Why and How the API integrations will bring your Software Platform to the Next Level?
In today’s dynamic IT world – creating standalone, isolated product is not satisfactory; instead you should concentrate in building flexible platforms that offer highly functional APIs, and to integrate them smoothly to the ecosystem of products and services used by your clients. APIs are the fundamental step for this chain effect, and they can bring a crucial improvement of your business strategy. There are different aspects in the APIs development, but the role-based APIs and API-based integration are the most important steps towards establishing a customer-centric platform.
Incorporating of Third Party API-s in your Platform
The main purpose of incorporating external APIs is that - it can save you time and efforts by using its features instead of developing the same features in-house. Click To Tweet In the past years – the API integration can be seen on a large number of websites and blogs, and some common examples are Facebook pages on sites outside of Facebook, Facebook comments in texts, or sign-up for some services via Facebook or Twitter account. Your portal can apply integration with Twitter, Facebook and Gmail for the needs of additional promotion of your business – via e-mail and social media. For example, the Facebook API integration on e-commerce offers pages – provides the website visitors a possibility to use the Facebook share button to send information about an offer, or a product to their FB friends. Similarly – Gmail API integration allows Gmail users to choose their contacts from your portal to send an e-mail message about an offer of a particular product.
- Real-time search in Social media (11 sources – from Twitter to Vimeo);
- Social monitoring of your brand (by keywords, or hashtags);
- Unlimited history and data export (pagination, sort by date, by popularity, filtering etc.);
- Advanced Analytics for periods (posts distributions by day/ by week, insights for efficient marketing strategy etc.);
- Email Notifications (email alerts on certain posts);
- Automatic Language Recognition (narrow down search in different languages).
For your payment processor – you can consider commonly used API-s (third-party checkout process) and this will bring you certain benefits:
- Client’s data will remain safe and protected – outside of your server premises.
- You can offer the clients different payment possibilities (credit card, Paypal etc.)
- You can extend the same payment infrastructure to different platforms (website, mobile app, company’s FB/ Twitter feed etc.).
- You will get real-time data describing the customer’s behaviour and habits – you can use these data in further business analyses.
Software services are all around us including the cloud capabilities, and all major players (Amazon, Microsoft, Google) offer cloud storage as IaaS or PaaS variant. Click To Tweet Cloud storage API will connect your custom application to a cloud-based storage system, so that the users can send data to it and access and work with data stored in it. To your application, the cloud storage system will look like another target device, like tape or disk-based storage. These API-s can work with both XML and JSON formats, and can access different types of databases – Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL, Firebase, Mongo DB etc.
Yet another useful API you should consider is WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communications), i.e. set of API-s that will enable your application to capture (and optionally stream) audio and/or video media, and to exchange custom data between browsers without requiring an intermediary. The WebRTC consists of set of standards for data sharing and peer-to-peer communication, without a need to install third-party toolkits. Example products that you can consider are:
- Tokbox – offers Live Video API and Interactive Broadcast API, with different payment (membership) scales.
- Pusher – offers Channels – for managed web sockets, flexible messaging, live presence lists and access control; Chatkit – custom Chat module in your app; Beams – for push notifications, Feeds – to publish and store data in real time; Textsync – for collaborative, real-time editing.
- Firebase – is a Google product that provides you an improved software development process, including analytics, data storage, hosting, machine learning, authentication and many more.
In order to accomplish better visibility and promotion of your business – you can decide to upgrade your application to a level of published API component. In this way – it will become more accessible – via different global platforms that offer and publish custom APIs. You can embed widgets and tools into your API, so they can be selected separately by certain users, such as options for specific country, or region. The main question is how will you profit from publishing your API-s? There are several usage scenarios that can bring you benefits:
- Simple Usage metering – direct charge for the usage of your API, i.e. pay as-you-go.
- Upsell the API integration – this is similar to the SaaS model: putting API integration to a subscription offers a strong motivator to upgrade to a higher package, and creates a stickier relationship with customers.
- API as a product – you can gain revenue via service-based model (fees).
- Distributing value through Partners – integrate your API-s into Partner’s platform (strategic).
- Improving Operational efficiency – agile approach: building end-to-end solutions more efficiently, in iterations and by engaging the customers.
Before publishing – you have to test the API carefully to ensure that it is in stable state in its endpoints, so it can be reliably called from other applications. The main aspects you should test are: functionality (business logic), reliability, performance and security of the API.
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