API development: 4 best practices to avoid unwanted mistakes
21 Jul 2022
January 2021 | by Marketing
Before talking about iPaaS, the scenario we are living in is the Babylon of modern software! At least, that's how my customers describe the challenge of integrating their management software with the world. They need to connect, exchange information, receive insights, negotiate and perform a variety of other tasks that link their corporate data to the new world of software services. But this world is full of monoglots from different backgrounds who cannot easily understand each other. They feel hopeless and limited in their efforts to exploit the full benefits of this rich new world of enterprise solutions.
The usual approach to integrating two different solutions requires some software development. Most integrations between two software packages are bidirectional and we need to read and write to both. Furthermore, it is unlikely that the same information will be directly mapped from one solution to another. Typically, we need to transform the data to match the properties, field names, and data types between them.
The most common solution to accomplish these tasks is to write other software that handles both sides of the integration as well as the necessary data transformations. It goes without saying that this software will require a complete software development and support approach, proper hosting, scalability and maintenance. These are painful tasks even for large companies and almost unbearable for small and medium-sized companies.
To understand how iPaaS helps companies integrate software, it's best to break the problem down into smaller components. We start with connectors that are built to handle each piece of software individually. We then move on to the data transformation required to map, enhance, or fit data across applications, and finally, we discuss the infrastructure issues addressed by iPaaS.
Connectors are pre-built components that handle all the specific aspects of communicating with any software. You should find connectors for the most popular software brands already available in any iPaaS. They contain the code to handle the connection, authentication and authorization, as well as the API provided by the software . When you create any connector, you automatically gain access to communicate with the application the connector was created for. You only need to provide credentials specific to your company. Most of the time you will need at least two connectors in your integration, one to handle each side of the integration.
However, connectors alone are not enough. It's useful to think of the connector as a language that each piece of software speaks, but we need a brain in the middle to map phrases from one language to another . Sometimes it requires simple mapping, such as linking the “name” field in one connector to the “full name” field in the other. At other times, it may be necessary to use a more sophisticated data transformation, such as joining fields, splitting, counting, or organizing data into a completely different format or structure.
Any good iPaaS solution should provide graphical interfaces to allow you to map data fields from one connector to another. Most of the time, a simple “drag and drop” will suffice. More sophisticated data transformations can be performed by some type of transformation language which can be a simple script or a more elaborate function. This is probably the only part of the integration that requires programming skills, in a very constrained environment that significantly limits complexity.
The remaining part of the integration flow is the trigger. Something must start the whole process and the trigger is the module that handles that. Typically, time triggers or webhooks are used to start the onboarding flow. We may need a process that every hour extracts data from one system and inserts it into another. This integration flow requires a simple timing trigger, a connector for each system and data mapping/transformation module.
Finally, we should mention that supporting all of the above functionality in a convenient SaaS offering is a huge plus for anyone trying to build integrations. Topics like scalability, high availability, security, and platform maintenance are well covered in any reliable iPaaS package.
2020 has seen a wave of software integrations driven primarily by remote work and a more digital way of life for individuals and businesses alike. The adoption of iPaaS solutions will certainly facilitate new integrations that add more value to corporate data. It's like a Google translator for those who live in software Babylon.
If you want to take this important step and rely on iPaaS solutions, get in touch with our team and check out how Sky.One can support your organization!
This content was produced by SkyOne's team of cloud and digital transformation experts.