APIs

APIs started just as an acronym that only programmers know in the 2000s. Now, they have become an important piece to ignite several innovative solutions. They unleashed a number of opportunities in various services to help them function more efficiently.

Using APIs is easy, but many don’t understand what it takes to make it useful. People are too focused on the technology part that they overlook the use cases for which they can add value to their businesses: representing a way to reduce operational costs and automating business processes completely.

But, how do you make money from APIs and how should you price them to get the best return? There are three ways to monetize APIs:

  • Data Collection. This is Facebook’s preferred method. It involves collecting of data from third party applications to use in your advertising efforts or your own products.
  • Product Adoption. It allows developers to build custom integrations that increase the value of products and keep the users locked-in.
  • Developer Usage. This is the most obvious way to monetize APIs. You simply charge developers for API calls.

The Developer Usage model has three pricing models, so you need to think carefully and choose wisely. The first models is Pay-as-you-Go, which simply means that you pay per API call. Fixed quota means you pay for a fixed number of calls per month and you are not allowed to exceed. Lastly, the Overage model is like the previous model. However, it allows developers to exceed their call limit in exchange for a small overage fee.

Each pricing model has its own pros and cons, but the last one may be the best option for you. It has the scaling advantages of the pay-as-you-go model and offers the predictability of the fixed quota plan.

Of course, how much you should charge per plan depends on your business. Just consider these three C’s when pricing:

  • Cost
  • Competitors
  • Content

On pricing your APIs, determine what type of value they can deliver and your actual pricing structure. Determine how much the access is worth in conjunction with your existing web-based offering and competition, then choose the pricing model that your customers will ultimately be comfortable paying. Find out how we can help here.

API history

Much of the changes that take place in the world of software hinges on APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). They have been a hot topic among developers, but only a few people are acquainted on what they are and where they’re from. Although, we interact with APIs every day, many still underestimate its impact on web applications. Here’s a brief API history to better understand their uses.

First, let us define the word API. An API is software programming written to bridge the communication between web applications. It pulls or shares data within the firewall of a company or over the internet. To put it simply, it makes services accessible to outside developers so they can build those services into their own programs.

The earliest uses of APIs were associated with three origin stories:

  • Franchises attempting to use their services in various locations
  • Stock market machines ticking out real-time data for media and investment firms
  • Catalogue-based mail order shopping

Whichever, the bottom-line is it was the entrepreneurial spirit of the people who struggled on using their company’s underlying services in new and profitable ways that drove the development of APIs.

Web APIs, on the other hand, have a fairly short API history. They have only been in use for over a decade. These companies have pioneered them:

  • Salesforce
  • eBay
  • Flickr
  • Amazon
  • Facebook
  • Google Maps

Perhaps, the most popular web API is Google Maps. While many are more likely to use Amazon and Facebook, Google Maps is adapted to site-specific purposes around the Web. In fact, it is the first to widely demonstrate the power of “API mash-ups” – using content from more than one source. Thanks to these mash-ups, you are able to see which bands are playing in what location, track your running routes and highlight hiking trails near your home.

But, the API history did not start with Google Maps. Its popularity is what made the wheel turn. Many developers hacked their code for use on other sites and forced the application to release an API that the former can use without the need to hack. That API and others are what changed the face of the Internet – forever. Click here for more blogs about APIs.

API Integration

The influx of software applications and the rising demand for customized products and services call for an unobstructed flow of data. APIs serve as a medium to exchange information between systems and applications. Due to the migration of business services to the cloud, API integration is gaining momentum. Instead of having internal IT server and staff, APIs stitch together applications available in the internet for quicker time to market and reduced costs.

While APIs transfer data between devices and the cloud, the data is protected by HTTPS while in transit. The data resting on the client or server is also encrypted. Another way to reduce the possibilities of data breach is developer registration. API keys, unique to every developer, are used to keep track of the devices using the APIs. Random tokens that expire after a given time are also a great way to ensure security.

