Have you ever used an online travel booking platform? When you search for a flight or a hotel, it shows you consolidated data from all multiple service providers on a single platform.
So, how does this happen? Well, it is possible with the help of API (Application Programming Interface) integration. I’m sure you would have come across this term directly or indirectly.
I’m sure, by now you’d have guessed today’s topic of discussion. Yes, in this post I’ll guide you on API along with the best tools for API integration and companies that can help in making your product seamless.
What is API?
First, let’s understand, what is an API?
API or Application Programming Interface is a set of codes (rules, protocols, etc.) that facilitates exchange of data between software, device, and servers. Let me explain it with an example.
Suppose, you are at a restaurant. Now, you want to order a dish from the menu and give specific instructions for its preparations. So, what would you do?
Of course, share the order details with the waiter. He/she will then pass on the request to the chef and return to you with the food you’ve ordered for.
Comparing it with API, you can say that the menu and the dish prepared are the data, whereas the waiter is the API. Thus, an API acts as a messenger between devices, servers, and software to pass the users’ requests and display the result accordingly. APIs work on function calls which are verb and noun based, which makes it easier to parse.
For example, while searching for the flights on any online travel booking portal, you tend to get error 404 (page not found). That’s because the codes were not written as per JSON.
So, you might have understood what API is. You might be wondering that since API is a conduit between two systems, how does it communicate? Well, that’s where integration comes into the picture. Let’s talk about it ahead.
What is API integration?
In simple terms, API integration is the process of facilitating communication between two or more APIs. Let’s take the example of an online travel booking platform I’ve mentioned earlier.
When you search for a hotel on Trivago, it shows you data of all the properties that are available for your dates along with rooms available as per required occupancy. This sharing of data takes place with the help of API integration.
Thus, with help of API integration, you can pull data from various sources on any platform. But to achieve this, you need to be aware of certain tools and companies. Let me tell you more about the tools for API integration and development ahead.
What are the best tools for API integration?
Now, there are 3 stages that takes place to build a seamless API:
- Developing API
- Testing API
- Maintaining API
Here are the tools that can help you in acing these stages like a pro.
Best tools for API development:
The very first step for API integration is developing APIs. There are a gazillion tools for API development, here are the top three recommended by experts.
Hoppscotch is an open-source API development ecosystem founded in 2019 by Kerala (India) based Liyas Thomas. It was initially launched as Post Woman and was renamed as Hoppscotch in August 2020.
Presently, it has received more than 45,000 stars on GitHub and is opted by more than 5 lac engineers, QA testers, product managers, and software developers. As per the company’s claim, the users are from top-notch firms like Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, and IBM.
Hoppscotch provides developers with tools like a separate command-line interface (CLI) and API documentation generator which helps them develop, publish, and maintain the vital API documentation in real-time.
Founded in 2011 by Tony Tam, the CTO of Wordnik, Swagger is a suite of API tools for the overall development of APIs. Swagger provides two different types of tools viz;
- Pro: SwaggerHub, SwaggerHub Enterprise, Swagger Inspector
- Open Source: Swagger Codegen, Swagger Editor, Swagger UI
These tools assist developers in multiple functions such as designing, developing, documenting, governing, mocking, monitoring, and virtualizing of APIs. Also, with the help of OpenAPI Specification (OAS), developers can design technology-agnostic APIs which is the base of their API development and consumption.
Best tools for API testing:
Once you’ve developed APIs, it’s time for you to test them. Although the tools I’ve mentioned above are one-stop solutions for API development, here are some of the well-known ones for testing APIs.
Postman is one of the most used apps for testing APIs using GUIs (Graphical User Interface). With some amazing features such as collecting (aggregating tests and requests in a single automated test sequence) and creating different testing environments, it is quite helpful in reducing testers’ time while executing tests.
Further, you can integrate Postman within your development tool chain. This will help you in accessing the data in your Postman account programmatically.
Since Postman is an open-source platform, it can be accessed by millions of developers and testers for free.
Another best tool for API testing is Loadview. It is an online cloud-based platform that allows developers and testers to run tests on websites, APIs, or basically any kind of web-based services.
However, unlike Postman, Loadview is not an open-source platform. It is a commercial tool where users need to pay a certain amount of fees to run the tests.
The core function of Loadview is to test the website load and stress with the help of cloud-based virtual servers. Also, it provides different browsing emulation for running the tests including Google Chrome, IE, iPhone, Nexus, and even Samsung Galaxy.
Tools for API management:
After you’ve successfully developed and distributed your API, it’s time to focus on managing and updating it. Here are some tools that can come in handy.
1. Dell Boomi
Dell Boomi, previously known as Boomi, is a software company that provides a multi-tenant cloud integration platform. It’s one of the well-known iPaaS providers among developers.
Founded in 2000, Boomi launched its cloud integration platform, Atmosphere in 2007. It was first acquired by Dell in 2010, and later taken over by Francisco Partners and TPG Capital in 2021.
Atmosphere provides developers with features like lifecycle management, event-driven architecture and APIs for cloud integration. In fact, some of the top brands use Boomi’s technology for integration, including American Cancer Society, International Justice Mission, and Sky Group.
2. Microsoft Azure API Management
Provided by Microsoft, Azure API management is a tool used by developers for analyzing, publishing, managing, and securing APIs. This includes tasks such as monitoring performance of APIs, identifying errors, configure throttling, etc.
What are the best software development firms to approach for API development and management?
I hope the tools I’ve mentioned above would help you in developing APIs and have a seamless API integration over multiple platforms. In case you want to avoid falling into all such complex tasks, you can simply outsource your project.
Yes, it is possible. Just like other IT products, you can take help from software development companies like Fivetran, Airbyte, Coditation, etc. for developing and integrating API for your firm. All you have to do is share your requirements, access to data, and just sit back and relax. Rest assured; your project is in safe hands.
API integration is one of the important aspects in any device or application to help users have a seamless experience while browsing or using it. In fact, if you are a service provider it becomes vital for you to have API integration with multiple platforms for eradicating the lengthy manual process users have to go through for finding any solution.
In this blog, I’ve shared tools that can help you develop, test, manage, and integrate APIs. Do give them a try, and let me know in the comments how they helped you. Till then, happy coding.
Siddharth Joshi, aka Sid, is a professional blogger with an experience of 7+ years in various industries including travel, hospitality, education, and IT. In free time, he loves to cook, write poems, and travel to find hidden gems of India.