An API is a software-to-software interface that enables two applications to exchange data among each other or a software intermediary that allows two applications to communicate with each other and share data among each other.
API shows how two applications interact with each other. An API makes it easier to develop a program by providing all the building blocks, and at the end, the developer put all the blocks together to form an API.
- Whats app messaging application integrates Google maps to share the live location of a user to another user.
- Facebook wall feeds enable the customers to display the post from their different facebook pages on the webstore.
- ABC website integrates Youtube. So that the users on ABC can watch Youtube videos without leaving the actual website.
It’s very hard nowadays to move around the technology without getting jounced into some reference to the API’s.
In simple terms, API’s are defined set of rules which govern how one application communicates with other applications.
Opencart is one such CMS that, principally, makes ecommerce web development easier and profound.
But the thing is, exchanging and fetching of data between the platform, web server, database and frontend are simple and direct in case of the web application as they all are part of same software components.
But this is not in the case of mobile applications, as to exchange data with the database in case of a mobile app is not direct, the exchange takes place via a bridge called API.
So to create an app from the same database as the ecommerce website, API developers have to develop a number of APIs.
API’s make it possible for Hyperlocal applications like Zomato, Food panda to fetch the location of the customer to deliver the food and for the Uber to get the pickup & drop location of the customer just by using the services of tech giant Google.
Now if we are talking about API’s in eCommerce then If you are having an Opencart eCommerce marketplace and wants to have the marketplace like features & functionalities on other applications too like on a mobile application or ERP.
So for that, you can go with Opencart Marketplace Web Services API Module which uses REST API by which you can use functions of Opencart Marketplace in other applications like mobile applications and ERP.
It will allow the developer to implement many functionalities of Opencart Marketplace like seller dashboard, seller orders etc to another platform like Android and iOS.
After implementing the API of Opencart Marketplace, the store owner can manage their store from other applications like from their mobile, POS & through the ERP.
API’s are responsible for creating connectivity & for establishing a communication channel between an eCommerce web store and its native eCommerce mobile application.
API’s perform all the functionalities by exposing some of the program internal functions to the outside world in a limited manner that is what makes applications to share data among each other without requiring to share all the app code.
With the help of GUI (Graphical User Interface ), it becomes quite easy for people to use the programs, just like this with the help of Application programming interface it becomes easy for the developers to use certain technologies in building applications.
API works on the abstraction method, i.e. hiding the implementation Opencart API Development | Webkul Marketplace blogdetails of the programming and exposing the actions and objects which developer only need.
The words “web services” mean using online services like internet surfing, but for the technical people like developers, it has some different meaning.
Overall we can define web services that tell us how communication is done between two applications or devices over the World Wide Web (WWW).
There are two types of communication methods namely Simple Object Access Protocol or SOAP, and Representational State Transfer or REST.
Let us discuss them one by one.
SOAP is a standard communication protocol system that allows the program running on the different operating system such as ( Linux and Windows ) to communicate using Hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) and its XML
SOAP uses the XML based messaging data format that is used by the web service-enabled applications to communicate with each other over the web. Usually, the web environment needs applications to support common messaging format & data encoding protocol.
SOAP is a standard protocol for encoding text in XML that invoke different functions in other applications. It is completely language independent that means it can be used to communicate between two applications developed in different languages.
SOAP the server response format or the output format is WSDL i.e is the advanced form of XML
But has different levels of programming language support that is, it works absolutely fine between Java & .NET but not as between Python & PHP.
SOAP has the ability to use different transport protocols like HTTP, SMTP over which the applications can transfer data among each other.
REST is an architectural style rather than a protocol of the web services that basically work as a channel of communication between computers working on the internet & the API’s that are backed by this kind of architectural style is called as REST API’s.
Or more concisely we can say, Web service APIs that adhere to the REST architectural constraints are called RESTful APIs
REST-based APIs are more popular nowadays. Which are supported by HTTP standard, that means it can be fetched and managed by URL and return JSON which is easy to render on any interface – web or mobile.
REST APIs allows CRUD (Create, read, update and delete) operations to be executed on a server via simple HTTP requests. Because of this, REST is seen as an alternative to the more-complex SOAP API.
All of our native mobile applications and headless development uses REST-based API’s. Also not limited to those are using REST API’s in web/eCommerce development and PIM development as well.
The core concept of REST is the resource ( A resource in REST is similar to Object in Object Oriented Programming or is like an Entity in a Database ) where a resource can be an image, text file, HTML Pages etc.
REST uses various types of representations to represent a resource i.e. Text, JSON, XML. But the most popular were XML and JSON data formats used by the REST.
A document format as a resource is dynamically exchanged between client and server using the request/response pattern implemented in web applications.
One client may ask the document in XML representation while other in JSON. Thus, the transfer of a document between client and server is the main focus of REST.
If you are curious how to integrate REST API in Opencart web application you can follow this link here.
Yes, we can use both the types to create a responsive ecommerce mobile app. Both the APIs can be used to perform distinct tasks
. If we are talking about using REST API so it can be deployed for performing functions like browsing through the application, adding products to wishlist, cart for doing chat among seller & customers and much more.
