The newest generation of complex websites and applications need APIs to work. Our team can develop custom API solutions that can power a variety of customer experiences.
What is an API?
Think of an API as a pipeline for data that connects two different systems together. Modern technology solutions utilize outside data and other tools on a regular basis, and the connectivity between solutions is made capable by these interfaces.
How does it work?
Again, think of an API as a pipeline from one system to another. What one system wants to retrieve, it requests from the other system, typically via an API that is made available by the provider. The best way to explain is with some real world examples:
- E-Commerce: If you build a subscription website, you may want to integrate a payment gateway to process user payments either one time or on a scheduled basis. Systems such as Stripe or Braintree allow you to integrate your system with their payment capabilities via an API connection. Both providers make public API documentation, which your system can in turn utilize to develop your applications connection to their gateways.
- Lead Generation: If you are in the business of lead generation, you may want to utilize an API in both the sending and receiving direction. For example, custom lead generation sites may utilize API connectivity to store leads gathered across a complex digital ecosystem. On the opposite side, you may want to send leads to a marketing or sales system.
- Powering Mobile Apps: Every mobile app that requires "cloud" storage utilizes an API to communicate with the world. The "Cloud" is simply a series of servers that are in a data center storing information in a database or similar. Without an API, there is no way for this data to be shared.
These are just a few examples where an API can be beneficial - there are literally hundreds if not thousands of other possibilities as well.
What does a custom API development project look like?
A custom API development project is much like any other development or design project. It starts with a process of discovery and architecture, where the goals and objectives of the system are outlined and the specification is written. Then, it proceeds with development and integration into data storage and file storage systems. Finally, deployment includes thorough documentation to help make your services understandable to the outside world.
Do you need a developer to utilize an API?
For the most part, yes. It is called a "programming interface" for a reason - developers have to utilize a variety of methods to connect to these interfaces, and to make use of the data received. To build an API is a complex project, requiring access to data and methods stored at a deep level within your application. While some services such as Zapier allow you to utilize APIs from multiple sources and tie them together, for the most part, the power of the API is aimed at extending the capabilities of developers in general.
How do you get started with a custom built website? First, assemble a specification. How does your project work? What does the site do? What types of users will it target? What will their session look like?
To ease your transition into website architect, we've assembled a series of blog posts that can help you better understand how to create a specification:
- Why Project Discovery Is Vital To Building A Website Or App For Your Business
- Writing a Website Specification Is Not That Scary!
And, if you need a little help, we provide website discovery as a service. Find out more!