Application Programming Interface (API)

API definition

APIs have become an increasingly important part of the modern computing ecosystem as software applications have become more specialized and complex. They’re now essential for ensuring separate pieces of software can communicate and work together. This is especially true in the SaaS field, where each piece of business software tends to occupy its own specific niche.

An API, or Application Programming Interface, is a software component that mediates between two pieces of software. For two distinct software applications to communicate with one another, the data they send needs to be restructured in a way that the other application can understand. APIs lay out the necessary rules and protocols for this communication to happen.

Different types of API

There are a few distinct types of API. Each has different benefits and strong points for connecting different pieces of software. You can find out more about Talon.One's APIs in this blog post.

Firstly, you can separate APIs by their purpose, or the relationship between the two pieces of software they connect:

  • Internal APIs: Internal APIs are used to connect two pieces of software within one organisation or business. For example, they may be used to help improve data sharing between different departments, or to speed up internal business processes.

  • Partner APIs: Partner APIs connect the software of separate businesses, specifically businesses that have entered a partnership agreement. Partnerships are formed to offer additional functionality to the end user via integration with another service.

  • Public APIs: Public APIs, also known as external or open APIs, are used to promote general integration with a software system by other developers or businesses. Public APIs are made available by an organization to allow and encourage third parties to connect their own software. For example, a software company may release a Public API to encourage other developers to explore new ways to use their platform. External connections and events can also be triggered using webhooks.

API architectures

You can also categorize APIs by their underlying architecture. There are a few popular API architectures currently used by modern web applications. Two of the most common are:

  • REST APIs: REpresentational State Transfer APIs are based upon the HTTP protocol. They are highly scalable, flexible, and they have fewer security requirements than other API types.

  • SOAP APIs: SOAP APIs follow the Simple Object Access Protocol. Their characteristics tend to make them more secure and a better fit for large, enterprise-scale applications.

An API-first approach

Many companies take an API-first approach to software development. This means that they prioritize the development of their software and APIs to work across as many key endpoints as possible. This improves the software for the end user, makes it more adaptable, and allows for better integration with other products.

Talon.One has been developed following the API-first approach from the very beginning. Talon.One has two APIs - the Integration API and the Management API. The Management API controls data transfer between the Campaign Manager and the Rule Builder. Meanwhile, the Integration API controls data between Talon.One and external applications/software. You can read more about the Management API and the Integration API in our Developer Docs.

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