Do you know a little bit about API integration, but want to know more? You are in luck!
Read on to learn everything you didn’t know about 3rd party api integrations.
API: What Is It?
Let’s start with the very basics. An API is a way to have multiple software or computer programs communicate with each other. It stands for application programming interface. So, essentially it is an interface that allows you to oversee data and information as it passes from one software to the next.
This type of system is useful for many businesses in many ways. The larger your company gets, the more likely you are to need this! Many companies choose to outsource. But if you are curious about handling API integration for your company on your own, here are some things you will need to know.
API Endpoints and Interface
With third-party applications and integration, there is always a learning curve. The first thing you must always do is learn about and fully understand their endpoints. Sometimes these are plainly documented and easy to discover. Other times, it is not so easy. You may even figure it out by trial and error depending on the situation.
Once you have a comprehensive understanding of the API. You will need to authenticate it. Each API will be different. Some simply require tokens. Others may require a long process that involves OAuth authentication.
Using An API
Getting started with API integration is not even half the battle. Taking full advantage of the integration is just as complex, if not more so. You will need to know how to write to, read from, map, fetch destination data from, query data, and understand the limits of the API.
Writing Data To the API
Some APIs may have an interface that makes it easy to write data. Others may require a complex process. If the library of the API is not well developed, you may even need to write your own library.
Reading Data From the API
The same goes for reading the data. It may be simple and well developed for you. Or you may have to develop the library further to make it easier for you and your team to read the data.
If you want data to go from a specific source to the desired destination, you will need to know how to map from the name of the destination and the source’s field name. Many like to hard-code this type of interaction. But it really is best to make a configurable field mapping process. You and your employees will thank you later.
Needing to Fetch Destination Data
You will be required to fetch destination data before you can write it. This means you will need to contact the owners of this third-party system, fetch the ID, then use that ID to write the contact back into the system.
If you have data from your company that you wish to write to your third-party API, you will need to be able to query that data. You can do this by monitoring the changes yourself. Or with an event-based system that will monitor any changes for you.
If you have larger workloads, you will encounter rate limits on the number of calls you can make. One way to avoid these limits is to ensure that your batches are appropriately sized.
Errors and Preventive Measures
When writing to third-party APIs, countless errors could occur. These errors could happen on your end. Or on the API’s end. Their system could not receive your request, overlook fulfilling your request, or respond to your request in the wrong way. These same errors can occur on your side when writing the request. This is why it is best to log and monitor all of your interactions with any API.
Keeping a thorough log of all of your requests will help you keep track of every interaction. This way, you won’t forget about any requests and can ensure that the process works the way it should.
It is not enough to just log everything. You need to constantly monitor your logs and the API to ensure that you do not miss any errors.
Why Companies Outsource
Interacting with a third-party API is clearly an involved task that requires a team of educated people. This is why many companies choose to outsource this task to a company that specializes in it. This kind of company handles all of the details, so you can get the most out of your data while allowing you to continue operating the parts of the business that you are best at.
Third-party API integration is not something that is easily understood. Getting the most value from your data while personally handling these integrations is often much more work than it’s worth. Especially when you can easily outsource this type of work. So, hire a company to take care of this for you and begin enjoying worry-free integrations today!