API Source Connectors: 3 Comprehensive Aspects

By: Published: June 4, 2021

API Source | Hevo Data

Different organizations will always need to communicate with each other and exchange data. Even within an organization, the interaction between systems is inevitable. Employees will need to transfer data from one system to another. Some organizations face challenges when they need to exchange data among themselves or between systems within the same organization. This is normally caused by the lack of a mechanism by which this can be done.

This is where API Source Connectors come into the picture, to help you simplify the transformation process and exchange data with multiple systems. API Source Connectors facilitate integration and interaction between software components and platforms. This shows that APIs form an important part of communication, integration, and exchange of data.

In this article, you will get a comprehensive guide on working with API Source Connectors. You will also be introduced to API Sources, understand the importance they have on an organization and understand the valuable stakeholders involved in the data transfer process. Furthermore, some limitations of API Sources will also be covered. Read along how you can use these innovative APIs to transfer your data among multiple sources for your organization.

Table of Contents

What is API Source Connectors?

An API is a set of protocols for developing software applications. It specifies how different platforms or components of a platform should interact. To use an API Source, the programmer calls it and passes the required inputs to it. The API performs the necessary services and returns results to the caller. 

This means that the user doesn’t need to know the internal structure or components of the system they need to access, but they only need to know and have access to the API for the system that they need to access. The process of establishing connections between systems via APIs can be time-consuming. Large systems, such as E-Commerce platforms will require integration with multiple external APIs, for example, a shipping platform, a payment gateway, a content management system, an inventory platform, etc.

Integration with such a high number of APIs can be a difficult task, hence, careful planning over a long period may be needed. Note that some APIs are internal to a company while others are public. It is also worth noting that some websites provide APIs that can be used to access some or all of their components while others don’t.

What is the Importance of API Source Connectors?

API Source Connectors make it possible for the current application functions and data to be leveraged by other applications and systems. For example, a company can use an API to make data stored in its database available to other systems within the company. Before the invention of APIs, only locally used or isolated resources could be made available to the other systems.

The more a company is integrated internally and the more it integrates different applications via APIs, the more comprehensive and accurate information it obtains. For example, it can know more about itself and its customers. This can give the company a competitive advantage. 

Other than internal networking, API connectors can open a door to the world for a company to innovate, come up with new business models, and benefit from their digital transformation. Many companies are providing API connectors to their customers, suppliers, and other partners to help them access information. APIs also allow this information to be implemented directly in other systems where users can access it in real-time. 

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Stakeholders of API Management

API management refers to the process of regulating, managing, monitoring, and securing API Source Connectors in a well-protected environment. It helps a user to manage the high number of APIs, both internal and external, provided by a company. The role of professional API management is to address the needs of API stakeholders, that is, API developers, API publishers, API consumers, and App developers. The details of these stakeholders are given below.

  • API Publisher: This is the company or department that provides others with APIs. It also takes the responsibility of administering and monitoring the daily usage of APIs. 
  • API Developer: The person who develops the APIs and API Source Connectors.
  • App Developer: The person who integrates the API built by the API developer and maintained by the API publisher with his app.  
  • API Consumer: A person who uses the API without developing or integrating it with their app. For example, a marketing team that uses Facebook API to analyze user reactions on social media. 

This means that API management serves all stakeholders either directly or indirectly. So, organizations should monitor and manage APIs accordingly.  All the stakeholders involved in API Management are depicted in the below figure.

Note that unmanaged APIs are not secure and users cannot use them efficiently. They also have a low acceptance rate. If APIs are not managed properly, they put both systems and applications at risk. So, unmanaged APIs are the major cause of business vulnerability and they make businesses incur huge costs. 

A high number of APIs and a larger user base helps in the management of APIs because it gives a holistic view of managing APIs. The whole process from the design, development, and release of an API is known as the API Life Cycle. The API life cycle should be managed and documented and the documentation should be made available to all API stakeholders. This will make it easy for all stakeholders to work with APIs and ensure that the necessary measures are put into place. 

What are the Limitations of API Source Connectors?

Although API Source Connectors offer businesses great benefits, their disadvantages should not be forgotten. The following are the challenges associated with the use of API Source Connectors for the integration and exchange of data between systems and applications:

  • Security: API Source Connectors are prone to security challenges. They provide a single point of entry, hence, they become primary targets for hackers. If hackers manage to compromise an API, all other systems in the organizations will become vulnerable. 
  • Complexity: The process of developing, using, and managing API Source Connectors is too technical. This means that enterprises may be forced to employ or hire the services of skilled personnel. The enterprise will thus incur extra costs. 
  • Real-time Transfer: Not all API Source Connectors allow for the transfer of data from one system to another in real-time. 

Despite these limitations, API Source Connectors have gained popularity over many years and have proved to be an asset for any organization.

Conclusion

This article gave a comprehensive guide on working with API Source Connectors. It also gave a brief introduction to API Source Connectors and explained their importance to organizations. It also explained the stakeholders of API Management and addressed some limitations of API Source Connectors. Overall, API Source Connectors are an excellent way for companies to transfer data among multiple data sources. Although it has some security and complexity issues, once they are solved, it lays a solid foundation for your organization.

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Share your experience of learning about Working With API Source Connectors in the comments section below.

Nicholas Samuel
Freelance Technical Content Writer, Hevo Data

Skilled in freelance writing within the data industry, Nicholas is passionate about unraveling the complexities of data integration and data analysis through informative content for those delving deeper into these subjects. He has written more than 150+ blogs on databases, processes, and tutorials that help data practitioners solve their day-to-day problems.

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