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API Integration 101: How to Make a Seamless Transition

Most developers are required to design a number of API integrations between their application and the services their clients, employees, and partners use.

For instance, a cloud service can provide the app users with a collaborative experience, which will allow them to share data between the app itself and their cloud account. We’re living a connected world, which means that these integrations have become necessary for the success of your app.

Now, we’re quite aware that API design is not simple at all. It requires a ton of work hours and lots of resources. Due to the fact that most people too concerned with things like API testing, they tend to forget to check their integrations.

In order to help you with API integration, we’ve created this short guide. It will provide you a pattern for API integration between your application and other online services. Without further ado, let’s dive in…

·     The Selection Process

For starters, you have to ask yourself, where in the app the users will pick the service endpoints they want to connect. Also, you need to figure out whether the administrators to the users are going to set up your integrations. These factors are going to drive the interface design process, so you need to carefully think about them.

·     The Authentication Process

There are numerous types of authentication mechanisms your app can use, including SAML, OAuth, and a number of others. Every single endpoint requires a certain workflow, so you have to decide whether keep these endpoints active or not. Also, you need to pick the key refresh process for each endpoint and pick an efficient way to manage these keys.

·     The Data Customization Process

Most service nowadays support custom data fields and objects, which allow the user to pick which type of information they want to share with you. Therefore, you need to see if your design needs to house the mapping of these data objects. Some endpoints will give you a fully automated discovery of these objects, however, some require the job to be done manually.

·     The Data Mapping Process

In general, data mapping is not an overly-complicated process. The first step requires you to give a detailed mapping from the standard data structure into the data structure of your app. The default data mapping will pre-map all of those obvious data fields like name and address, and save your users a lot of time. The second will give your users to ability to map custom fields and objects into the application.

·     The Data Transformation Process

Apps use numerous data values like time, date, and other data forms. In order to translate the data between the endpoint’s structure and your app, you need a transformation service. Similarly to data mapping, the app will need to keep up with these transformations for every instance of an endpoint it’s connected to.

·     The Crud Process

Next up, you need to figure out what methods the app needs to execute against object. In addition, you need to consider which app will consume and which one will master this data. You need to do this in order to avoid conflict within the app. Most developers start with read-only integrations. Only afterwards, they introduce delete and update methods as they develop their integration.

·     The Synchronization Process

Lastly, you need to see if you need to synch data between the endpoint and the app. Since most endpoints support certain webhooks, you’ll be able to automate your workflow and keep the app updated automatically with changes at the endpoint.

Final Thoughts on API Integration

While this may not be a step per se, you still need to think about the maintenance of your integrations. As you know, most APIs change regularly. That means that you need to stay on top of the changes made by the services your app is connected to if you want to keep your users satisfied. By maintaining your integrations, you’ll be able to ensure that they don’t break when new changes are introduced.

We hope you found our article interesting and helpful. As always, if you have any additional questions, feel free to ask them in the comment section below and we’ll get back at you as soon as possible.

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