A quick introduction to API’s – SOAP, REST & JSON
WHAT IS AN API?
Without Application programming interfaces (API’s) the world would be an unconnected boring place. API’s tie the digital world together.
Whether that’s booking a plane ticket on Expedia, checking the weather forecast on one of your phones native apps, receiving a parcel you ordered online or simply using a computer somewhere in these processes an API will have been used. Think of an API as the programmer’s interface into someone else’s software/ web solution.
There are many different forms of API’s. The older pre-connected world type of API’s typically came in the form of a dynamic link library (dll) that computer programs could use to do different things. This might have been a windows dll to get the name of the current user logged in, the current pc time or perhaps it was automating Microsoft Office from another application to do a repetitive task. Anyone who has used a digital device will have unknowingly used an API.
SOAP & XML
Then came the age of the internet. Technologies such as SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) were born. In the connected world companies could provide SOAP based API’s that users could consume to exchange structured information. This information was typically in an XML (Extensible Mark-up Language) format and online services that integrated with different sources of data such as Expedia were born.
REST & JSON
RESTful API’s allow your Instagram app to automatically post your selfie to your twitter and Facebook accounts at the same time.
At Innovative Creations, we have vast experience in both developing and consuming API’s of all types. We’ve consumed API’s from people like eBay, Royal Mail and Microsoft Azure and we’ve written a fair few as part of our client’s digital transformation strategies. If you need a SOAP API, a RESTful API or even a Dynamic Link Library so that you can provide your customers (or internal users) with the ability to integrate with your product or service then give us a call for a chat to learn more about how we can help you.