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What are APIs good for?

What are APIs good for?

APIs are something that most developers will be familiar with, but for the rest of us, they sound like just another technical acronym that we either don’t understand or have never even heard of.

An API is short for Application Programmer Interface. API simply refers to the method programmers use to interface with software, and only works via software to software. API’s are open-ended and can be built to do just about anything. For example, when you buy a movie ticket online, your card info is being sent via API.

For business purposes, API’s are a great way to send data, particularly sensitive data if you encrypt it, to another business, client or partner. Developers can craft the API for just about any business use and when you connect it to the Salesforce API’s, you can send and populate data directly into your CRM.

We came across a great article on the Salesforce blog that goes into some detail about how API’s are connecting our world in all sorts of unseen ways. For anyone who wants to dive a little deeper, and better understand the technology behind the digital web that connects us, read on:

Click to learn more!

-Ryan and the CloudMyBiz Team

 


 

Want to get started with Salesforce? 

Need custom development or consulting to enhance the Salesforce you already have?

 

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What is the difference between an API, framework and middleware?

What is the difference between an API, framework and middleware?

Modern business practices mean you need to have some level of tech proficiency. Especially as a decision maker in a competitive industry, you need to be able to stay on top of the latest trends and technologies so you can keep ahead of your competitors.

If you have Salesforce, then you are already one step ahead of everyone else, because you have the most powerful and flexible CRM out there. But if you want to get the most out of Salesforce, you need to understand just what it offers. So let’s take a quick look at a more technical topic, namely: what is the difference between an API, framework, and middleware?

All of these important components of a modern business solution, and understanding what exactly they are and how they interact will help you make better decisions about what you need for your company.

API

An API is short for Application Programmer Interface. API simply refers to the method programmers use to interface with software, and only works via software to software. API’s are open-ended and can be built to do just about anything. For example, when you buy a movie ticket online, your card info is being sent via API.

For business purposes, API’s are a great way to send data, particularly sensitive data if you encrypt it, to another business, client or partner. Developers can craft the API for just about any business use and when you connect it to the Salesforce API’s, you can send and populate data directly into your CRM.

Framework

A framework is a tool or set of tools designed to solve a specific purpose or set of purposes. Frameworks use the above mentioned API’s to connect with other software, apps or separate systems.

A framework can also be thought of as a partially finished solution to a problem. The base foundation is there, and you build upon that to solve your specific needs. Salesforce itself can be used as either an out of the box solution or a framework, depending on your business needs.

Middleware

Middleware is also software that uses API’s, however, middleware is designed specifically to help isolated or separate systems interact. Mulesoft is a middleware solution recently purchased by Salesforce, whose powerful and unique code allows very complex programs to connect almost seamlessly.

A standard system, (frameworks included) is built with many layers stacked on top of each other, just as the OS, hardware, libraries, etc. Middleware works by taking slices of these layers, vertically! When done right, it provides a full or partial solution to any area within the application and can provide a much more robust connection between systems than a single or even a grouping of API’s.

So hopefully you now have a little bit better understanding the foundations that your business solution is built on!

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-Ryan and the CloudMyBiz Team

 


Want to get started with Salesforce?

Need some custom consulting or development to enhance the Salesforce you already have?

 

Contact us

Tip of the Week – Creating API Usage Notifications

Tip of the Week – Creating API Usage Notifications

Daily API limits can bring your system to a halt unexpectedly. Your Salesforce org has a feature that can help you keep track of that API data flow: API Usage Notifications.

API Usage Notifications can be quickly set up from a Salesforce settings page. Once enabled, you can you specify an administrator to receive email notifications whenever your organization exceeds a specified limit for the number of API requests made in a specified span of hours. Then, from the API notifications detail page in Salesforce, you can edit or delete notifications and see details about them, such as who is getting notified, how often, and at what thresholds.

Click here for an API Notifications Setup Guide!

-Ryan and the CMB Team

Pushing Leads to Salesforce

Pushing Leads to Salesforce

 

As a Salesforce consultant, a common question we at CloudMyBiz are asked is: How can leads from lead providers be pushed directly into Salesforce? Obviously, this solution will significantly increase efficiency, as users won’t have to manually parse lead info into the system. There are a number of options and a bit of custom development for each:

Development on the Lead Provider Side:

  1. Salesforce API (REST, SOAP) with User Authentication

   This method involves using standard Salesforce API’s to integrate. The lead provider needs to format the field mappings of their leads to conform to the client’s standard layout. A user on the lead provider side would need to write integration and authentication code for the Salesforce integration to work. Salesforce has documentation to help with this procedure.

  1. Salesforce API (REST, SOAP) with Client Side Certificate Authentication

 This method is the same as above, but the authentication key will come not from the developer, but from a trusted certificate authority. The benefit here is that less code is needed and a trusted provider will handle the authentication.

Salesforce has some basic documentation on this process:

     https://help.salesforce.com/articleView?id=000240864&type=1

Development on the Client side:

  1. Custom API (REST, SOAP) without Authentication

   This method will involve developers on the client side to write a custom API that can take the leads from many providers and map them correctly into Salesforce. This does require a force.com site to be configured, and there may be some development required on the side of the lead provider. This API will not be protected by an authentication key, so potentially, anyone could upload leads if they knew the API endpoint. This can enable leads to come in from many directions quickly and easily, but can also lead to junk data. Properly written restrictions and validations can prevent junk data. As the API is publicly exposed, it is Strongly Recommended that lead duplication checks and sanity checks be done regularly.

  1. Custom API (with authentication). Either User Authentication or Client Side Authentication

This method is the same as option 3, but with the addition of client developers creating code and formatting for authentication. The authentication is the same as listed in either option 1 or 2.

No API Option:

  1. Email services (Apex email handler)

If there is no ability or desire to connect to an API, on either the Lead Provider or the Client side, this option will allow leads to be pushed into Salesforce from an email. Developers on the client side will need to configure a Salesforce email address to receive leads, and then create an email handler that parses information from the email text or attachment into Salesforce. This option would require that all formatting remains constant for the mappings to work. There are Salesforce Apps which handle this specific sort of process.

EX: https://appexchange.salesforce.com/listingDetail?listingId=a0N3A00000EFoGaUAL

In the end, there are pros and cons for all of these options, and what you choose, all boils down to your company’s needs and what works best for you