Application Programming Interface (API)
An Application Programming Interface (API) is usually just a few lines of software code that exposes certain commands to be enabled by another application, allowing those two applications to be integrated and to interact with each other. Because APIs have been around a while, most APIs are written in a standardized format that other software systems can understand easily, and the API becomes an intermediary to allow just about any two systems to communicate with each other and carry out commands.
A good analogy is that an API is like a translator. Similar to how two people that speak a different language need a translator, an API allows two otherwise incompatible applications to have a conversation with each other. Each application has been written in its own proprietary or open source language and needs a translator, and the API becomes that translator between the two applications.
APIs are also frequently referred to as programmable APIs, and if they are designed well, they can be used by software developers with very little code, enabling a low-code integration with just about any software application.
When it comes to mobile messaging, APIs are frequently used to connect two or more systems for the purpose of messaging automation. For example, an application that is very good at doing something specific such as CRM, helpdesk or logistics could be improved if it could be enabled to send SMS (Short Message Service) text messages to customers or employees based on certain events or triggers. Enter the communication API, which builds a bridge between the two applications and enables the specialty application to deliver SMS messages to mobile devices.
Here are a few examples of common API messaging commands:
- Send an SMS based on certain triggers or actions
- Receive an SMS
- When an SMS is received, route (send a copy of) the SMS to a specific email inbox
- Send a delivery receipt
An SMS API doesn’t need to be written in any application’s coding language, in fact it’s easier if it’s written in a common, standard coding language that an application developer can easily understand, such as REST, HTTPS, SMTP (email-to-SMS), SMPP, or WSDL.
APIs are often developed further into a plug-in, which means the API has already been written to enable certain commands between both the messaging platform and a specific application, such as Salesforce. A plug-in means the API is designed so that the two systems can begin communicating immediately with no code or software development necessary for the integration.
A robust Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) will offer a wide variety of communication messaging APIs and a sophisticated menu of commands for those APIs.
Soprano Connect offers several automation and integration APIs, including: