API stands for Application Programming Interface.
Essentially an API is a layer of software that allows other pieces of software to communicate and interact with each other, using a common set of standards and protocols.
Using an API, applications can send and request information, update and authenticate, without the need for them to be written in the same coding language.
Think of it like talking to a waiter at a restaurant. He hands you the menu, you select the item(s) you want, specify any dietary requirements or preferences, and he makes a note of your request and sends it to the kitchen for the chef to prepare. You do not need to talk directly to the chef, nor do you need to list the ingredients or tell the chef how to prepare them. Likewise he will calculate the cost of each item and prepare the bill for you, then handle the payment.
If the kitchen is able to meet your request, the waiter will then bring you a meal. If the kitchen cannot, then the waiter will return with an apology.
If the API can fulfil a request, it will return the information asked for. If the API cannot, it will return an error code – ideally one that describes the issue.
In the truest sense, an API is any interface that lets software interact with other software, however most modern APIs conform to certain standards, leading to wide interoperability.
Note that this article mainly considers
web APIs – that is, APIs that are open (exposed) to the internet, are accessible via a web browser, and use
HTTP as their common language.
|API||Application Programming Interface|
|API Key||A string of characters used to authenticate a request made to an API|
|HTTP||HyperText Transfer Protocol|
|Request||A message to an API that conveys an instruction|
|Web API||An API that is exposed to the internet|
You may wish to import and export data to and from third party applications, or make use of their features. The easiest way to achieve this is to use an API.
Use of APIs sits towards the low-code end of the no-code/low-code spectrum. You will not need to write any code to use an API with your Intelastel application, but having an understanding of their purpose and functionality will be useful for any web-based application development, especially given how common APIs are.
A good example is our integration partner, Integromat – whilst you will mainly use their preconfigured modules to integrate with other applications, you have the option to add and use HTTP modules, which will allow you to use almost any web API (with the correct permissions).
You will need to configure these HTTP API request modules using the documentation provided with the API you wish to use.
APIs and Integrationsto go to our integration partner, Integromat.
Make A API Key Auth Requestmodule.
|GET||Retrieves information according to the parameters specified in the request|
|POST||Tells the API to process the information sent in the request|
|PUT||Tells the API to copy or update information in line with the request parameters|
|DELETE||Tells the API to delete data according to the parameters specified in the request|
|Note that the above four request methods correspond to the Eventflow modules in your Intelastel application; namely SELECT, CREATE, UPDATE and DELETE.|
There are several other request methods in common use but these are beyond the scope of this article.
Create Entity Valueand connect it to the scenario. You will need to add the connection to your Intelastel application.