Developers find REST (Representational State Transfer) APIs as more agile. Many cloud service providers prefer them because they provide lightweight communication between producers and customers. However, they also come with a set of disadvantages. A number of security concerns arise due to the lesser overall consistency in app updates. An effective way to secure REST is through network standards that assign IP addresses in which components are deployed.

Another API integration challenge is testing as it can be extremely difficult if performed by conventional methods. The implementation can collide with cloud resource mapping. The successful testing of APIs in the cloud is based on “abstraction”, a technique that exposes the features without exposing the implementation. By including component scaling and resource allocation features, it enables a test plan to include cloud-related elements without disturbing the cloud quality of the experience.

REST APIs are scaling high in their implementation by assisting convenient integration and possessing resilience and scalability in cloud applications. They are an affordable and powerful way to use pre-existing applications in the cloud to drive your business.

At APIworx, we make API integration simple and easy. We help automate, optimize and secure your technology driven-processes by making APIs that are easy to setup and maintain. Click here to learn more about our API integration solutions.

world without APIs

What if APIs (Application Programming Interface) don’t exist? They have been such a huge part of modern technological development and disruption that it’s hard to imagine the world without them. We would be left with isolated data and applications that can’t communicate. APIs hold systems together. Without APIs, the technologies we rely on won’t work.

Here’s a quick view of how the world will be without APIs:

  • No social media on Smartphones. True to many people, when they wake up in the morning, they check their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. None of these social networking sites will work without APIs. There will be no #IWokeUpLikeThis posts. In fact, Smartphones will not be that “smart” without the digital glue of APIs.
  • No weather information. The weather application from your Smartphones needs to get information from a source. While Samsung and Apple can just scrape it off from a weather website, APIs have a more standardized approach. Without APIs, you won’t be able to choose the right #OOTD and Google can’t update you on traffic if you want to travel.
  • No instant messaging. One of the best perks of today’s technology is easy and fast communication. We no longer need to send snail mails and wait weeks to months for them to arrive. Phone, email and SMS send our messages in real-time so we can respond and get response immediately.
  • No YouTube and Netflix. You’ll have to rely on video entertainment given by your local cable provider. There will be no cooking how-to and make up tutorials you can watch to sharpen your skills.
  • No online bookings. Another great thing about APIs that won’t be possible is online bookings. You can’t pre-book your flight and movie to make sure you have a seat. You’d have to go and interact with a human being to get your tickets.
  • No online banking. You can’t access your banking information online anymore. You need to visit a branch of your bank to get the details you need. You need to go to an ATM, withdraw and transfer funds – assuming that its back-ends are API-free.
  • No shopping online. Without APIs, you can’t shop at home. You need to look at physical catalogues and visit a physical store to buy the things you want and need. Coupons won’t be available online, too. They will be sent via post and you’d have to carry them with you to get a discount.

Many systems will fall down if the world is without APIs. Companies and individuals everywhere leverage API for their personal and business purposes. Without them, services, activities and processes around the world will grind to a halt. APIs are so integral to the way our society and technology has evolved that businesses cannot afford to ignore them. Click here to know how we can help you with your API strategy.

Selling APIs

For many businesses, an effective API program is mission critical. Its inherent value to the user and internal business processes is undeniable. With the API industry growing so fast, selling your APIs can be your new business model. They are not only a digital advantage but can also be a great source of revenue. Here are a few things you should know about selling APIs:

  • +25 Million Developers. Did you know that there are over 25 million developers in the world? They have a lot of decision power and money, too.
  • 3 New Positions. A few years ago, these three positions didn’t exist in the job sector: API Engineer, API Evangelist and API Business Development.
  • Employment. Today, thousands of employees work in the API market. AWS alone has 600 open positions.
  • eBay. Who started all this? Yes, it’s eBay in 2001. Now, over 60% of all listings in the website are added via their APIs.
  • API Start-up. The first well-known API start-up was Twilio Cloud Communications in 2008 with pay-as-you-go pricing and volume pricing for all models. Calls are charged 1 to 2 cents, while messages are charged 3 cents.
  • Facebook API. Did you know that the Facebook API is for free? Yes, the website takes a cut of in-app payments such as Farmville coins.
  • API as the Product. API became THE product in 2006 as started by Amazon web services. Seven years later, a number of companies offered the same.
  • Revenue. APIs potential is huge. Direct and indirect revenues per year could reach over 10 billion dollars.

