HOW EASY IS IT TO CONFIGURE API AND WEBSERVICES?
In a constantly changing digital market, companies are required to continuously introduce innovative services and rely on the greatest possible exchange of data: to optimize processes, to increase sales and awareness of their own brand via online marketing and advertising, to measure the success of their own business activities, or to make prompt modifications when necessary. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and web services offer a solution to this complex challenge.
WHAT ARE API AND WEB SERVICES?
A data interface is part of an application or database. It is developed to give external systems access to the functionalities and data of the company’s own system and to create added value for all parties involved via this information flow. An API defines a system’s communication and interaction for people, applications, and smart devices. The term web services can be used almost interchangeably. However, it refers to a software component that can only be accessed by another application (e.g., a client, server, or other web service) using the Hypertext Transport Protocol (HTTP). In addition to the objectives already mentioned above, companies use API and web services primarily to drive their digital transformation, build a digital ecosystem or a platform-based business model.
API MANAGEMENT: NOT JUST FOR DEVELOPERS.
Since the IT departments of most companies are already working at high capacity, data integration projects often ask the following question: “Who else could do it?” This is also the case for the development of API and web services. Because postponing such projects means jeopardising the company’s competitiveness. As a solution, data integration solutions such as Lobster_data are offered. An intuitive, no-code middleware that allows business staff to configure and set up interfaces with just a few mouse clicks. After just two days of training. So take 5 minutes and read more about an approach that can transform your everyday business life.
In order to understand the innovation potential of API or web services, it is important to first explain how these interfaces work. Imagine you sell products on a marketplace and want to integrate every inventory change, no matter how small, into your ERP system in real time and with all the details relevant to you. To synchronise this data, you need to connect the two systems via API. In other words, creating a type of intermediary interface through which both applications can communicate with each other despite different formats and protocols. Because only this way will the desired data exchange run smoothly.
HOW IT WORKS IN PRACTICE.
In the run-up to practical implementation, you should first determine the respective data requirements precisely – in line with your business requirements. In a second step, find suitable functionalities that cover the identified data needs and ensure that the selected services are available via an API. Once this preparatory work has been done, nothing stands in the way of data integration via API and this can be realised with the following steps:
1. Familiarise yourself with the API documentation. Each application supplies a manual that describes the connection set-up in detail and serves as an implementation guide for you.
2. Find out the type of authentication required, such asAPI keys, username and password. Before you can access information with most APIs, you must first be authenticated and receive a token.
3. Observe the required parameters during programming, in order to both send the correct request and receive the information you want. This is where it gets more complicated because in an API there is always a request (REQUEST) and a response (RESPONSE). However, depending on the type of request, you must use the correct HTTP request method, as well as the correct endpoint (URL) and adhere to the parameters required by the API to get a response.
Without going into too much technical detail, this process actually requires programming knowledge, including the necessary software development structures to work, such as code documentation, versioning, testing, etc. Beyond the pure development of the API, aspects such as security, scalability and error management must also be considered, whereby there are different types of APIs such as SOAP or REST.
Of course, if you have the necessary IT know-how in your company, you can carry out the programming in-house. However, you should consider the time factor, because even at this level, programming an API can take several weeks. And time is money. On the other hand, with a no-code-based software like Lobster_data, even non-technical staff only need about an hour to set up an API and need no programming skills. For professional developers, the approach also offers additional benefits in that it not only relieves them of routine work, but also helps them to solve challenging development tasks with no-code.
NO-CODE: THE IDEAL SOLUTION FOR RETRIEVING DATA VIA API.
What are the advantages of no-code-based software for companies?
Simple and intuitive to use:
The desired operations are easily implemented via drag & drop. The actual programming language remains invisible to users, so no source code or special commands are required. The manipulation of data is done via a filter system, similar to Excel.
Quick to learn and implement:
For Lobster_data, a two-day training course is sufficient for users to start building the API on their own and configure the API of their choice in six preconfigured phases. This means that not only the training but also the implementation takes little time.
If you do not have the necessary programming expertise in-house, this could be outsourced to external service providers. However, this approach carries the risk of having to work with a so-called “black box” that reveals no information about how it works. However, if your employees perform the configuration via no-code, your company retains control over its processes and gains flexibility – both in terms of personnel resources and costs.
Through the identical structure of each data interface via Lobster’s 6-phase model, all interfaces are traceable and therefore maintainable for all employees involved.
High flexibility in the choice of formats and protocols makes it possible to connect to any API anywhere in the world.
LOBSTER_DATA CAN DO API. BUT ALSO EDI, EAI, ETL, IOT AND, AND, AND.
The advantages of the Lobster solution do not end with the configuration of APIs, incidentally, because the software also offers centralisation of EAI, EDI, ETL/ELT, IoT, Industry 4.0 on one platform. Through its universal connectors, Lobster_data software allows all systems to be connected, regardless of source and format.
As a true “universal plug”, Lobster_data networks all internal and external systems, from the cloud to machines to IoT devices. You also have access to a central overview (Control Center) that allows you to monitor all data streams and be notified in real time of even the slightest deviation. Smooth and secure data integration is the requirement for future and growth-oriented decisions in general.
Would you like to learn more? Then make an appointment with our team of advisors. If you wish, we will be happy to prepare a customised PoC and explain the advantages of our solution for your company.