A Beginner’s Guide to API Integration

  • Dec 27, 23

Many people have been discussing API integration and its importance in digital transformation. But, a beginner might find it challenging to understand the changing trends and terms of API integration.

In this article, we'll guide beginners to learn about an API, what's an API Integration and how they're becoming more critical to what you do. So, let's dive into it!

What is an API?

The term API Stands for "Application Programming Interface." It's software that allows two or more applications to exchange data with each other. We can take an example of any interface like a touch screen that you interact to read, data enter data, or send & receive data.

API can also be defined as an online programming interface of the organization that allows applications to communicate with the system backend. An API creates a channel for a business to sell its products or services online. An API enables access to services, enhances connectivity, and bolsters functionality.

What is API Integration?

API Integration is the process of connecting two or more software applications using APIs. This process enables the systems to exchange data and their functionality, allowing them to work simultaneously.

Application Programming Interfaces are a collection of protocols, routines, and tools specifically used to develop software and applications. APIs allow different applications to communicate with each other.

Businesses need API Integration to connect their systems and services to other external applications. This approach allows them to exchange data and functionality. In addition, it improves efficiency, scalability, and user experience while saving a lot of money.  

Why API Integrations are Important for Businesses?

API Integration gives modern businesses the tools they need to grow and achieve their goals. And if you're managing a tech startup or any other business, you're more likely to run into API integrations.

Let's take the example of Hubspot, a popular content optimization system combining the powers of a content management system (CMS) and a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. Hubspot offers a variety of tools for you to take your business to new heights via marketing and beyond. This is just one example of API from HubSpot. If you're willing to develop an application, mobile and web APIs are going to be the key factors. (REST) APIs that stand for Representational State Transfer are integral for using networks.

How API Integration is Achieved?

API integration can be achieved in many ways depending on your needs. The common approach we usually take revolves around the following:

Custom Integration

Custom Integration is the process of connecting applications or services together using custom-built API. Custom integration is created when an existing API does not meet the requirement of integration. This leads to the creation of a new API that allows data and functionality to be exchanged between the desired systems and services. Custom integration can be built in many programming languages, including Python or JavaScript, and can be tailored to your specific needs.

Connector Applications

During this process, third-party software is used to connect different systems and services via APIs. These connector applications, known as middleware, act as a bridge between systems and services. For example, a connector application can be used to integrate social media platforms like Facebook with an analytics tool that automates the collection of all social media data. However, it is essential to note that connector applications may come with additional costs for customization and limitations, but they are much easier and simpler than Integration Platforms.

Integration Platforms

Integration platforms provide a centralized environment for developing and managing integrations. These platforms often include pre-built connectors for standard systems and services and also tools for developing custom connectors. Integration platforms support different integration scenarios, such as batch data processing, real-time data synchronization, and the creation and execution of complex business procedures. They are more powerful and efficient as compared to connector applications but are more expensive as well as difficult to set up and manage.