Frequently Asked Questions
What is an API?
An application programming interface (API) is a set of protocols enabling different software applications to communicate with each other.
What is an API integration?
An API integration describes the connection of two disparate software services.
What are API integration tools?
API integration tools are a specific type of software for building, managing, and publishing APIs.
While API integrations don’t get as much hype as a programming language or software framework might, they are just as important to the software development process.
So what is API integration? Well, when it comes to software and technology, it’s best to go into detail.
What Is API Integration?
First things first, what is an API? An API is an application programming interface. APIs are a set of protocols that enable different software systems to connect and share data.
For example, ask Siri or Google Assistant to play a song right now on your phone. There’s a good chance that digital voice is connected through an API to a music program on your phone that’s willing to fetch the song you asked for.
This operation takes place when Siri or Google Assistant’s API interacts with the API of your music program. In this way, APIs work as software intermediaries between two or more technologies.
‘API integration’ is an explicit means of describing this connection. And as you can see, this can be a very critical part of any technical endeavor.
Software hardly exists in a vacuum, so these transactions that occur across one technology to the other more or less make these technologies useful in the first place.
How Do API Integrations Work?
The simplest way to explain APIs is that while the user interface is meant for the user, a human being, APIs are made for the entirety of the application or the computer.
To elaborate, the human accesses the application. In web applications of websites, the API lies between the application and the server and responds to the human user accessing the application after they make a certain request.
Using the predefined protocols APIs are by definition given, the API will ask the server to fulfill the user’s request. To put it frankly, APIs are the middlemen of software.
They’re the waiter collecting your orders and serving them up to the kitchen, making sure you get your food fresh and hot!
Why Are API Integrations Important?
API integrations give modern businesses the tools they need to be successful. Alright, maybe you’re not the kid behind Siri or Google Assistant, so knowing the ins and outs of API integration is not of use to you in that regard.
But if you’re managing a tech startup or any other company for that matter, you’ll probably run into API integrations one way or the other.
HubSpot, for instance, is a popular content optimization system (COS) combining the powers of a content management system (CMS) and a customer relationship management (CRM) tool.
Though HubSpot is frequently compared to WordPress, HubSpot objectively offers more tooling for you to take your business to the next level, via marketing and beyond. The many integrations HubSpot provides only multiply this effect.
Those who still want the CRM of HubSpot, for one, but are keen on using WordPress, deploy API integrations to embed HubSpot into their WordPress CMS.
On the other hand, those who take to HubSpot CMS, sometimes use API integrations so they can still utilize Salesforce, a similarly popular CRM.
Of course, the utility of API integrations goes far past HubSpot. This is just one example.
If you want to build an application of any kind, mobile or web, APIs will play a crucial role. Representational state transfer (REST) APIs, particularly, are integral for using networks.
5 Examples of API Integration Use Cases
For some more detail on how API integration can help your business, read just below. The following examples provide the most common API integration use cases.
1. Connect Cloud Apps
Cloud apps are software applications where much of the back-end technology, like the logic and data is accessed online through the internet rather than through a local machine.
Considering that Amazon Web Services (AWS) — a cloud platform that provides servers, storage, networking, and more — controls over a third of the market, you’re probably more familiar with cloud apps than you think. Google Docs is a prime example of a cloud app.
API integrations are the standard for connecting cloud apps these days. Circling back to Google Docs, this is how one would consolidate their documentation with apps like Google Sheets, Slack, Discord, GitHub, and dozens of other cloud applications.
2. Creation of Custom APIs
Naturally, using pre-written APIs doesn’t always make ends meet. Sometimes only custom software can be efficient and flexible enough to work for your project. When this is the case, you have the option of developing a custom API.
3. Ease the Development of Apps
To some extent, APIs are a method of standardization. Instead of writing and rewriting code to facilitate this type of integration, APIs serve as outlines to streamline the same process.
At the heart of many popular apps are pre-written APIs holding everything together. API integration is a quick and easy way to draw several different functionalities into one high-functioning and performative app.
4. Strategic Team Movement
Software as a service (SaaS) companies can create APIs for you when building APIs from scratch isn’t exactly lucrative. More often than not, this is a common occurrence.
