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API Integration

Most Software-As-A-Service (SAAS) providers often offer pre-built APIs for integration. However, what does API mean? Let’s dive in.

What Does API Stand For?

It's an abbreviation for “Application Programming Interface.” Let’s break it down:

▶️ Application - An application, often referred to simply as an "app," is a software program designed to perform specific tasks or functions for end-users.

▶️ Programming - It refers to a distinctive code written by a programmer. (Every API has a different code.)

▶️ Interface - A ‘contract of service’ between two applications that allows them to work together for specific purposes. Interfaces can be of different types and perform different functions. 

In simpler terms, an API helps different applications communicate with each other and exchange data. It is essentially a connector tool with a set of protocols that facilitate specific functions.

Real-Life API Example:

For instance, when you visit a website, and they ask you to log in via your Google account or Facebook account, it is possible through the Google API and Facebook APIs. This way, you don’t have to input all the information manually. Instead, the API automates collecting the relevant information and filling it in as needed to get you logged in to the target website in an instant.

What Is API Integration?

API Integration Definition: It is the process of integrating a specific code (known as the API) with a predefined set of protocols, tasks, and tools into an existing system. 

The advantage of doing this is that you don’t have to make any changes to the existing system. Most web interfaces and applications usually come with in-built API integration capabilities. Hence, all you need to do is copy and paste the API code, and you can personalize your system with additional features, functionalities, and automation. 

How Does API Integration Work?

APIs work like connectors to simplify specific parts of the workflow between two apps/interfaces. For instance, let’s say a visitor visits your website and you want to convert them into instant loyal paying customers, so you utilize Denefits API solutions to offer flexible payment plans directly from your website. 

Now visitors can instantly check/select the payment plan they want, make payment, and convert into paying customers without leaving your website, expediting the process.

Here’s a visual representation of how APIs work:


Types of APIs

1. Web-Based APIs

These are easy-to-integrate APIs specifically designed to integrate with a web-based interface. 


Google Maps API: Users can embed interactive maps and location-based services via this API into a website and web-based apps, enabling website visitors to –

▪️ View the location
▪️ Get directions
▪️ Calculate distance
▪️ Display customized markers on the map 

2. Open APIs

These APIs have an open-source format that is publicly available, i.e., any developer can access them. 


Social Media APIs: Here are some social media open APIs and what they do:

▪️ Twitter API - Enables displaying tweets on a website directly.
▪️ Instagram API - Allows users to display Instagram posts without leaving the site.
▪️ YouTube API - Helps display YouTube videos directly on the website.
▪️ Facebook Graph API - Facebook provides an open API that allows third-party tools to –

➡️ Post to a user's newsfeed
➡️ Create photo albums
➡️ Add items publicly to the newsfeed

3. Partner APIs

These are specialized APIs that only authorized developers (i.e., developers or partners of a particular company/organization) may access. These allow businesses to integrate additional functionalities into their existing system beyond what’s already available in the Open APIs.

 Denefits APIs: Denefits is a complete payment solution that allows businesses to create and offer flexible payment plans to their customers for a wide range of services. Additionally, Denefits offer 55+ APIs to enhance business processes. 

4. Internal APIs

These are private APIs that only the internal teams of a company can access. These are designed for specific purposes such as sharing information between teams, boosting productivity, saving time, and optimizing the internal processes of an organization. 

Generally, companies may use REST API, GraphQL API, or SOAP API (which are popular API architectures) to build in-house APIs tailored to their needs.  

5. Composite APIs

Combining multiple APIs forms a composite API. These are also known as mash APIs, as they mash down different APIs into one unified interface or endpoint. These allow developers to use multiple functionalities without needing to individually add APIs for each functionality. 

Here’s How It Works:
Generally, composite APIs combine up to 5 API calls to create a composite call. This call consists of 5 sub-requests that are interrelated. Hence, when a user raises a request, it sets a series of actions in motion for the entire transaction. If any of the sub-requests fail to execute, it reverts the changes, and the request is rolled back.

Examples of Most Popularly Used APIs:

A) PayPal APIs: Many e-commerce platforms integrate PayPal APIs to enhance payment processing and manage transactions on their websites and web-based apps.

It performs various functions, including–

  • Securely accepting payments
  • Automatically generating invoices
  • Handling refunds

B) Geolocation APIs: These enable web applications to retrieve the geographical location data of users. These are commonly used for –

  • Customer mapping
  • Optimization for location-based services
  • Targeted advertising
  • Personalized content delivery  

C) REST APIs: Representational State Transfer (REST) APIs are the most popular and widely used API protocol. It uses a set of predefined operations to perform various tasks, including–

  • GET - Retrieve a data object 
  • POST - Create a new data object 
  • PUT - Creating/altering a data object (new or existing)
  • PATCH - Modify an existing data object 
  • DELETE - Deleting existing data objects

What Does an API Look Like?

An API looks like a block of code. Usually, the SAAS provider will offer ready-to-use APIs, so there’s no need for extensive technical knowledge for API integration. Additionally, most companies provide step-by-step instructions on integrating an API with your existing system, which is pretty simple. Or they do it for you, so you don’t have to do anything at all.

Why Is API Integration Important for Businesses?

API integration has become more important than ever. Businesses need APIs to streamline and automate their processes to improve productivity, and efficiency, and ensure seamless interaction between multiple touch points. 

Benefits of API Integration

Here are some of the top benefits of API integration:

  • Speedier Functions: API integrations minimize interdependencies and make processes faster and more cost-effective.  
  • Reduces Redundancy: API integration automates repetitive, redundant, and time-consuming tasks and processes.
  • Scalability: APIs make it easier and more affordable to scale a service.
  • Real-Time Data Exchange: APIs allow real-time data processing between the integrated sources.
  • Easy to Add New Functionalities: Using APIs makes it easier to integrate new functionalities into existing systems and technology without much effort.
Example: A tourism website can utilize an API to streamline flight bookings. This way, customers don’t need to go to the airline's website to separately book the flight.
  • Enhance Customer Experience: APIs enable businesses to provide seamless experiences to their customers, boosting customer satisfaction.
  • Third-Party APIs Reduce Development Costs: Nowadays, you can use third-party API integration services, which means you do not necessarily need your team of developers to build them from scratch. Hence, it saves you time, money, and resources. 
  • Driving Sales & Conversions: Using APIs ensures better performance and improved customer experience, which leads to higher conversions and lower customer acquisition costs.