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
API integration tools can play a helpful part in scaling your business. In 2018, 61% of integration professionals and information technology (IT) executives maintained that API integration is a necessary business strategy.
API integration is not only a must-have for running day-to-day business operations, but it is also key to business growth as a whole.
Today, you will be introduced to seven API integration tools that can be great assets to your business. Keep reading to learn more!
What Is an API?
An application programming interface (API) is a set of protocols enabling different software applications to communicate with each other. In simple terms, APIs are the middlemen of software.
APIs are a back-end structure, so it’s not a tool that you’ll likely ever see in person — unless you’re a coder, of course.
But this is where the particularities of APIs lie. Due to APIs, the internal complexity of syncing systems together is packaged inside of a mere abstraction. Therefore, users don’t have to worry about what’s happening behind the scenes.
APIs work in a number of digital mediums, from integrating the apps you use every day to lining the interior infrastructure of businesses large and small.
When an API is working as it should, the connectivity that results is called an API integration. API integrations are more than just code.
Rather, modern APIs are more like consumer products empowering software interconnectivity. As such, you’re probably wondering where exactly APIs come into play for you.
In reality, you’re probably utilizing API integrations more often than you know. Here are a few familiar examples:
- Netflix: Netflix’s software relies on microservices, an approach to software development where every service or function is wrapped as an individual unit. These units interact with each other via APIs, coming together in the form of a single application such as Netflix.
- Google Flights: Using APIs, Google is able to pull information from various airline databases. Users receive this data on Google Flights, all in one place.
- Siri: Almost everything you do on Siri involves an API integration. For example, when you ask Siri for directions, Siri uses an API to plug you into your default navigational app. Similarly, when you ask a random trivia question, Siri takes advantage of an API to pull data from your default search engine (likely Google).
- Marketing automation tools: If you’re familiar with the business world, marketing platforms should be no stranger to the business processes you use each and every day. APIs integrate marketing automation tools so that you can set and deploy workflows from a single platform.
Whether APIs connect software applications, aid business processes, or enhance the customer experience, it should be clear that they are crucial pieces of nearly all digital services.
Check out Trio’s article, “7 Examples of APIs in Use Today” for a more in-depth look at various API examples.
What Are API Integration Tools?
Business users utilize API integration tools towards better data consolidation. After all, data is king. And it is the job of APIs to sync data, effectively and proactively.
This can be a virtue for any enterprise, no matter if your company builds public APIs for consumer use or uses APIs as an exclusive solution for your organization’s needs.
To that effect, API integration tools help internal teams build, manage, and publish APIs. You can also run testing, prepare documentation, as well as secure and monitor APIs via API integration tools.
Of course, the main advantage of such a solution is that these tools adopt the principle of rapid application development. Or in other words, they reduce development time and costs by prioritizing agile methodologies within their platforms.
In this way, using an API integration platform can bolster team productivity by alleviating the burden of manual API management.
Top 7 API Integration Tools
Here are several of the most popular API integration tools that you should consider using for your business operations.
1. Dell Boomi
Dell Boomi is a cloud-based API solution and integration platform as a service (iPaaS) tool. Boomi features low-code development, meaning users can connect services and applications with little to no coding.
Other notable features of the tool include prebuilt APIs, drag-and-drop tooling, and activity monitoring. A basic package for Dell Boomi starts at $549 a month.
2. Apigee API Management
Apigee allows users to build API proxies. An API proxy is a bundle of XML configuration files and code that decouples the front-end and back-end of an API structure. Essentially, it is an API server that sits between an application and the back-end.
The end goal of an API proxy is to shield back-end changes from the front-end. As a result, the client-side can interact with a more presentable version of an API, while the server-side handles more complex formatting and data elements.
After building API proxies, Apigee permits you to do all the other standard undertakings you’d expect from an API integration tool. Pricing at Apigee is mostly customized.
3. IBM API Connect
IBM API Connect is a user-friendly enterprise solution for API creation and management. Analytics and built-in security name some of its most appealing features.
The platform is also equipped with a self-service developer portal that empowers developers to register, share, and deploy their APIs.
IBM offers a free trial, although their actual pricing is harder to pinpoint from their website alone.
Like other API integration tools, the MuleSoft AnyPoint Platform enables developers to design, build, and manage APIs speedily, using clicks or code.
To add, developers can also use MuleSoft to connect applications via custom build application networks on the platform. And MuleSoft’s API manager can facilitate integration governance and API lifecycle management.
There are three tiers for MuleSoft pricing: Gold, Platinum, and Titanium. Some firms are paying a quarter of a million dollars per year for MuleSoft services.
Akana provides end-to-end API management. In simple terms, this means you can access and manage the full API lifecycle within the Akana platform.
This is in addition to features such as a developer portal, traffic management, and vulnerability detection. Open-source support and a lifecycle manager are sure to come in handy too.
Outside of Akana’s free trial, you can purchase an Akana Business plan at $4000 a month. For their Akana Enterprise plan, you will have to initiate contact with the sales team for more accurate pricing.
6. Microsoft Azure API Management
You can manage all your APIs in one place with Microsoft Azure API Management. Get insights through API analytics and keep your APIs secure with token, key, and IP filtering functionalities.
To be clear, the creation of API gateways is actually the principal feature of Azure API management. API gateways are similar to API proxies but much more robust, operating as a security interface in and of itself.
They accept API calls and aggregate services to fulfill them, altogether acting as a vessel for you to render APIs.
Azure has an intricate range of monthly and hourly pricing with the cheapest plans starting at $48.04 per month and premium plans costing as much as $2,795.17 a month.
Zapier extends thousands of app integrations from an easy-to-use, visual interface. The primary motive of the platform is to entrust non-tech savvy users with the tools to automate workflows.
Naturally, the greatest limitation of this business model is the lack of customization. Therefore, Zapier can hardly fall under the category of a developer tool.
Still, Zapier is a premier solution for those who can make the most of it. You can start using Zapier for free and automate just 100 tasks. But as your use cases increase at a company level, rates reach as high as $3,599 monthly.
How To Improve Your Business Through API Integration
You now have an elementary comprehension of API integration and why it is a critical part of any business plan. API integration tools are similarly vital to API management and creation.
Each API integration tool has unique advantages. Figuring out which advantages can bring about the most growth for your business is step one.
Dell Boomi, for one, is well-suited for integrating cloud applications. MuleSoft is adept at painting an illustrious picture of the connections you’re making through API integration.
And technologies like Apigee and Azure narrow down their focus to API-adjacent infrastructures like API gateways and proxies.
At any rate, there are many options to choose from. If you find yourself in need of a custom solution, however, you came to the right place.
Trio specializes in building custom solutions, particularly where API integration is concerned. We have selected only Senior Back-End developers to assist you with high-complexity projects.
5 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