Web Application Programming Interfaces (aka web APIs) are among developer must-haves, enabling the fast integration of different software applications, the automation of repetitive tasks, and increasing scalability to access and process large amounts of data.
But modern web APIs are often considered to be too complex to set up and use, and reserved only for expert software programmers.
My job in Rulex is to make technical concepts accessible to all users, including web API documentation, so I had a chat with one of Rulex’s API developers, @Luca Paganin, to gain some down-to-earth shareable insight into when and how APIs are used in Rulex, and how they can help businesses.
Let's start with the basics:
what do web APIs offer to enterprises from a business perspective?
First things first, with web APIs you can perform operations without opening the user interface. This might not seem particularly mind-blowing, but it brings many important advantages, especially for large companies, which need to perform many daily operations on a lot of data.
Among these benefits, two of them play a key role:
- Automation: you can trigger operations to run without human intervention, which can really speed things up.
- Scalability: you can schedule operations to run at any time of day or night, which is particularly important in multinational companies that cross multiple time zones.
These two important characteristics are strictly related: automation leads to scalability, so once the automation is set, there is no need for a physical user to launch computations on scheduled days and times.
Can you give me some real-life examples?
Some of our largest customers are multinational giants working on huge amounts of data. They need to automate all their processes to run frequently, so they can handle multiple operations to optimize the business process.
But let me give you a specific example of a smaller client.
This client had to run a business process every 8 hours to guarantee a service to their clients, bank holidays and weekends included. Initially, it was the only process they had to manage. But as the company grew, the number of services and processes increased, each one with a slightly different scheduling frequency - some ran only during weekends, others once a month.
It was becoming increasingly difficult to deal with them all 24/7 (including holidays), and the company was spending more and more in overtime. They implemented web APIs to run these processes for them and drastically lowered the stress levels of many of their employees!
What type of APIs are used in Rulex Platform?
There are lots of different kinds of APIs, such as Webhooks, SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), and RPC (Remote Procedure Calls), but in Rulex we use REST APIs because they’re simple, lightweight, and easy to integrate. They’re also the most widely used APIs.
Our REST APIs are used to send API requests to Rulex Platform to either perform operations or retrieve information. These operations are generally grouped into a rather unfortunately named collection of operations, called CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete).
These CRUD operations are performed on Rulex Platform resources, which may be environments, file sources, flows, vaults, etc. For example, you can schedule the computation of a flow, which automatically returns updated client data via e-mail to business users.
This sort of automation is very important when optimizing processes, as business experts can align strategy with constantly updated results, without opening the software interface or even needing to know how to use it.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about web APIs?
Well, there is an extremely important aspect we haven’t really touched on.
Web APIs enable developers to open a gateway to other software applications, which is an enormous starting hurdle for so many organizations with many different software tools, which have to somehow interact and exchange data.
Rulex Platform is really agile with data. We can collect and blend data from any source, perform any analysis and optimization operations our clients need, and export the results as and how they prefer. Web APIs break down all data barriers, making this possible wherever the data is stored!
That’s what I love about my job: developing APIs that enable our clients to integrate Rulex Platform into their current systems. After the project is fully developed, it is rewarding to see how the implementation of APIs has had such a positive impact on businesses.
Rulex Platform APIs are available in the Factory Enterprise license.
To find out more about the available licenses and pricing, check out the Pricing page.