Many of the custom web applications we build are designed to help leverage data from a client’s existing system or systems. Today, there’s existing software for almost anything.
At AxiaTP, we’re big fans of measuring value; we won’t build custom software if the same thing bought off the shelf can meet your needs.
If your business is currently using pre-packaged software to manage your data, but you need to own that data and impose your processes on top of it, we can help. The easiest way we can get to that data is with an API.
What’s an API?
An API is an Application Program Interface. Keeping it simple, it’s a software layer that allows for two or more programs to interface with one another. This means that we can programmatically control functions of an off-the-shelf solution or read/update/delete the data that is being managed by that off-the-shelf solution.
A practical example of how we leverage a powerful API would be with some of the custom web application development that we have done with Quickbooks. Several of our custom systems already contain all the individual data pieces needed to invoice clients, but rather than creating invoice reports for users to transcribe into Quickbooks, we can leverage the Quickbooks API to simply create invoices directly in the system, without any need for manual transcription at all. Imagine all of the time that saves!
When an API is Not Available
Not all systems provide us with an API layer to use. When there isn’t one to use, we still have options, but they come with more risk. In those cases, we go directly to the database and manipulate the data there.
It’s more precarious because we have to reverse engineer the pre-packaged application to make sure that we are doing all the things we should when we update the underlying data. Did you update the client on an invoice? Did you remember to update the shipping address? Should that impact the due date? It can still be done without the API, but not as seamlessly.
The Power of APIs
APIs are powerful tools and most new apps (especially SaaS apps) come equipped with a fairly robust layer. That layer also allows us to do a variety of powerful things in custom software application development, such as tying multiple systems together and removing the need for people to type data from one system to the other.
If you need help integrating your software using APIs, reach out to our team for help.