Besides speeding up development, this specific mode of API integration can boost productivity for your team. Accelerating the software development process is key to successful app releases.
5. Multiple Services Management
From a management perspective, using APIs is simply easier. Tracking how multiple services work and are integrated with other services can be quite a task.
A task of this kind may require a plethora of individuals picked from numerous IT departments or software development teams.
APIs are like “lego blocks”, according to Trio co-founder Alex Kugell. And it’s a lot easier to keep track of the pieces you put together than to find the ones that are strewn across one end of your hypothetical playroom to the other.
Learn more: How Do APIs Help Marketing Operations?
How To Build API Integrations
Building an API integration is much like developing a regular old software application. It requires dedication and skill. There are four essential steps that you should account for.
Any endeavor you’ve undertaken whole-heartedly likely involved some research. APIs are no different. You need to get a fundamental understanding of how APIs work.
Starting with the domain where you want your API to run might be a good idea. If you’re building API integrations for web development, for one, you should read up on REST APIs.
Designing a prototype is the next step. Prototypes have minimum functionality but they should provide a base foundation for what your API will look like. This stage shouldn’t take long at all, a week at most.
Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
An MVP is a step up from a prototype. It represents a beta version of your API which you can test. Not unexpectedly, this will take longer to build than a prototype. Set aside two weeks max for MVP development.
Related reading: Know The Top 7 API Integration Tools
Transactions describe an API call on your website or application. Your job where transaction management is concerned is to figure out what to do if a transaction doesn’t go as planned. Withdraw the transaction if necessary and debug the problem.
Building an API is only the beginning of API integration. And it might not be the easiest either. APIs rely on technical expertise to keep everything running smoothly. Note that the secret fifth step to building API integrations is servicing your integration on a regular basis.
It may have just occurred to you that all of this is going to take a lot of work. Well, you’re right.
If you want only the best senior developers to work on your custom API integrations, contact Trio now.
4 min read
Cloud APIs power the development of cloud-based hardware and software. And these tools ultimately uphold the integrity of modern technology today.
APIs and cloud technology are both relatively new emerging technologies. Though they’ve been around for only a couple of decades, their potential is unprecedented. By working in unison, there’s no doubt that cloud APIs can be and already are a great asset for many businesses.
Cloud APIs play an integral part in building, using, and maintaining software. Take a closer look below to learn more about cloud APIs!
What Are Cloud APIs?
Before diving headfirst into the definition of cloud APIs, you should first understand what APIs are in general.
First and foremost, API stands for application programming interface. Interfaces foster communication.
For example, a user interface (UI) is a graphical component that permits users to have a visual representation of whatever software they’re working with.
Though the communication in this example is not verbal, the interface in question eases navigation for sighted users.
If you can see this website, for instance, you’re communicating with its content via a user interface.
In contrast, an application programming interface stimulates communication between applications. Or in other words, APIs empower distinct software platforms to interact with one another.
This is how Alexa has free use of your Spotify playlist. And how your mindless search for “weather” can pull information right from AccuWeather to a Google snippet on your screen.
These connections are called API integrations. Cloud APIs simply reference integrations that happen in the cloud. Cloud APIs connect and are used to build cloud-based applications.
In general, cloud technology yields advantages to both businesses and individuals. Consumers gain increased accessibility and organizations save costs.
As a result, cloud computing is a hundred billion-dollar industry with much to offer.
Types of Cloud APIs
There are a number of cloud services, but many of these fall under three primary categories:
- Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)
It’s important to note that there is also a distinction between vendor-specific cloud APIs and cross-platform APIs.
Here’s a quick review of the various ways in which you can categorize cloud APIs.
PaaS is a model of cloud computing that extends users hardware and software tools over the internet. A popular use of PaaS cloud APIs is to provide functionality for cloud environments.
Google App Engine and Microsoft Azure are two prominent PaaS tools for building applications on the cloud.
It’s likely that you’re more familiar with SaaS than you know. When it comes to software as a service, this includes any cloud-based application you’re using on the web. Some well-known cloud applications are Dropbox and Google Drive.