And if we are talking about SOAP usage, so we can use it making payment transactions as authorization and the layers of security are far more complex with SOAP compared to REST API.
GraphQL is a query language for the API’s. In short, GraphQL can be stated as is a modern way to fetch data from API calls. It is basically called as a modern way of consuming APIs because it works on HTTP as REST works.
GraphQL is a query language for APIs and also a server-side runtime environment for executing queries by using a set of rules you define for your data. with your existing data. The client asks for various data from the GraphQL server via queries.
GraphQL provides a complete and understandable description of the data in your API. A GraphQL query returns data in a specified format usually in form of a JSON string as fetched from the server end.
Gives your clients the power to ask for exactly what they are exactly looking for, makes it easier to evolve APIs over time.
GraphQL was developed with a concept in mind that a client requests only the desired set of items from the server in a single request.
GraphQL takes up data automatically from the database. And user just needs to define the name of the database from which GraphQL needs to pick up the data like from (MySQL, Oracle etc.).
Also, there is no need for the user to have knowledge of different databases only he should know about how to work with GraphQL to built web applications.
GraphQL basically enables the declarative fetching up of data which helps you to specifically fetch the exact data you need from the server with the help of API.
Instead of fetching multiple data on an API request, GraphQL only exposes the specific fetch result which lets you navigate a graph of related data, or fetch resources directly by their ID.
GraphQL helps your applications to work stable and also speed up their performance.
But by using the REST which assembles all the data at one place requires multiple times to fetch data from the server, results in slowing down the application and makes it unresponsive.
Fetching multiple data on every API call, not only makes the application slow to use also eats up the data plan of the customer.
In order to take advantages of all offers and buying products from an eCommerce website, one must have to register on the same. For this, the customer can register on the inbuilt registration feature of the website or can use an API for the same.
And this is one more example where the eCommerce website is using the API in order to make the customer login authentication on the website by using their respective social account.
Facebook’s API allows their own users to post content to their Timelines from third-party mobile applications they’re using. This function has enabled many apps to grow their user database very quickly.
Like Facebook, Twitter has an API that can also be used by third-party mobile applications to identify their users on sign up and to enable users to post content easily from an app to their Twitter or a Facebook account like sharing best offers & exclusive deals from an eCommerce application with friends.
The big tech giant Google is also very popular in providing their API’s for mapping and location-based services.
Some of the mobile applications have mapping as the essential feature like Opencart Marketplace Mobile App which is using the API to fetch the seller store location which helps the customer, in turn, to purchase products from the nearby seller.
In short, APIs enable apps to interact with each other. They can enhance the user experience and might even help fuel the popularity of your app.
As we know that API is everywhere & its impossible nowadays to built any technology without the use of any API’s. You can find various examples of API’s which we have integrated with our Add-ons & Mobile applications.
-> We have developed Add-ons like Opencart Social Tab & Opencart Social Login etc which can be easily customized with your opencart store which uses social network API’s like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google & Twitter.
The Social Login Functionality can be introduced into the Opencart Multivendor Mobile application also the mentioned Social networking API based approach.
In order to provide you, social network feeds on your eCommerce store & give access to log-in on the website by using Social account id.
The Site search API can help your customers to search their desired product of a particular brand, type from the vast array of products & categories. Our Add-on like Opencart Advanced Search uses Rest API in order to help your store customers to search for their desired products at an instant.
For your opencart store, you can use our Payment extensions like Paypal, Stripe, Mercado Pago, Brain tree and many more which are using their respective API in order to ensure your site has a fully functional payment processing system.
You can take a look at our all Payment extensions for Opencart Platform Here.
We also provide one free payment gateway integration with our Opencart Multivendor Mobile Application.
The modules respective API’s integrates a shipping feature directly to your Opencart store like Rates are automatically calculated, labels are created, and tracking numbers are generated etc.
The Shipping Functionality can be introduced into the Opencart Multivendor Mobile application also, with the help of mentioned shipping gateways API based approach.
You just need to create accounts on Amazon & eBay get the API details from there and paste it in your opencart website. Here the Amazon & eBay API’s came into effect.
We have developed Add-ons like Opencart ElasticSearch in which Elasticsearch engine can be easily integrated with your OpenCart web store.
ElasticSearch API helps the customers to store, search, and analyze big volumes of data very quickly. It is the fastest search engine that returns the results of the entered query in real time.
The cart API is an essential eCommerce API that allows sellers to peek into their customers shopping carts. These usually include usage of discounts, coupons, and even B2B-centric features, like invoicing and quote generation.
In order to get more information on how to use cart API’s in Opencart, you can follow the link here.
Need for Headless and Micro-services in eCommerce
In traditional application architectures, the entire components, operations, and functions of an app are tightly packed together which makes it difficult for the performance of the application, as if one unit of the system faces a bug the entire system will face the consequences.
This is where Headless architecture comes into play, Headless architecture is nothing but a paradigm which states that every component or a function of the complex app should be processed as an individual building unit, and the building unit is called a microService.
Microservice architecture- is an architectural style that strategically structures an application as a collection of small independent services, which can be independently deployable organized around a business domain.
To know further regarding about the benefits of using Headless & Microservices in eCommerce you can follow this link.