The term “API” has become a buzz-word in the eCommerce world. Let’s take a deep-dive into what they are and where they fit into your eCommerce store journey. Store owners who want to stay competitive in today's market should have a basic understanding of APIs and what they do. APIs allow different software systems, services, and applications to communicate with each other. This could mean synchronising product information from your supplier, orders to your delivery parter or invoicing software. Understanding how APIs work can also help e-commerce store owners make informed decisions about which services to integrate with and how to use them effectively.
API stands for Application Programming Interface. It is a set of protocols, routines, and tools used to create software applications. API’s specify how software components should interact with each other and allow developers to access functions or services of another application, without having to know the details of how the application works. They allow applications to communicate with each other over the internet and make it easier to develop applications by providing access to commonly used functionality from other applications.
API’s are the glue that holds together different parts of the Internet
API key 🔑 is a unique identifier that identifies you as a user and provides you with access to the service. It's like your username or password, except it can be used across many different services.
API call📞 is an
HTTP request sent from your application asking the server for information about something like users/tweets/likes/etc., or requesting that something be done like create new content on behalf of a user or delete content from their account.
An API (Application Programming Interface) is a set of rules that allows programs to interact with each other. In the context of web development, an API can be used for things like sending and receiving data between two applications or services on the internet.
RESTful APIs (or Representational State Transfer APIs) are a type of web-based API that follows the architectural principles of Representational State Transfer (REST).
RESTful API's use a set of
HTTP methods to request and manipulate data from a server.
RESTful API is an interface that two computer systems use to exchange information securely over the internet.
RESTful APIs use the following
GET- Read data from the server.
PUT- Create or update data on the server.
POST- Create new resources on the server (e.g., create a new user).
DELETE- Delete existing resources from the server (e.g., delete an order). You can also use
PATCHfor partial updates to existing resources
RESTful API's are designed to be lightweight, meaning they use less data and are more efficient than other types of API’s. They are also highly scalable, meaning they can handle large numbers of requests. RESTful API’s are typically accessed using a web browser or an HTTP client, such as cURL or Postman.
Authentication is the process of verifying the identity of an entity, or proving that it has permission to perform an action. Authentication is used in the web API to determine if a user is allowed to access a resource.
Authentication can be done using different types of credentials:
username/password(username and password are sent as separate parameters)
- bearer token (
JSON Web Token [JWT])
Authentication is a way for the API to verify that you are who you say you are. There are several types of authentication used in web API’s.
- Basic authentication is the simplest form of authentication, where a user provides their credentials, such as a username and password, to access the API.
- Token-based authentication is another type of authentication where users are provided with a token, usually an alphanumeric string, that is used to authenticate the user and access the API.
- OAuth is a type of token-based authentication where users can access the API using their existing accounts from other services, such as Google or Facebook.
API integration is the process of using API's to connect different software systems, services, and applications. By integrating API’s, businesses can easily access data and services from other platforms, and use them in their own applications.
- It can make a business more efficient and reduce costs. For example, a business can use an API to connect their internal customer database to a third-party payment processing service, eliminating the need to manually enter customer information into the payment system.
- API integration can also help businesses create better customer experiences. For example, a business can use an API to integrate their online store with a payment service, allowing customers to purchase products directly from the store.
- API integration can also help businesses create innovative new services. For example, a business can use an API to connect their customer database to a third-party analytics service, allowing them to gain deeper insights into their customers' behaviour.
- API integration can help businesses become more agile and stay competitive in today's market. By leveraging the power of API’s, businesses can quickly and easily connect their applications and services to other platforms, creating new opportunities for innovation and growth.
- In eCommerce, marketplaces are one of the most popular applications of API integration. Marketplaces use API’s to automate the connection between buyers and sellers, to provide users with access to a variety of products and services.
Using an API can be a great way to enhance your business by integrating different services and applications.
API’s enable businesses to access data and services from other platforms, allowing them to create innovative new services and improve the customer experience. API’s are also highly scalable, allowing businesses to handle large numbers of requests. By leveraging the power of API’s, businesses can stay competitive in today's market and quickly adapt to changing customer needs.