In practice, SaaS cloud APIs connect applications to the cloud and to any information technology (IT) infrastructure that plays a part in running the application.
On the infrastructure level, cloud APIs get a bit more complicated. Infrastructure that exists on the cloud usually takes the place of in-house data centers and servers.
The physical counterpart of such equipment is often costly to rent and time-consuming to set up and maintain.
Thus, IaaS cloud APIs aid in the distribution of cloud resources as well as network configurations and virtual machine management.
Vendor-Specific vs. Cross-Platform
Another way to distinguish between cloud APIs is by determining whether they are vendor-specific — that is, relating to a cloud provider — or cross-platform.
Vendor-specific APIs only support the service of a unique cloud provider. For instance, the Microsoft Azure REST API works singularly with the Azure public cloud.
Sometimes vendor-specific cloud APIs are synonymous with internal or private APIs. These APIs are exclusive to the companies that deploy them and do not have public availability.
Cross-platform APIs are typically open or external APIs. They engender functionality between two or more cloud providers.
These types of APIs utilize the same commands as parameters. Unfortunately, the result can be limited functionality, choosing many to opt for vendor-specific APIs.
Top Cloud API Examples
To better demonstrate how exactly cloud APIs are useful, note the following API examples.
Simple Cloud API
Simple Cloud is a cross-platform cloud API. Developed by Zend Technologies, this API serves PHP applications hosted on the cloud. To put it simply, through the Simple Cloud API, users access cloud services written in PHP.
Apache Libcloud API
Apache LibCloud is a technically complex cloud API that abstracts the differences between cloud providers, uniting them in consequence.
LibCloud API presents as a Python library that permits cloud resources to work together.
Amazon Web Services API
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a subsidiary of Amazon which supplies a plethora of cloud resources from virtual computers to APIs.
While there is no central AWS API, the Amazon API Gateway is sufficient for generating and managing APIs that can integrate with AWS and other web services.
HubSpot is a fully featured marketing platform that aims to help businesses grow faster and better.
Developers employ the HubSpot API to create custom integrations allowing HubSpot to work with other relevant apps like Zoom or Mailchimp.
Box is built for businesses. Its premier service is cloud content management and file sharing.
The Box API authorizes developers to manage and interact with their Box files. They can also use the Box API to layer Box’s content management system in the related applications.
Why Your Business Needs Cloud APIs
After absorbing all this technical information, it might not be expressly clear just how cloud APIs are going to help your business. But the reality is that cloud APIs help every business.
As an illustration, APIs are central to data integration. Data integration is critical to business operations. No matter if it’s connecting marketing tools or automating daily processes, data integration is at the crux of it all.
Trio Senior Back-End Developers are experts in data integration, including cloud APIs. Talk to Trio today to find out how cloud APIs can help your business!
3 min read
Marketing APIs describe a variety of application programming interfaces that businesses and developers employ for customer outreach.
Lead nurturing and conversion are the responsibilities of well-intentioned marketing campaigns. But intention is not just good will. It's planning, organization, and in this case, API integrations.
As much as 55% of API enthusiasts assert that APIs are critical to their business strategy. Nearly 30% said that APIs were at least "somewhat critical" for the same reason.
To learn about how marketing APIs play a role in marketing operations, keep reading! You'll find out more soon.
What Is An API?
Application programming interfaces (APIs) are the go-between for interacting software. They allow different platforms to connect without error or compatibility issues.
Though this may seem complex, APIs are an integral part of almost every digital interaction. You probably use them every day without even noticing.
For example, if you ask Siri about the weather, she will likely take advantage of an API. In order to gather weather information, she would need to use an API to pull data from an external software platform, like weather.com, for example. The same goes for any digital assistant with similar functions.
Of course, this is only one example. There are several API examples showcasing their usage in the modern-day.
In reality, an API is a back-end structure that is encompassed within several thousand lines of server-side code. But its ability to serve as the middleman between distinct technologies is key to the utility of such an abstraction.
Related reading: Know The Top 7 API Integration Tools
Why Are APIs Important for Marketing?
