At Dovetail we always indicate that every system and every application can be integrated by us. We do this linking based on APIs.
An API is an Application Programming Interface, a software interface that makes it possible for applications to communicate with each other.
You can think of an API as a set of instructions that can be called by another API. That way, data can be transferred more easily.
An API defines access to the functionality behind it. The person requesting the information does not know any details of the functionality or implementation, but can use that functionality thanks to the API.
It saves developers time that standard functionalities are ready in 1 central place, so that only a way has to be found to offer the information from one API to the other API.
|DThe most common metaphor for an API is that of a restaurant menu. On the menu you see the range of dishes, you tell the waiter which dish you want, and some time later there is a nice plate in front of you. You don’t need to know how that dish came about. You just want good food and get exactly what you ordered.|
Different types of APIs
Depending on the application you have various types of APIs, the best known are:
REST (Representational State Transfer)
REST works on the basis of HTTP. Using the standard HTTP request methods (GET, POST, PUT, DELETE) and URL (to identify the location of the data on another web server), you can easily transfer data between clients, servers and external web applications without the need for extra protocols are required.
With a REST API, data can be displayed as JSON or XML and opened with the request to return a URL with instructions about the data in the response.
One of the main advantages of REST APIs is that they offer a lot of flexibility;
- Data is not tied to sources or methods, so REST can handle multiple types of calls, return different data formats.
- Unlike SOAP, REST is not limited to XML but can instead return XML, JSON, CSV, HTML or some other format depending on what the customer requests.
- Easy to use: quick setup and the documentation is easy to create and maintain
SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol)
A SOAP-based API works by sending data in packets of XML files and moving them using the HTTP protocol, making communication easy through a shared language.
SOAP offers the following advantages over REST:
- Transport Layer independent; REST requires use of HTTP (S), while SOAP can handle HTTP / HTTPS, SNMP, TCP, UDP, JMS, or XMP
- Works well in distributed business environments (REST assumes direct point-to-point communication)
- Works with WDSL (Web Services Description Language), this allows the calling party to directly validate whether the messages they send are also correct
However, there are many more besides these 2 well-known APIs. An API provides a certain degree of standardization, but within this standard there are still many varieties.
The type of API that is possible, or chosen, depends on the application that the API offers.
Even though APIs aren’t visible to many users, you’re already using them more than you think:
- When you use Google Maps, information is retrieved from a GSM mast or via GPS. With that information, a route can be determined or a live location can be shared
- Via an online travel service you search for available flights, the application retrieves and displays data from various providers
- Google chromecast, this API provides ways to communicate between the sender (media) and the receiver (display screen)
- And there are dozens of APIs that you use unnoticed and that make your life easier
What does Dovetail do with APIs?
If it is all that simple, and all systems can communicate with each other via APIs, what is the added value of Dovetail?
Many companies work with many different systems and applications, an average of 36 per employee. When many of these systems communicate with each other, this leads to a spaghetti of data traffic.
In addition, Dovetail itself can also function as a REST API. With a few clicks you have configured an integration that can make data available to other applications.
Dovetail provides application and data integration, connecting systems and applications in a network environment and with the outside world. Dovetail has a “spider in the web” function here.
The data that is retrieved by Dovetail from one API is transported and transformed as usable data to another API. During this process, Dovetail checks what happens to the data and ensures, for example, that the error handling procedure is followed, for example if the layout does not meet the guidelines. Dovetail can also enrich the data with information from other systems and applications. Furthermore, the data flow is directed, secured and monitored and Dovetail can provide reports.