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Why Do You Need an API: Beginners Guide to API Technology

API is one of the revolutionary innovations in the industry of software development. It has made a huge influence on the way we use and build various web applications, allowing them to communicate with each other and thus, use the part of one another’s functionality.

Both users and developers experience the impact of API on the daily basis. However, many of us never give a second thought about what is hidden behind the hood of the apps we regularly use. Therefore, in this article, we have decided to outline the basics of what exactly is an API, how it helps different programs to talk to each other and how to perform the API integration.

What is an API?

API stands for Application Programming Interface. Hearing the word interface, many of us think of the user interface. In case of the API, however, we are dealing with the software-to-software interface, that enables applications to talk to each other without any user knowledge or intervention. In its essence, API is a piece of software code, written in the series of XML messages. These messages define exactly which functions of the remote application will be leveraged. All in all, API can be defined as a set of rules that determine how one software communicates with another.

The huge benefit is that APIs can work with any common programming language, which makes them a convenient and easy to understand tool for the developers.

Currently the most common approach to delivering web APIs is REST, or REepresentational State Transfer. REST utilizes the same mechanisms that are applied to view regular web pages. Generally speaking, REST API allows you to reach data and functionality already available in one app and, through the programmatic API, make them accessible to other web and mobile applications. After that API can return the data in the following formats:

  • XML - Extensible Markup Language
  • JSON - JavaScript Object Notation

Data, delivered in any of the two formats can be easily accessed by developers and non-developer alike, since it can be smoothly transferred to spreadsheets and similar tools.

How Can API Be Useful for Software Developers?

Nowadays, API is one of the crucial tools, every app should leverage to stay competitive in current markets. The reason for this being the ability of an API to create a whole new form of web presence and make your data accessible to other public and private applications, as well as allow you to integrate with those apps that also provide an API.

There are several advantages of using API for developers and software providers:

  • Accelerating application development process through eliminating the need to build individual integration methods for every desired application;
  • Increasing the app’s functionality by providing the access to the data from other solutions;
  • Expanding the potential client circle by attracting the users of integrated tools.

All in all, APIs allow to include lots of additional functions into your app by simply adding a few lines of code.

API Integration

Even though API is a handy method to use for integration, establishing the connection even with a single API can be somewhat tricky. But what if you want to integrate with multiple APIs? Surely, you can go ahead and develop all the integrations on your own. You have to keep in mind though, that the process consists of multiple stages, such as on-boarding, exploration, education, authentication, code samples, testing, monitoring and sandboxing.

Another way would be to outsource the task and hire the developer to handle the integrations for you. However, such an approach may cost you a pretty penny, moreover you still have to take care of the integration maintenance.

The most effective solution is a dedicated API integration service. One of such services is Data2CRM.API, a unified API provider that offers seamless integration of your app with 12+ CRM platforms. Creating a connection with this service you receive a simultaneous access to such industry leaders as Salesforce, Zoho, SugarCRM, Highrise, Insightly, etc. Such an approach to API integration will save you a lot of time and money.

In case you are interested to learn more about the functioning of the service, you can take a look at the interactive documentation with code samples for you to try. Or you can schedule a free consultation with the service representative to receive the best industry insights and discuss the service functionality details.

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