What’s an API and how can I use it guaranteeing a high quality product?

By August 2, 2017Technologies

The Apple App Store closed the 2016 with US$34 billion of revenues, almost the twice as much as the Google Play Store.
In a motley digital market characterised by all sorts of applications, from gaming and social to service Apps, it has become ever more difficult for a company to develop an application that is able to increase revenues with an adding value for the end-user.

Generally a business that wants to enter the digital landscape has to face two different dangers: the maintenance of the Apps connected with the operating systems evolutions and an unclear purpose of use.
To face these potential problems companies have to develop a clear and shared strategic vision offering to the end-users (partners, employers or customers) a personalised and up-to-date product sourcing the data from the company systems.

How can I connect the App with my databases?

To let the applications be always updated in real time with data from the customer system or third party systems, you have to integrate them using APIs or “application programming interfaces” which allow to extend an application software or a mobile Apps.
You can find different types of web services (REST, SOAP etc.) but their common goal is, for example, to pass data from a back-end to a mobile application guarantying:

1. High security
2. A personalised and updated product

Security is a very heartfelt topic for all the companies that manage a huge amount of data. Through the API integration, all the data move from the customer web services (o from third party systems) to the App without being saved in it.
Moreover, for example, with the integration of an App with the customer back-end (CMS, CRM or ERP) the end-users will be able to display in the App only the information they are interested in, such as vertical news about the products he bought or up-to-date transactions and documents.

The integration of an API with a back-end may be time-consuming because it’ll be necessary to search for the end-point of the service, build an integration prototype that must be expanded till a complete functional coverage.
For these reasons, the manual management of an API integration is not the most efficient option and it’s better to use an API integration service.

But problems are always lying in wait and the main causes are:
– Bad development of the API
– Inadequate documentation

To avoid problems related to the API quality it’s necessary to invest in the design of the interfaces and in tests planning (manual and automatic).

Tests allow to keep under control the changes you make to API and the possible combinations of the values associated to the operating parameters (both the input and the output parameters) and the order of the calls to the applicative interfaces that have to follow a dependency order.

To check the input and operating parameters of the interface it’s necessary to check that the API works correctly even when the parameters passed are not corrected. To check the parameters received by the API, you have to use a CI tests.
To achieve this object, it’s possible to find online some tools such as PostMan, SOAPUI, or Jmeter, Rest-Assured, Vrest etc. that can help you automate the API testing process.

To conclude, a good documentation and an automatic testing system will help you in your API integration making it simpler and faster.

Contact us to have more info on how the open architecture of our platform can integrate with your systems.