APIs play a great role in improving your business model. They offer a whole lot of advantages for any kind of company. They are highly beneficial to developers as well, allowing them to communicate with stockholders to update agency systems. But, before you dive into your pricing page and start selling your APIs, consider these questions:

  1. Am I solving a difficult developer problem?
  2. Can I charge money for this value?
  3. Will my team be able to communicate with developers?

Make sure you can solve a difficult problem, provide enough value and have a team who can handle unique communication requirements before you jump into selling APIs. Learn more about API integration here.

REST API

REST API stands for Representational State Transfer Application Program Interface, and relies on stateless, client-server and cacheable communications protocol. As an architecture style for designing networked applications, it uses a simple HTTP protocol to make calls between machines. Today, there are no applications or projects without REST API. The World Wide Web itself can be viewed as a rest-based design since it is based on HTTP.

REST API Features:

  • Stateless Client/Server Protocol. This means the client/server do not need to remember any previous state to satisfy it because each HTTP contains all necessary information. The client can run the same response to the same HTTP requests in the future.
  • Data transactions. There are four of them in any HTTP specification and REST system: POST (create), GET (read and consult), PUT (edit) and DELETE.

  • Manipulated from the URL. Objects in REST are manipulated from the URL, which is the sole identifier for each resource in the system. The URL allows access to information in order to edit or delete it, or share the exact location to third parties.
  • Uniform Interface. In order to transfer data, the REST system applies specific data transactions on the resources, making it easier to get a uniform interface that organizes the process with information.
  • Layer System. The REST API has a hierarchical architecture between components, wherein every layer has specific functions in the system.
  • Use of Hypermedia. An extension of hypertext, hypermedia an app development interface’s capacity to provide adequate links in order to run specific actions on data.

Is REST API a winning strategy? Here are three main advantages of using REST for development:

  • Separation between client and server
  • Dependency on type of platform or languages
  • Visibility, scalability, reliability

Separation from the server and data storage improves portability of interface to other types of platforms. It also increases visibility, scalability and reliability, making the apps more flexible to work with. Furthermore, it adapts to the syntax or platforms used. You can have PHP, Java, Node.js or Python servers.

Figuring out a winning API strategy is a great challenge for most companies. First, they need to develop the requirements to start building the actual software. Three or more teams are needed to develop a REST API project.

The modern enterprise needs hundreds to thousands of mobile applications, so the API building process goes on for over a few years with various contractors, consultants and developers. That’s why many companies are running hundreds of internal APIs that lack management, and are hard to discover and use by their partners, existing apps and internal developers. Click here to find out how cloud APIs can help.

API integration challenges

Online services today are interconnected with other systems. To fit in the structure, you need to build integrations and expose your APIs. By doing so, you can interchange information with your trading partners, suppliers and customers. Through API integration, disparate software can work together to attain greater business value. However along with these benefits, there come the API integration challenges.

  1. Technological Complexity. It isn’t simple and easy to elaborate a flawless API integration. You need to have a wide range of tech knowledge and be on top of latest trends. These experts are worth their weight in gold. The challenge comes in finding a knowledgeable and highly skilled developer who is willing to elaborate integration for your system.
  2. Security Risks. One of the main concerns of API integration is security. Data breaches and losses may affect your company’s reputation and finances. They can also affect your customers. Poor integration is an advantage for users with bad intentions. That’s why you need to keep your connection with another system safe.
  3. High Cost and Time Consumption. Elaborating a properly working API integration is a lot of work. Setting up may take a few weeks. That’s why professional developers can be very expensive. A month’s salary may cost you thousands.
  4. Maintenance and Upgrades. When connecting systems, you need to take care of the integration maintenance and upgrading. Otherwise, functional changes can mess up the whole process of data access and control.
  5. Disparate Systems. Various software and API structural types are available and every system has its specific logic. So, every integration will have unique challenges. When integrating multiple platforms, you need to understand that establishing a connection will not have the same speed and difficulty.

