Everything You Need to Know About Third-Party Integrations, From Widgets to APIs

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Today, we will take a look at everything you need to know about third-party integrations, from widgets to API. And hopefully, you will increase your knowledge of third-party integrations and take away something you can use on your current and future products.

What are third-party integrations

An average person makes use of 4-5 applications on their mobile phones daily. Each of these applications makes use of third-party integrations. Third-party integrations add more functionality to our applications and we use them without knowing.

Developers make use of external libraries also known as frameworks, all the time. These external libraries and third-party integrations work the same way. This is because third-party integrations are built by a developer or a team of them and all we need to do is integrate them into our codes.

According to Mitel Powering Connections, third-party integrations are tools already developed by another company that replaces the need to build that feature internally. In simple words, third-party integrations are tools built by someone else. It contains data that are used to add features to applications, rather than building those features from scratch. This is because developing certain features of an application from the scratch is not the most affordable or efficient route, add time wastage to that list.

Types of third-party integrations

There are several third-party integrations but in this article, we will look at API. API is an acronym for Application Programming Interface.

Everything htat is to tell about Application Programming Interface (API)

Definition:

Application Programming Interface known as API is a commonly used third-party integration in software development. APIs are intermediaries between providers and consumers. APIs interacts with the provider while shielding the consumer from the complicated stuff that happens behind the scenes. In this case study, the consumer is the software developer while the provider is the organization that built the Application Programming Interface (API).

APIs interacts with the provider while shielding the consumer from the complicated stuff that happens behind the scenes.

Examples Of Application Programming Interface (API)

As a beginner developer, you would have probably heard a lot about APIs without exactly knowing the function and usage. Some common examples of APIs on our phones that we are ignorant of are:

  • The weather application on phones or laptops makes use of an API. This weather API is responsible for getting the data about the weather's forecast while the weather application displays the data.
  • Navigation: This includes google maps services and allows third parties to make use of them like Uber which makes use of google maps API to access the location of the driver and the passenger.
  • Twitter bots and Telegram bots are created by using the Twitter API and the Telegram API respectively.
  • Login Transactions: Applications that let you create an account and log in with your Facebook or Google login details
  • Online Transactions: Applications that make use of Paystack, Paypal, or Payoneer to carry out transactions.
  • Travel Aggregators: Booking a flight on a website, booking rooms in a hotel, or a reservation in a restaurant.

Types of Application Programming Interface (API)

Types of Application Programming Interface (API) include:

  • Private Application Programming Interface: These Application Programming Interfaces are hidden from external developers. They are only used within a company. It improves efficiency and communication between developers.
  • Public Application Programming Interface: These Application Programming Interfaces are the opposites of Private Application Programming Interfaces. They are made public and are open source. They foster innovations that allow third parties to make use of their data to build applications and websites.
  • Partner Application Programming Interface: Partner Application Programming Interface is a combination of Private Application Programming Interfaces and Public Application Programming Interfaces. Organizations that develop Private Application Programming Interfaces share their data with some companies, allowing them to integrate it into their applications. It can be a source of income or for testing.

How Application Programming Interface (API) Work:

APIs are everywhere in your software journey, just about everywhere you look. They are sets of tools that are designed for software developers. APIs make developers' life stress free by giving the developer access to data, without working for it. For instance, imagine developing google maps from scratch when you can integrate the google maps API into your application with a single line of code and have the same functionality.

Application Programming Interface (API) performs the same role as a waiter in a restaurant. A customer walks into a restaurant, and immediately a waiter hands the customer a menu. The waiter communicates with the customer about the food and drink of choice and sends the request to the cook. Meanwhile, the customer is unaware of the preparations of the food, once the food is ready the waiter serves it. In the same way, the application programming interface communicates with the developer, gets the request, and sends it to the server. Application Programming Interface is an intermediary between the developer and the server. An intermediary is needed because they cannot communicate with each other directly.

Application Programming Interface (API) performs the same role as a waiter in a restaurant.

Steps on how Application Programming Interface works:

  • The client initiates an action that invokes an Application Programming Interface call to retrieve information from the provider.
  • The request is submitted to the provider using the Application Programming Interface Uniform Resource Identifier (URL).
  • On getting a valid response, the Application Programming Interface calls the program on the server
  • The server processes the request prepares the request, and sends it to the Application Programming Interface.
  • The Application Programming Interface will convert the server’s response to the desired format for the client.
  • The client consumes the response in any way it deems fit and integrates this information inside his applications.

Pros and cons of APIs

PROS:

  1. It simplifies application development:
  • Developers have a stress free life.
  • It saves the time spent building features from scratch.
  • It also reduces development by simplifying the maintenance of software.
  1. Innovation:
  • Application Programming Interface creates room for flexibility for the developers which leads to the development of powerful applications
  1. Monetization:
  • Application Programming Interface can be a source of income.
  1. Security Cover:
  • Application Programming Interface adds external confidentiality by hiding data between layers of code.

CONS:

Application Programming Interfaces are of great help, especially in this age where smartphones are popular. Even with its tons of advantages, there are some disadvantages. Some disadvantages are:

  • Developing APIs is time consuming.
  • The cost of maintaining API is high.
  • If there is a technical problem with an API due for any reason. The applications built with that API will automatically become faulty.
  • There can be loss of data if an API is hacked.
  • Basic knowledge of programming is needed.

Conclusion

Application Programming Interfaces (API) are very useful tools for all developers regardless of the disadvantages. Learning how to integrate Application Programming Interfaces into projects is something all developers must learn.

This post was written by Eric Goebelbecker. Eric has worked in the financial markets in New York City for 25 years, developing infrastructure for market data and financial information exchange (FIX) protocol networks. He loves to talk about what makes teams effective (or not so effective!).


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