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Refcard #303

API Integration Best Practices

Awesome APIs make for even better integrations. From understanding endpoints and implementing authentication to eventing APIs and querying for data, this Refcard serves as a starting point for best practices when approaching integration.

5,197

Brought to you by

Cloud Elements
Free .PDF for easy Reference

Written by

Chase Doelling Director of Alliances Marketing, Cloud Elements
Refcard #303

API Integration Best Practices

Awesome APIs make for even better integrations. From understanding endpoints and implementing authentication to eventing APIs and querying for data, this Refcard serves as a starting point for best practices when approaching integration.

5,197
Free .PDF for easy Reference

Written by

Chase Doelling Director of Alliances Marketing, Cloud Elements

Brought to you by

Cloud Elements
Table of Contents

Introduction

Navigating Documentation

Section 1

Introduction

Awesome APIs make for even better integrations, but like the APIs they connect, integrations can be unique and vary wildly. Yet, integration is becoming necessary, as many customer experiences are driven by aggregating existing data from applications instead of recreating it. Often times, creating enhanced views can speed up decision making by having your data available in one place. Integrations optimize processes by automating the transfer of data from one application to another or multiple applications, serving not only internal departments, but also customers, prospects, and partners.

The number of applications organizations use to conduct business on a daily basis is not only staggering but also increasing year over year. To use an example, there are now over 7,000 marketing applications to choose from that are being tracked by chiefmartec.com. Now think about all the applications engineering, product, QA, finance, accounting, and support use! Each of these applications will likely have their own APIs and, further, they may have different styles of APIs such as REST, SOAP, SDK, etc. So how do you bring all the data hiding in these applications together?

This Refcard serves as a starting place for some best practices when approaching integration. We'll begin with documentation and understanding the target application's endpoints, before learning to implement authentication to gain access to the data you need. Next, we'll cover eventing APIs and bringing that data to life by creating flows between applications. We will discover how to query for just the data we need, and finally, cover paging through those vast troves of data and moving it in bulk if need be.

Section 2

Navigating Documentation

Documentation is the aloha of API integration, where it both starts and ends for developers. Understanding what data you are getting from the endpoint provider is a crucial first step, but you also want to replicate documentation best practices if the integration you're building will be used by other team members and shared with other developers. Many popular SaaS applications have easy to navigate documentation, but, in many cases, full descriptions may be lacking to the point where you're not sure what CRUD operations are supported.

When working with a new application, try to find a working example that you can build upon to learn the application's APIs. If you can't find one within the API documentation, see if there are any tutorial videos, webinars, or blogs. Learning by example with new applications is the best way to understand if there are nuances, gotchas, workarounds, exceptions, and time-saving tricks that might save you hours of confusion down the line.

This is a preview of the API Integration Best Practices Refcard. To read the entire Refcard, please download the PDF from the link above.

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