
Top API Providers (According to ProgrammableWeb)
The API provides users with access to videos and user information stored on YouTube. This can be used to personalize a website or app using existing user information, and to perform actions such as commenting and rating videos. This RESTful API responds in XML format.
Flickr developers allow everyone to use powerful API integration services that provide access to all imaginable functions, data, and capabilities. The Flickr API is well documented, there is a full description of all requests, and there is an FAQ. The main sources of research on the Flickr API provide enough information to get a “quick start” on your development. There are modules to facilitate the use of the Flickr API for many popular programming languages, including Objective-C and Java, which are widely employed in IOS and Android development.
Amazon Product Advertising API
The Product Advertising API integration tools used to be an ECS, an e-commerce service. Now it provides Amazon product data and e-commerce features. This allows developers, website publishers, and others to use the Amazon Product Discovery features that Amazon uses to run their own business and potentially make money as an Amazon affiliate. In addition, the API has functions to allow users to advertise and search for Amazon products. It has both REST and SOAP API-based versions.
Google Gadgets API
IGoogle Gadgets API integration tools are a collection of dynamic web content pieces that you can embed on a webpage. You can actively interact with your personalized iGoogle homepage and the Google Desktop app, as well as with Google Wave and Google Sites. IGoogle Gadgets uses the Google Gadgets API to interact with the user. Some gadgets designed for Google Desktop can also be used with iGoogle. The Google Gadgets API is open source, and anyone can create a gadget for their own purposes.
It is possible to create a gadget that does not use the Google Gadgets API integration tools. The gadgets are designed to be open to friends and family. Custom gadgets are created using the online wizard and must be one of the following types:
- “Framed Photo” – shows a series of photographs;
- “GoogleGram” – creates special messages of the day;
- “Daily Me” – reports on the mood and feelings of the user;
- “Free Form” – inserts any image or text;
- “YouTube Channel” – displays videos from a YouTube channel;
- “Personal List” – allows the user to create a list;
- “Countdown” – a timer with a countdown;
- Daily Literary Quote – Displays literary quotes from ModeRoom Press.
Amazon S3 API
Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) is an online storage. Amazon S3 can be used to store and access any amount of data anytime, anywhere on the Internet. You can accomplish these tasks using the AWS Management Console, a simple and intuitive web interface.
To take full advantage of Amazon S3’s capabilities, you need to understand a few simple concepts. Amazon S3 stores data as objects in buckets. An object consists of a file and (optionally) any metadata describing the file. To save an item to Amazon S3, upload the required file to the trash can. When uploading a file, you can set object permissions and any metadata.
Baskets are containers for objects. You can have one or more baskets. You can also control access to each bucket (that is, specify which users can create and delete items in the cart, as well as display a list of items), view access logs for buckets and the items in them, and select the geographic region in which Amazon S3 will store baskets and their contents.
GeoNames is a geographic database available through various web services under a Creative Commons license. It’s one of the largest and most widely used geodatabases in terms of the names and coordinates of various places.
The GeoNames database contains over 10 million geographical names and information on more than 7.5 million unique characteristics. Those include names of places in different languages, latitude, longitude, and altitude. All of these characteristics are categorized in a way where each geographic characteristic falls into one of nine classes. And each of these categories, in turn, is divided into subcategories. In addition to listing names in various languages, geographic coordinates, altitude, population, the database also stores administrative divisions and postal codes. Geographic coordinates are recorded in WGS 84.
All of this data is available free of charge through a range of web services and daily database export. These web services include forward and reverse geocoding, finding places by zip code, finding toponyms near a specified location, and finding Wikipedia articles about toponyms. The automated API via the REST protocol allows you to execute up to 2 thousand requests per hour and up to 30 thousand per day.
Amazon EC2 API
Amazon EC2 is a true virtual computing environment that allows you to use web services interfaces to launch instances with different operating systems, load your applications on them, manage network access permissions, and run images using as many systems as you need.
Using Amazon EC2 is easy enough. You just need the following:
- Choose a preconfigured Amazon Machine Image (AMI) or create a custom image (AMI) containing your applications, libraries, data, and associated configuration settings. Alternatively, you can create an AMI that contains your applications, libraries, data, and associated configuration settings.
- Set up security and network access on your Amazon EC2 instance.
- Select the instance types you want. You can then start, stop, and track the number of instances of the AMI as needed, using the web services API or the various management tools provided.
- Determine if you need to run instances in multiple locations, use endpoints with static IP addresses, or attach persistent block storage to your instances.
- Pay only for the resources actually consumed, such as instance hours or data transfers.
As you can see, API integration services offer a wonderful chance to extend your software with interesting features. But you have to be careful because API integration is not something a newbie programmer can easily do. To integrate API quickly and smoothly, consider entrusting the development process to the hands of an experienced company, such as Bamboo Agile. Contact us to get a free consultation on how to help your application reach new heights!
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?