The digital world has afforded a lot of innovation and forward momentum in almost every aspect of society. Everything from health care to entertainment has been impacted by the interconnectedness of the internet and the digital age. This has opened up all kinds of new work opportunities creating a developed world that is more connected than it ever has been.
Because of the massive growth in technology, and specifically the software world, there are now more SaaS (Software as a Service) tools than ever. These tools are how so many normal functions of society happen that people take for granted. However, with the emergence of all this new software has come the need for these different pieces of technology to talk to each other. That’s where the API comes into play, which is arguably one of the most necessary and important tools in the digital sphere.
Learning how to use an API (which stands for Application Programming Interface) is a necessary part of almost any industry in the modern era. API integrations have become something that many businesses can’t function without. APIs power social media, networking, and websites and connect almost any kind of digital tool. If you have been wanting to find out more about API integration and what languages to write to your API, here is everything you need to know!
What Exactly is an API Integration?
As was already covered, APIs are the main method used in the digital world to help software and different tools speak to each other. Often times one business will be using multiple SaaS tools in order to accomplish daily operations and APIs help to connect data between these tools. In order to use an API, often times a company will have to choose an API integration.
An API integration can best be thought of as the connection between applications that the data follows. The API itself acts like a door that accesses the data found within various applications and tools. This door accesses the data, however, the different ‘doors’ of an API all need to be made part of one coherent system. This is where API integrations come in. They act like a connecting stream of data that can pass through the door of an API and find itself in the same steam.
Without API integration, there wouldn’t be a sharing or aggregating of data, which is what makes this part of the process so vital. When it comes to setting up API integration, the two most popular choices are going to be off-the-shelf options or custom-codded pipelines.
Going to the customer route can involve a lot of expense and be tricky. A software developer is often hired to help write custom code that integrates with each SaaS program connected to the API. This can be very difficult as there are a lot of factors to consider when writing a script for each application individually.
Authenticating your API
This is a big step in the API setup process, as it allows for the exchange and access of data from several endpoints. There are two general methods of authentication, one is token-based. These tokens show authentication and can be the more simplified option. Tokens can also be temporary as a client or software may only allow for authentication in a set time frame that a token is valid.
The second is OAuth, which represents a more complicated version of authentication that has a deeper level of complexity. In some complex applications, you can use both tokens and OAuth so that you can navigate situations that may call for both.
What is a REST-type Interface?
When it comes to writing to an API, the best languages are going to be the ones you can use with the most proficiency. Now, some API libraries are more limited than others, however, a lot of APIs are built after the REST-like interface. One of the reasons these are so popular is that you can use them in several different languages.
Using third-party APIs is nothing if not complex and integrating APIs is a process that takes a certain amount of skill and knowledge to do well. The good news is that since third-party API integration is so extremely common in the modern landscape, there are more and more tools to help you do this. Finding ways to set up dependable third-party APIs is a necessity in today’s digital age, and it’s something that can help scale your business to the success that you want to see.