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An API is a software interface that allows software systems to interact with each other and automate data exchange.

What is an API?

An API, short for Application Programming Interface, is a tool that enables communication and data exchange between different software systems.

Whenever you use an app like Facebook or check the weather on your smartphone, you are using an API.

When you use an app on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, the app connects to the internet and sends data to a server.

The server then retrieves this data, interprets it, performs the necessary actions, and sends it back to your device (computer, tablet, smartphone). Subsequently, the app interprets the data and presents you with the desired information in a readable manner.

APIs come in various types, each designed with specific purposes and characteristics. The most common types include RESTful API, SOAP API, and GraphQL API. These different types of APIs use various methods for data exchange and are used in different scenarios depending on the need for integration and automation.

By using APIs, your business can automate and customize data processes between systems, ensuring more efficient and error-free operations.

What is the difference between API and webhooks?

Despite many similarities, APIs and webhooks are not the same. Both technologies are used to exchange data between systems, but they differ in the way data is exchanged.

An API is request-based, meaning that when data needs to be exchanged between systems, you must actively ask the API to exchange data—and this is called an API call. Nothing happens automatically; you must directly request the desired information or actions before the API responds and carry out the task.

Webhooks, on the other hand, are event-based, meaning that a webhook itself exchanges data when certain criteria are met or scenarios occur. That is, when a specific event happens in a system, it triggers a webhook, which sends data or a notification to another application or system.

The main difference lies in how data requests are initiated and handled. APIs require an active request to fetch or send data, whereas webhooks are automatically triggered by system events, making them ideal for real-time updates.

Why use an API?

There are many advantages to using an API.

It is a tool that allows you to utilize functions in other programs in conjunction with your system, streamlining how different technologies can work together, thereby eliminating manual processes.

What particularly makes APIs a useful tool is that when you use APIs, you can ease your work processes because you no longer have to manually transfer data from one system to another. This can be particularly useful when using an API in many contexts, such as freight handling, order import, etc.

An API solution typically offers more options to customize solutions that fit your needs. For example, if a system does not offer integration to your webshop platform, then you or your developer, if the system has a public API, can code a solution yourself.

By implementing APIs in your business, you achieve not only an optimization of your internal work processes but also improve the customer experience. APIs allow for efficient data exchange and adaptation to new technologies, which enhances your competitiveness.

What is a multicarrier API?

A multicarrier API allows for the handling of shipments across various carriers in a streamlined manner.

It works by the API collecting information and functions from different external systems, such as PostNord or Bring. Then, the API translates this information into a format that your system can understand and utilize.

For example, Shipmondo’s API acts as a central link between your business’s logistical needs and the various services these carriers offer. This eliminates the need for manual handling, streamlining the entire shipping process.

The biggest advantage of using a multicarrier API is the time savings and increased efficiency. Automating the collection and processing of shipping information ensures that your business’s website always has access to the latest and most accurate shipping information.

It also ensures that the information is adapted to the different carriers. This adaptation is especially important when it comes to generating shipping labels, as APIs follow different standards, reducing the risk of errors that can occur with manual data handling.

In this way, you can ensure that each package is sent following each carrier’s specifications, completely without manual intervention.

Build your own integration solution with Shipmondo’s API

If you have your own system but want to use some of Shipmondo’s features, you can advantageously create your own customized solution with Shipmondo’s API.

At Shipmondo, we have developed our RESTful API that simplifies, centralizes, and consolidates the entire shipping process. We combine all functionality into one system and automate manual processes, saving you time and money on daily logistical challenges.

With the Shipmondo API, you can build the exact shipping process you need—from simple shipping drafts to complex shipping solutions.

For example, companies like Curvii and Myselfie have already taken advantage of Shipmondo’s API to develop customized solutions.

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