A single API integration is not an easy task, even more so are multiple API integrations. As a result, companies only work on a few systems and tend to miss out on other business opportunities. Fortunately, there is a solution to all these API integration challenges.

APIworx create high quality API integrations across internal and external systems. We connect directly and securely to your internal and cloud systems to provide you with a seamless API-based workflow. Our API solutions and integrations offers real-time advantage, unlimited scalability, uptime and low cost. Click here to get your FREE quote now!

Real-time API

From a business point of view, real-time API offers a number of benefits. It encourages innovation and increases potential for partnerships. But, what is it really and how is it used? First, let us define the term real-time. Real-time refers to the ability to respond to something as soon as it happens.

Why should you consider real-time?

  • User experience
  • Accuracy
  • Speed
  • Broadcast
  • Engagement

Because life happens in real-time, your API should also be in real-time. Real-time API allows an application to register for events it is interested in. For instance, you will receive push notifications every time a new customer is added or when the stock price changes. You don’t get the new data on your next query; it is instantly pushed to you.

Here are five reasons why real-time API is great for your business:

  1. Real-time data. With real-time API, you can also enjoy real-time data within your systems. Any changes in data, any interaction between systems, and user interactions with apps and systems can be easily identified.
  2. Faster access to value. Real-time API allows your customers to access data and gain value from it. The faster you can let them access and process data, the faster they can gain business value. So, make sure your customers get the data as soon as possible.
  3. Time factor. Real-time API is required because you need to know if there’s a warp core breach instantly. If the API is not real-time, every event will become an emergency. You won’t be able to take action immediately.
  4. Developer experience and empowerment. Real-time API offers a great developer experience and empowers them to do much more. They will have faster access to your data, so they can reduce code complexity and application processing overhead. Developers will be able to build value into the product and offer real-time experience to users.
  5. Real-time experience of users. For quite some time, people want real-time experiences. They don’t want to wait. Many of the applications they use on a daily basis are already on real-time, including Facebook, Google Docs and Uber. These applications offer a significantly improved user experience, and that’s what they want from your company too.

Get valuable data, share it with your customers, be informed of important events, and improve developer and user experience with real-time API. APIworx creates high quality API integrations across internal and external systems. This global company provides you with real-time advantage and integration between disparate unintegrated systems. Learn more about us here.

OROCommerce has announced it’s newest technology partner.  APIWORX for Advanced Cloud Integration Needs!

For nearly a decade, APIWorx has been building, operating, and supporting custom API and direct cloud integrations at any scale. In 2016 they have expanded globally to support complex package integrations for mid-market and upper mid-market organizations.

As a highly experienced integrator and API-as-a-service provider, APIWorx can create tailor-made APIs to enable applications to access data, business logic, and functionality from any customer backend system including CRM, ERP, accounting or marketing solutions, and similar. APIWorx has successfully implemented integrations for Zendesk, Google Analytics, Tableau, Amazon AWS, PayPal, MailChimp, UPS, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle, Akeneo and many others.

As OroCommerce’s Technology partner, APIWorx will be providing fully managed integration capabilities for Oro installations and act as a one-stop-shop for OroCommerce integrations.

For our customers, APIWorx can create REST APIs that can be used by mobile and web applications to call publicly available services through the already existing system APIs.

APIWorx sees many common workflows with OroCommerce, which will ensure even more seamless workflows between cloud and on-premise apps. And because OroCommerce entered a huge upside market, APIWorx is pleased to join us in that growth.

‘OroCommerce is clearly positioned as a leader in the growing B2B eCommerce market, we’re thrilled to partner with them. Our integration platform will provide seamless integration services to over 100 other applications immediately’ claimed Mike Grabert, the company’s CTO.

By building and deploying customized API integrations and delivering them as a service, APIWorx enables companies to easily connect Oro and hundreds of other applications. We believe this will help any company looking to leverage managed API connectivity streamline their business operations and enhance performance.