Application programming interfaces (API’s) are proliferating across the Internet, becoming the standard format by which information is traded.
ProgrammableWeb.com keeps count of new and existing API’s, currently cataloging around 8,900 and growing.
For those that don’t know really know what an API is, it’s simply an interface (not a graphical user interface) that allows a websites to send to data to-and-from other third party systems or websites. When you’re viewing a news feed or writing a Facebook comment on a site other than Facebook, an API is moving that data across the Internet behind the scenes.
Twitter, Evernote, YouTube and Google Maps rely heavily on API’s to exchange information and handle interaction from users on other websites. Salesforce.com charges money for access to certain functions of its API, creating a premium for the ability to exchange data with its system. Entire businesses like Apigee and Mashery exist for the sole purpose of helping organizations release, manage and document API’s. Clearly, the API format is driving revenue and productivity.
At Mediacurrent, we’re finding more and more of our customers wanting to inject operational efficiency using API's. Drupal's plug-and-play architecture and availability of community modules centered around web services make it a natural fit for building an API. Several examples of projects involving Drupal and API's include:
- Filemaker and Drupal using the Services module
- A service that integrates the Drupal Voting API for Gospel Music Channel’s Most Powerful Voices Contest, allowing votes to be submitted to the website via an iOS app
- User account duplication across multiple websites - users create an account on an e-commerce site and it triggers account creation in Drupal
Implementing the Services module allows Drupal to not only be used as a CMS, but also as a communication hub that handles inbound/outbound messaging and operational workflow between third party systems.
If you would like guidance on using API’s to help impact your business, feel free to contact us. Also, below are some additional resources that can help.