API 101 for Businesses

What is an API?

API stands for Application Programming Interface. It is a way for applications, websites, or embedded devices to communicate with each other and share information.

When should you consider providing an API for your website or product?

Would your customers benefit from having your data on their own website or available on their intranet? Do your customers need tight control over which of their employees or their customers have access to the data and/or content that your website provides?

Would your customers benefit from formatting and/or displaying the information that your website offers differently than your website formats and/or displays it?

Do you want to provide your customers with the ability to resell and/or re-brand your content? An API can be a valuable tool for creating affiliate relationships that will help you find others willing to market your content for you.

What are some of the benefits of using an API?

  • Ease of Access – Your customers decide how their employees or customers will access the information. They have the power to tailor the experience to their specific needs.
  • Single Sign On (SSO) – User access control does not have to be your problem any longer. Your customers can pay you for the API access and then can provide that access to their users however they see fit.
  • Integrated Content – Content from your site can be integrated with other relevant content to create a mashup site.
  • Content Control – Your API customers can choose what content is displayed and how it is displayed. If you provide some information that they do not want their employees to see, they can hide it. If the API customer wants to display the information in a different structure to make it easier to use, they have the ability.
  • Security – Since the API customer can control the user access to the data on their side, it reduces the security concerns on yours. An API is easier to protect than a site with users as users tend to share passwords. Sharing an API key is uncommon and easier to track than it is to track shared passwords.
  • Reporting – With more control comes the ability to generate reports on usage or several other metrics. Your customers can know what their employees or customers are accessing and when they are accessing it.

What do you need to use an API?

An API can be integrated into any site, intranet, network, or other resource your customers are currently using. Your customers can also create a new resource tailored to how they would like to access the information your API provides.

What Experience does Whiteboard-IT have developing APIs?

Whiteboard-IT recently developed an API for The Compliance Store. The Compliance Store customers benefit greatly from this API. It provides clinicians and nurses with easier access to the information, and administrators with better metrics for the use of the information. The Compliance Store API succeeds in providing a valuable service to the healthcare industry.

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