People are the lifeblood of every organization. All too often, volunteers and employees are overwhelmed by endless mundane tasks. One way to make your organization more efficient is through apps. Apps can be implemented to automate tasks, integrate with other apps and reduce redundancies. This cuts down on work across the board and frees your team up for tasks that are a far better use of their time and expertise.
One way apps can cut down on work is by integrating with other apps. So how do apps “talk” to each other?
An application programming interface (API) is an interface provided by an app that allows third parties to use it to extend their own functionality. In layman’s terms, it means APIs allow programmers to connect to other websites or apps to enhance their own.
- To accept credit card payments you need to integrate your site to payment gateways.
- To display your twitter feed on your website you can embed their widget or use their API to display your feed differently
- Some accounting software integrate with timesheet apps to expedite payroll
Ways to consume APIs
Widgets — The simplest type of “integration”. Essentially you’re not really doing any integration here. Widgets directly talk to the third party app and are embedded into your own app or website. There is no integration because the two apps are not talking to each other.
Built-in integrations / Apps — Some apps come with a set of pre-built integrations. These applications have these connections built-in already which means they can be enabled super easily. It also means the amount of information passed along might be limited.
Custom Development — The most flexible option. Your development team can use a third party’s API to pull and push whatever data you need.
Zapier — New platforms like Zapier allow your development team to integrate your app or website once yet connect to thousands of other apps. The reason this works is that these other apps have also integrated with the Zapier platform.