What are APIs?

Submitted by Birdeye on Fri, 08/17/2018 - 4:55pm
Birdeye - Wooster Ohio

If you’ve spent much time trying to learn more about running your own website, you’ve likely come across the term API. An abbreviation that stands for application program interface, APIs play an essential role by helping the various components of software programs interact properly. APIs are especially helpful in the creation of web stores and other online apps and websites.

Here at Birdeye, we like to think of APIs as a structured way of facilitating communication between two servers. It is essentially an adaptor for the web that lets applications talk to each other when they wouldn’t be able to do so otherwise. This makes them a great tool for processing realtime data, cloud computing, and app integration.

Benefits of Using APIs

Using APIs to help manage your website can go a long way in ensuring a user-friendly browsing experience. With their automatic communications, an API will help you by updating all items that would be impacted by a change you made someplace else.

This seamless form of quality control at a single checkpoint ensures consistent quality in all of your site's “downstream” checkpoints, helping you minimize mistakes. Better yet, this setup also eliminates the need for third-party branding or ugly embed boxes, giving you full control of your site or app’s visuals.

Most importantly, however, APIs allow you to send real-time data out to all web platforms that are connected with your system. For example, consider an online store that automatically submits its orders via QuickBooks Online’s API. Because accounting information is delivered in real time, Quickbooks can send data back to your website to update customer information or product status. The same web store can also use this system to connect with the APIs used by FedEx or UPS to automatically send tracking numbers and order updates to customers.

APIs can also be used for internal purposes. Microsoft offers many applications designed for internal company use. These tools create streamlined portals that integrate with tasks like employee calendars, meeting room reservations, time-off request forms, and more. The use of an API makes these digital processes easily available to all devices that have been granted access.

How We Complete Integrations

At Birdeye, our goal is to create API integrations that will perfectly fulfill your needs. We start with a staging server and setting up version control. During this phase, we map out the process of how the API system will work, creating clear visuals to show how each segment interacts with the next as well as what data types and fields will be transmitted.

As we develop and make connections within the API, we will meet with you on a regular basis to suggest workflow improvements and collect changes from your end to fine-tune the system. Finally, we reach the essential testing stage. During this phase, our team will go through the programming to eliminate any bugs or errors. This way, the delivered API will be as production-ready as possible and you won’t be left dealing with any bugs yourself.

Conclusion

A quality API can improve both your internal and customer-facing processes. If you want to learn more about how these systems will help you accomplish your digital marketing goals, reach out to our friendly team at Birdeye today!