API Explained the Easy Way!
What is an API?
No, it’s not the mouth-puckering beer you might order at your local brewery. Although I must shamefully admit I have attempted to order an API instead of an IPA, after submerging myself in Postalocity’s API world for a few months. Needless to say, the server was pretty confused.
Let’s dig in!
API stands for Application Programming Interface.
Short story, it’s a language that helps one application communicate and exchange information with another application. API’s are very commonplace these days. If you’ve ever used an online travel service to book a hotel room or you’ve purchased tickets to see your favorite band, more than likely, API’s are what made these transactions quick and convenient.
Buckle up for the long version of the story.
APIs communicate between two worlds: one is the server (the application providing the data,) and the client (the application requesting the data.) If the server can do what the client is asking it to do, the API will transmit the data. If the client asks for data that doesn’t exist or the client doesn’t have permission to access this data, the client will get an error message.
Think of it like my embarrassing story of ordering an API instead of an IPA at the pub. I asked the waitress for a specific beverage. The waitress went to the bartender with my order. At that point, the bartender would either send the waitress back with my requested beverage or send them back empty handed if they aren’t able to provide that specific beverage. The waitress, in this scenario, is the API.
The most common API commands are GET (to retrieve data), PUT (to update existing data), DELETE (to delete existing data) and POST (to do everything else, including creation of new data). Postalocity uses an “open” API as opposed to a “private” or “partner” API, and in our case, you only need to have a Postalocity account to utilize it. Postalocity accounts are free, easy to sign up for, and require no commitment or contract.
Is using an API right for you?
Some of our users integrate with Postalocity to increase efficiencies in their staff’s workflow. Instead of Jane using two separate platforms to accomplish a task, she can sit with one application that is communicating with other platforms behind the scenes.
Other users, typically software developers, have realized the enormous potential profit center Postalocity is. By integrating it with their own software, they can offer their clients the ability to send mail through their own platform and their clients are never aware of Postalocity’s existence. They control the price per piece and can offer everything Postalocity offers. Being able to connect their software with other services is a huge timesaver. APIs make it possible for them to create an all-inclusive product for their clients without building from scratch every feature their userbase might want or need.
If you’re ready to dive right in, just sign up for a Postalocity account and locate the API data in the Help dropdown menu (or just click here.)
Our tech team is fantastic and will happily answer any questions you might have. If you don’t have access to a development team to assist you with integrations, we will gladly recommend some excellent teams we’ve partnered with in the past. It’s also possible the API solution isn’t the perfect solution for your needs. We offer other forms of automation that are quick and easy to set up. Call us today and we’ll help guide you through the choices that best fit your unique needs. Click here to go straight to our API contact form.
By Nikki Stockham, Postalocity’s Client Onboarding Expert / Published NOVEMBER, 2021
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