Application programming interface, also known as API, allows communication between different applications. An API may be used for a web based system, database system, hardware or a software. API allows two applications to communicate to each other. It can also be referred to as a messenger that delivers the request to the provider and then delivers the response back to you.
A simple example to help understand an API is when you go to a restaurant. The waiter takes your order and passes it onto the chef. The chef then prepares the food and the waiter brings it back to you. So, a waiter represents an API which is responsible for your order and the food delivery back to your table. Your order is your request to the chef through the waiter and the chef responds back with the food which is the data you have requested. This allows communication between you as the customer and the chef without ever meeting each other. The API works in a similar way, it allows communication between different systems/applications to extract the relevant information.
There are many different types of APIs. Web APIs being the most common, providing an interface for web applications. The two main web service APIs are SOAP and REST.
Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) is an XML messaging protocol which allows communication between applications over the internet using an envelope structure which is broken up into two sections. Section one which is the header providing information on authentication and section 2 would be the body which contains the message. HTTP is the best way for applications to communicate, as HTTP is supported by all internet browsers and servers, regardless of whether the application is being run on a different operating systems, languages or with different technologies, SOAP allows this to happen.
Representational State Transfer (REST) is easier to use, understand and more flexible than SOAP. It has a smaller learning curve and uses smaller message formats like JSON as opposed to XML. REST is therefore faster due to having smaller messages as opposed to larger more detailed messages like SOAP, which is why it is compared to a post card as opposed to an envelope.
At Campaignmaster, we have extensive API’s for all of our platforms, so you can easily integrate with other platforms you may require. This is a great way to manage your email marketing campaigns and data without actually using the platform. It can all be managed through API integration which we can accommodate. For more information about the API, please get in touch with us by email us on firstname.lastname@example.org . You can also view the calls we currently have on the API page on our website.