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What Is API Integration? A Comprehensive Guide

7 Skills To Look For When Hiring An API Developer

If you’ve ever invested in stocks or into trading, you would have an idea of how important real-time data is. One minute you’re rich, and the next minute, you’re gone broke if your data is not updated. This applies not only to trading. Let’s say you’re an employee that’s just trying to do your job and find some data. You might have to keep going from one tab or app to another to find the data you want. This would be extremely time-consuming as it sounds. This is why using an API will not let you down. An API integration is a huge plus for anyone, whether you’re an individual or a company. This article will therefore introduce and guide you through everything you must know about API integrations.

What is an API?

An API is a collection of tools and protocols that allow interactions between two software components. These components, in a usual circumstance, are a user and a web-based program. Users would use an interface in order to make requests for an app using an API. The API will then receive the data from the application and process it before returning a response. Finally, the API transforms the returned data into a user-friendly form.

Even though there are many other kinds of APIs, the most popular one is a REST or RESTful API, which offers a certain set of guidelines and standards for creating and using APIs. For instance, a REST API call must describe the location of a certain type of resource using the HTTP protocol and a uniform resource identifier.

What is API Integration?

API Integration is the process of developing a way for two or more APIs to exchange data and communicate with one another without human intervention.

Think of this. You’re running an e-commerce store on your own custom-made website and require a payment gateway. A payment gateway API such as Stripe would come into play here. You can use this API in order to connect to your website’s backend. Now you can allow any payment requests through this gateway. You can also handle refunds, transactions, and cancellations with this. This way, your website’s and payment gateway systems communicate and exchange data.

Terms to get familiar 

There are so many buzzwords you should get familiar with when you are revolving around API integrations or APIs in general. The following will talk about a few you must know.

  1. Endpoints. These are URLs that developers can use in order to interact with different resources or functionalities of an API.
  2. HTTP Methods. GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE are common HTTP methods that retrieve, create, update, and remove data, respectively.
  3. Headers. When you request or get a response, the headers act as additional information that has some metadata about the transferred data.
  4. Authentication and authorization. These are ways you make sure only authorized personnel are allowed to access an API. Examples of authentication methods are API keys, OAuth, and JWT.

How Can You Integrate API?

The following will take you through how you can get started with integrating your own API.

Getting the API

getting the APIs for api integration

There are several ways you can get an API. One way is to build the API from scratch using a suitable programming language, like JavaScript. This will be appropriate for highly custom APIs with extremely unique requirements. However, in today’s need for data and integrations, there’s almost any API you can think of already made and published for you to use. You can easily access them from an API marketplace

Let’s say you need to update your app with weather information. You must research an API provider that has a good reputation, great documentation, pricing, and support. For example, there’s an API called Weatherstack that provides weather information. Once the API checks all those marks, you can sign up to get the API credentials.

In the case of APILayer, you will receive an API key once you sign up for an API. There are other providers that provide other credentials, like tokens. You will be using this for making API requests.

Make sure you’re thorough with the API documentation before you start using the API.

Integrating the API

Now it’s time you set up your development environment with any libraries or SDKs that the API provider asks you to install. For example, we can use the Axios library to make HTTP requests.

 

Debugging and Maintenance 

debugging and maintenance in api integration

You can debug your application using various tools or log any errors that may occur. One way in order to do this is by using the catch block in the code.

Once you know your app works just the way you want, you should make sure to keep it up to date with any necessary changes. The changes could be a deprecated endpoint or a new version of the API, etc.

What are the Examples of Real-life API Integrations?

real life api integration

APIs and API integrations have been known to cut costs by up to 15%. While this is the case, so many top companies are leveraging their products and services with API integration features.

Twilio is a cloud communications “platform-as-a-service” model with an API in its service structure. It has a collaboration with WhatsApp, a messaging service, to connect with almost 1.6 billion users in over 180 countries. This wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for Twilio.

While we’re on the topic, WhatsApp itself has so many APIs that have features for automatic messaging, customer support, and transactional notifications. 

Other examples include Google Maps. By today, there are almost 5 million websites alone that use the Google Maps API. This API allows a business to embed their geolocation and routing features to locate them.

What are the Benefits of API Integration?

API integration brings numerous advantages to businesses and developers. Firstly, it allows different systems to connect and share data easily, making communication between applications smooth and effortless. This, therefore, fosters collaboration and promotes compatibility between platforms.

Moreover, API integration enables businesses to utilize external services and functionalities, expanding their capabilities without having to start from scratch. This, therefore, not only saves development time but also boosts efficiency by eliminating the need to build complex features from the ground up. By incorporating API integration, businesses can enhance user experiences by offering access to a broader range of services, data sources, and features. This also leads to the creation of more comprehensive and innovative applications.

Why Should You Use APILayer for Your Next API Integration?

API integration is very important to connect software systems for data communication and exchange. This article has given you insights into the main concepts and processes of API integration. 

If you’re looking for an API provider for your project, check out APILayer. It’s an API marketplace that has quite a range of reliable and well-documented APIs. With these APIs, you can access various functionalities, from currency conversion and geolocation to email validation and weather data.

Visit APILayer now and supercharge your application with their reliable and feature-rich APIs.

FAQs

What are the 4 types of API?

APIs can be categorized into several types. In terms of architecture, APIs are categorized into Monolithic, Microservice, Composite, and Unified APIs.

What is API integration?

API Integration is the process of developing a way for two or more APIs to exchange data and communicate with one another without human intervention.

What is the most common API?

Common APIs are such as REST, SOAP, and RPC APIs. 

What is an example of an API in real life?

Google Maps API is a popular real-life API.

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