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How Do API's Work?

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You know that a new solution is necessary to improve the functionality of your certifying organization. You’ve been told that time, money, accuracy and service can be improved by automating a wide variety of tasks with a comprehensive certification management system (CMS), but there’s the very real concern that this innovative technology won’t be able to interact with existing platforms you’re already using.

Don’t worry!

APIs are to the rescue, smoothly exchanging information between independent systems. Today, we explain what an API is and how they are useful to any credentialing organization using tech to manage their highly valuable data.

What It Is

API is an acronym for “Application Programming Interface,” and it’s essentially a solution for software to communicate with other software.

One way to think of an API is as a server in a restaurant. Someone who is dining wants a specific dish, and the waitstaff communicates that need to the kitchen. Once the kitchen has received the request, they then send the food (data) back to the diner via the server. In addition, you can only order off the menu (you can only get access to the "correct" data). The server makes sure you get what you ordered and you're not getting someone else's food. This demonstrates security. 

API’s power communication that is both external and internal. For external communication, think about when you give your utility company permission to pull auto-payments from your checking account. The power company’s website uses an API to “talk” to your bank.

API’s are also great tools for expert web developers, because they can also be used internally, within a single platform. Imagine a program that includes multiple functions. Well, rather than building each function from scratch, an experienced web developer can assemble some functionality from existing software solutions and have those operations “talk” to one another through an API.

There are two types of API, and they use separate languages. The two types are REST and SOAP.

RESTful APIs are built on open web technologies and are preferred by many developers for their ease and flexibility. However, transactions and information exchanges that require enhanced security use the SOAP protocol. SOAP requires a larger amount of bandwidth and, SOAP exclusively uses XML as its programming language.

When we move beyond the technical details, APIs can be summed up this way: it’s a place where independent pieces of software can interact. Every other detail is about defining the language and rules of those interactions.

What It's Worth

Websites frequently undergo cosmetic changes, in fact, your own website might be ready for a makeover. But the great thing about APIs is that as long as the “endpoints” remain the same, any two applications can continue to function together seamlessly. Endpoints are the location from which information is requested, and the location of where the info is delivered.

That’s a benefit for the owners and operators of websites, but there’s also a huge bonus for users. Let’s go back to the utility bill example from above – it’s a much faster and more satisfying experience for the customer when they can execute a payment without ever leaving your site, since an API essentially does the “travelling” for them.

ROC-P and APIs

Whether it’s for Primary Source Verification, for collecting payments, or for other needs, the ROC-P team already has a wealth of experience in developing, implementing and coordinating APIs that help ROC-P users access all the functionality they need and expect without leaving their secure cloud-based platform.

This is informed by ROC-P’s unique partnership with the expert web developers at Informatics. Together they can deliver the flexibility to make your system run smoothly, wherever you need to pull information from. ROC-P saves you time, and ensures that inaccuracies are limited by single-sourcing your important data through a secure API.

You don’t need an API to communicate your needs to the team at ROC-P, you can just click this link, and your organization can reach new heights in as few as four weeks.

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