API Services – Introduction – You might have heard of APIs and might even already know the exact meaning and purpose of it. In that case, you might be a bit bored in this article but please keep an eye out for the next articles in this series of API Services where API Services will be discussed in more detail. For example, we will discuss how to build APIs with Talend API Designer and Studio, how to configure AWS to host and deploy APIs there and how to manage and secure APIs through Apigee.

The world before APIs 

For those who are interested in being introduced to the world of APIs: stay tuned, we will first cover some background information. The more classic predecessors of APIs are Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)which are still used in many businesses to keep their core functionality up and running. These were used often to have Application Integration between either internal applications or external, for example a system that is in use by your supplier. While ESB is mostly known for its queuing functionality, where messages are being sent to a message broker that orchestrates the messages, EDI is better known for interchanging business information using a standardized format. 


APIs are similar to ESB and EDI, as they also allow people, machines, applications, algorithms and more to interchange (business) information and data. For example, a person can use a weather API to consume the weather information for this week in a specific location. Another example is an online customer portal that needs to show data to a user that is logged in based on the authorization the user has. This can trigger an API request that gives the customer portal the needed information in the API response. 

The most used format for an API is the REST API. REST stands for Representational state transfer and this is a software architecture that is accepted worldwide. Besides the architecture you will see that the format of the message itself is mostly in JSONwhich is a standardized message format also accepted and used worldwide. Another also often used format is XML, this similar treeshaped structure can also be used to format an API-response. 

One of the big advantages of using APIs is that the user will never access your backend system directly. This separates the service that provides the data from the program the consumer sees and helps to uniform the interaction with your data. This means less manual customization for each customer on your backend system because there is only one way of getting the data and that is by using the welldocumented APIs your company provides to the world. 

Companies all around the world have different strategies when it comes to APIs. Some let consumers access their APIs for free and without any form of registration. Others only allow trusted and registered consumers to access their APIs. And there are also companies who only use APIs internally, so data exchange between for example their internal HR system and a payroll application. 

Data Monetization 

All this data that companies are processing has value. This data can be turned into revenue by providing it to your customers as a service. For example, warehousing companies may provide their customers with information about stock keeping-optimizationretailers may provide their supplying manufacturers with general customer characteristics in order to optimize their marketing. The process of using the data your company has and converting it into one of your revenue streams is called Data Monetization. Data that would normally just sit in your ever-growing data warehouse or data lake is worth more than you could ever dream. Companies have seen their revenue grow by simply monetizing their data with the help of APIs. Why with APIs? Because it is a scalable and secure way of sharing your data with consumers, whether they are peoplesystems, or applications. 

Interested in how APIs are being used within companies and how to develop, deploymanage, and secure them? Or just curious to discuss the potential of your data? Keep posted for the next in the API Services series or contact us!