Have you ever wondered what an API connection actually is? We bring light into the darkness and explain to you in a way that is easy to understand, what an API is and why you need an API connection!
API connection simply explained
In order to understand what an API connection does, let’s first clarify what an API is. API is the abbreviation for “Application Programming Interface”, simply put it is an interface which can programmatically exchange data with other systems. The most popular API types are REST API and SOAP API. Nowadays you mostly see REST API in the enterprise environment. Here you can find more information about the difference between REST and SOAP. You can imagine the course of an API communication like this; The client (e.g. our app) asks the server for data, and the client transfers special tokens and passwords to the server via https. The server checks whether the data is correct and gives the client the requested information. To ensure that not everyone can query the data, a password and a one-time token must be provided for each request.
What does Import2Shop have to do with API connections?
In January 2019 we revised our software and rely on modern architectures. In principle, our software consists of countless small software parts that can talk to each other via API connections. We use API connections so that data can be moved back and forth between our systems. Whenever you call a button or a function in the app, an API connection is called in the background, which fetches the requested data and displays it or executes a function. In December 2022, however, we switched to a hybrid solution in a mix of monolith and microservice.
API connections and external systems
Interface connections can be found nowadays in every modern software which has to communicate with other programs. Our services not only talk to each other via API connections, but also to external interfaces such as the REST API from WooCommerce or the API from Gambio. Collecting the CSV files from the wholesaler is also a kind of API, it is the technical interface between us and the manufacturer. However, CSV API is a phased-out model and will hopefully be hard to find in a few years. Since we support innovative technologies, we use REST API connections whenever possible because they are much more stable, especially when you have to communicate with external systems.
Everyday API connections
Here are a few examples whenever you use an API connection without knowing it: You open your fitness app, which communicates via API with the server on which your fitness data is stored. When you pick up money from an ATM, the ATM software is likely to communicate with the bank server via an API connection to show your account balances and execute transactions. Even paying at the checkout with your card only works because there are API connections.