It’s Not Just Mapping API’s

Recently a very large company told us, “Our accounting software has API’s and we have people that can map to the API’s, so why would we need you?” I realized that many people we talk with probably think the same thing. There is so much more to integration than mapping to API’s. In fact, if it was just about mapping, Missing Link Technology wouldn’t be in business!

APIs are a wonderful tool that allow for two-way data exchange between software systems.  If one system has an API, then you can (in theory) connect to the API’s and exchange data.

In practice it is a bit more complicated. Here are six reasons why:

The application connecting to the API must have the ability to connect to APIs baked into its functionality.  But it’s worse than that because APIs are not standard, which means that your application needs to be able to hook up to the specific API that you want to connect to, not just some generic API hookup capabilities. This nearly always means that you need custom code to perform the API hookup.

APIs cannot call each other. You need what is called an execution layer to shuttle the data from one API to another. The execution layer has its own complexities and must be running at all times.

Hooking up to an API does not create management systems that include logging, monitoring, reporting, error remediation, error notification, scheduling, etc. You will want these components so you can accurately and easily manage your integration. Because integrations will break.

Change management is not always easy. One of your software pieces has an upgrade, or you change a piece of software. How do you move from one version of an API to another?  How to you introduce your own changes to data and transactions without disrupting existing code and transactions?

Application providers almost never start with good API capabilities when they build their application. For some, the application has been around for many years and  – even in the case of newer applications  – the API support is nearly always an afterthought.  They tack on API support after having built the entire application.  This means that the application is optimized around the GUI, not the API.  As a result, the API is often kludgy and difficult to use.

The technologies used to connect to APIs change over time.  Perhaps the app that you want to connect to has wonderful API support using the oData v1.0 standard.  Well, that standard is now quite outdated and moving to a newer version of oData means changes to how the API is called (sometimes dramatic changes).  Your software may not support the old data, or even if it does, then it also needs to support the new standard as soon as the application updates its API to support a newer version of the API.

If you want to dive deeper into technical points, visit our Technical Aspects web page

But if you’ve heard enough and your brain is spinning a bit, never fear.

Missing Link Technology is a provider of turnkey integrations between applications, cloud services, SAAS, websites, on-premise applications, and more. With a deep domain knowledge of manufacturing systems, we focus on integrating manufacturing enterprises, creating an integration solution that provides ease of management through complete visibility into transaction processing across systems with real-time monitoring, technical drill-down reporting capabilities and visual dashboards. Plus, we do the integration for you, freeing up time for you and your team to work on your company’s needs, not learning new APIs and interfaces.

Stop focusing on learning integration APIs and weak web interfaces. Leverage the power of turnkey integration through Missing Link Technology and turn your focus back on your business.