An API integration is the connection between two or more applications, via their APIs, that lets those systems exchange data. API integrations power processes throughout many high-performing businesses that keep data in sync, enhance productivity, and drive revenue.

“…You need to know API is a set of subroutine definitions, protocols, and tools for building application software. In general terms, it is a set of clearly defined methods of communication between various software components.”

The most commonly-used API for web services: REST

For web-based services (that businesses use for CRM, marketing platforms, etc.), the most popular and prevalent API is the REST API (pronounced “rest ay-pee-eye”), essentially the spiritual successor to SOAP (a mature API developed in the 1990s that uses XML for message formats, and may require an extensive XML framework to work with.)

70% of public APIs are REST APIs. REST APIs offer more flexibility, a gentler learning curve, and work directly from an HTTP URL rather than relying on XML.

How do REST APIs work?

At their simplest form, REST APIs for web services usually involve the following parties:

  • Your web-based, API-enabled application
  • Remote server
  • Specific data request
  • Returned data/function

While there are many different flavors of software and many different flavors of server, REST APIs act as a standardized wrapper to help your API-enabled applications successfully communicate with online servers to make information requests.

OK, that covers what APIs are. Now, how do API integrations work?

The term API integration refers to how two or more applications can be connected to each other via their APIs to perform some joint function…using the API layer of two or more applications to make them talk to each other.

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