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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.


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.


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 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!


-Ryan and the CloudMyBiz Team


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