It should be clear that APIs are important fixtures in the technology realm already. Without APIs, you wouldn't be able to have much of the conveniences that warrant cross-platform operations. This includes travel booking via Google or online purchases with PayPal.
Naturally, the marketing world has its own reasons for relying so heavily on APIs. Marketing is not merely telling your best friend that you discovered a cool new app, though that is one of many of its branches.
Rather, marketing can look like receiving an email based on your latest purchase, encouraging you to pay more attention to the brand in question.
Or it can be a chatbot in Facebook messenger, giving you every ounce of energy it has. This is to ensure that your experience is rewarding and satisfying enough that you return to the associated business.
To put it one way, marketing is complex. And it also requires quite a bit of technology. In those examples alone, you can glimpse how software and marketing are bound to mix.
Therefore, marketing APIs are essential to navigating the software involved in a marketing campaign.
How Do APIs Help Marketing Operations?
APIs help marketing operations in a number of ways. Just below, you will learn some of the general applications of marketing APIs and the more specific tools they empower.
The importance of marketing automation in marketing campaigns mirrors that of marketing APIs.
Half of the time — well, really, most of the time — marketing automation is depending on APIs to clean up its act.
Using marketing automation tools and marketing APIs in unison help businesses boost productivity, save money, speed up operations, scale more efficiently.
You will find that marketing automation is a fundamental asset of every other software and API related to marketing operations.
Integration of Different Platforms
Another foundational element of marketing APIs is data integration. Making connections is at the heart of all APIs. It's simply what they were meant to do.
With the use of APIs, you will be able to sync the various platforms you use together. The result is a fully-fledged software ecosystem for tackling daily marketing operations.
For you, this will look like connecting your content management system (CMS) or customer relationship management (CRM) platform to useful tools that can help your business thrive.
As an illustration, HubSpot APIs are notoriously recognized for being vital players for businesses that build websites using HubSpot.
This is because HubSpot APIs power HubSpot integrations which connect HubSpot websites to a variety of revenue-increasing software whether that's MailChimp or WordPress.
Data collection serves as one more general use case for marketing APIs. RESTful APIs, especially, are designed to query web services for data.
If you were wondering, the REST in RESTful stands for Representational State Transfer. In short, REST APIs respond to HTTP requests to send data.
This method of data collection has become increasingly popular throughout the years. But web APIs overall are traditionally assigned this labor.
Data collection is indispensable for conducting market research. Although, it's worth noting that after data collection, the focus becomes data analysis — in which case marketing APIs are still imperative.
Email marketing APIs can be fairly diverse in their capabilities. Their most common use of marketing APIs for email campaigns is for notifications and transactional messages.
In this regard, business platforms work with email servers to notify customers of important information or confirm a transaction that just occurred.
Sure, you could send your customers an email manually, but this wouldn't allow for much scalability in the future. This is just a sneak peek of what marketing automation can do.
To get an even more complex use of email marketing APIs, you can consider setting up workflows to send email messages at the most opportune moments depending on consumer interactions.
Lastly, you can connect software tools like your CMS and CRM to your email platform. By doing this, you can let customers know about new content or manage email contacts from your CRM.
Social media is not just for young people. In 2019, 69% of U.S. adults were using Facebook. Though other social media platforms no doubt differ in participation, it's safe to say that social media is an apt avenue for marketing.
The majority of social media platforms utilize social network APIs. In general, these types of APIs can query social networks for users, posts, and even demographic data.
In the context of marketing APIs, businesses are beholden to software that permits them to gather insights and analyze their metrics.
Comprehensive social media marketing can also streamline your campaign by letting you manage and monitor content all from the same dashboard. This can get as convenient as scheduling daily posts.
To put it briefly, marketing APIs fuel marketing operations. APIs as a whole are the backbone of software.
Marketing automation, data integration, and data collection are some of the more generalized uses of marketing APIs. But most marketing campaigns tend to look to social media and email marketing specifically to nurture and convert leads.
There is no question that marketing APIs will be necessary for your business's growth. At Trio, you can hire qualified developers to build custom API integrations for all your marketing operations. Start working with Trio today!
4 min read