These days, you’d be hard-pressed to find software without some sort of API integration. That’s because many businesses and custom software development experts have recognized their usefulness and efficiency for completing tasks. API stands for Application Programming Interface. They offer a communication pathway between various apps to encourage data exchange in a direct and succinct way.
Think of APIs as a waiter: You place an order, and the waiter brings out the food. There are several steps in between that the waiter takes care of for you. APIs function in similar ways, which is why API development has grown in popularity. For online businesses especially, you can use an API for HubSpot integration with Squarespace. If you’re looking into API development and aren’t sure of the specifics you should ask about, no worries. We’ve got you covered with all of the basics you should request when considering a new API integration.
API Integration: Introductory Questions
If you don’t have much experience with API integration, there’s no need to worry. But there are a few questions you should know the answers to. Let’s walk through the standard introductory questions to get a better understanding of the basics.
1. Who creates APIs?
Developers are responsible for API development. Depending on the needs of your company, they can integrate an existing API or build an entirely new one to help your company function with more efficiency. For example, you would reach out to a developer to set up HubSpot integration with Squarespace for your e-commerce website. They would use an API to help the applications communicate with each other. The end goal would be seamless, consistent communication between the applications. HubSpot Integration with Squarespace is common for online retailers, as successful API integrations offer linked client, sale, and item information from a single location.
2. What are the types of API?
The most commonly discussed types are 4 main web APIs: public, partner, internal, and composite. Companies should decide their type of API preference based on their business’ needs.
Public APIs (also called “open” or “external” APIs) are available to all developers. They require very little authentication for use but do have restrictions in their shared assets. The ease of access provided by a public API makes it very appealing for several reasons. For one, their data is openly shared without much needed effort. They don’t have many restrictions, so third-party applications are easily able to integrate and enjoy quicker data exchanges. This is beneficial for the third-party and API alike. Public APIs may take advantage of their accessibility by charging a subscription fee, but many are free.
This type of API is shared externally with business “partners,” or those who have some sort of relationship with the API company. Partner APIs are very limited and have higher security measures than public APIs. They offer greater control of their resources and input on the way their resources are used.
Internal APIs are the most private form of APIs. They are a form of custom software development not created for external use and are oftentimes used within a single company. Typically, they are a way to streamline the data transfer process between internal systems and teams. This type of data transfer is seen as more efficient, traceable, and secure.
Lastly, composite APIs do exactly as their name suggests: they combine multiple APIs. The main benefit of a composite API is that they unify data from several servers and make it easier to compile several streams of data into a single source. Using this type of API integration can reduce your server load and lead to faster systems.
3. What are the types of API architectures?
APIs need to be built, and like most things, there are several methods to go about building them. Knowing the different types of API development architecture can help you understand their functions and framework better. In the API integration world, there are 3 main types of API architectures: REST, SOAP, and RPC. Growing familiar with those 3 and the lesser known formats will give you a better foundation to work off of, especially for custom software development. You should work with a developer to understand which type of architecture they will be using for your APIs and how they made their decision.
4. What is an API call?
You can think of an API call as the way an application makes a request to an API. API calls include all actions that occur after a request is submitted– i.e., everything that happens from the point a request is received, an API works on the request, and the API delivers back to the requesting application.
5. What are API call request methods?
Typically, a server is set up to carry out basic, essential functions (often dictated by HTTP rules). The methods you can use for an API call include:
- GET: retrieves a resource
- PUT: edits or updates an existing resource
- POST: creates a new resource
- DELETE: deletes a resource
The methods you use will depend on the type of API architecture you’re dealing with.
6. What is an API key?
API keys are unique to each API. It functions as an identifier to grant or deny access to a client. They are usually a unique line of numbers and letters that are client specific. The key will not only monitor access, but it keeps track of the number of requests made by the client for billing and usage purposes.
API Integration As a Business Strategy
At the end of the day, unshared data will simply sit and stagnate. API integration into your existing systems will allow for the transfer of data and exchanging of information. Effective APIs offer new potential for businesses to interact with each other and connect on a deeper level. APIs can take your internal data public, giving outside businesses reason to interact with your own.
This will increase traffic on both ends, offering more exposure and generating more clients. You could even use custom software development to create an API meant to streamline existing internal processes, such as HubSpot integration with Squarespace. As API development continues, so does its potential. They have quickly grown into one of the most useful digital tools in a developer’s belt.