Connect REST API to Salesforce: Loading & Querying Data Simplified 101

on API, CRMs, Data Engineering, REST API, Salesforce • October 22nd, 2021 • Write for Hevo

Manually tracking Sales-Based Leads and Collecting data from Customer Interactions, Social Media, Emails, etc. can be a tedious task, especially if your customer base is growing exponentially. To overcome this hurdle, you can use Automated CRM Platforms like Salesforce. REST API is an API that follows a set of rules for an application and services to communicate with each other. REST API to Salesforce connection is used in accessing Salesforce data without the use of the actual tool.

Marc Benioff founded Salesforce.com in 1999, and today, Salesforce is one of the most dominant software on the planet. Salesforce is a Cloud-Based “Customer Relationship Management” (CRM) software. It provides a full-fledged Customer Relationship Management solution to businesses without spending much effort on building one. Salesforce’s services allow businesses to use Cloud Technology to better connect with clients, customers, and partners.

In this article, you will gain information about REST API to Salesforce Integration. You will also gain a holistic understanding of API, REST API, Salesforce, its key features, and the steps involved in connecting REST API to Salesforce. Read along to find out in-depth information about REST API to Salesforce Integration.

Table of Contents

Introduction to API

REST API to Salesforce- API
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API stands for ‘Application Programming Interface.’ It is a set of rules that facilitate communication between two applications, allowing developers to build interactive and scalable applications. With APIs, developers can save time by taking advantage of a platform’s implementation and reducing the amount of code. APIs also help create more consistency across apps for the same platform. 

APIs are like a contract between the program’s requester (the client) and the responder (aka the server). If a requester sends X to a responder, the responder will give the requester Y. Both X and Y will be explained in the documentation for the API and specified in the contract between the two parties.

APIs can be used to create programs like a library (e.g., Python API), an Operating System, or a web server (a web API). One key advantage of an API is that developers or requesters don’t need to know the inner workings of the software. Instead, they only have to provide data to the client, enabling services using different technologies to communicate in a standard way.

Introduction to REST API

REST API to Salesforce - REST API Logo
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REST API stands for Representational State Transfer, which presents some constraints of the REST architecture style. It is an architectural style for designing networked applications (i.e., apps that use a network to communicate). An HTTP request is used to access and use the data with commands such as PUT, GET, DELETE, POST, etc. 

A REST API, basically defines how different applications communicate over HTTP.  These different components remain loosely coupled and the transfer of information is fast and carried out efficiently. Since data formats aren’t defined, it serves a more diverse purpose and is easier to develop. Thus, REST APIs are a popular choice among web developers and have emerged as the standard protocol for web-based APIs.

For further information on REST API, you can visit here.

The REST architecture can be understood as follows:

REST API to Salesforce - REST API Architecture
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Methods of REST API

REST guidelines recommend using a specific HTTP method on a particular type of call made to the server. These HTTP methods are as follows:

1) GET

You can use the HTTP GET method to read (or retrieve) a resource representation. GET returns a representation in JSON or XML format in the safe path and an HTTP response code of 200 (OK). It most often returns a 400 (BAD REQUEST) or 404 (NOT FOUND) in an error case. 

2) POST

The POST verb is most often used for creating new resources. In particular, developers use it to create subordinate resources. On successful creation, POST returns HTTP status 201, returning a Location header with a link to the newly created resource.

3) PUT

PUT method can be used for updating the capabilities. However, you can also use PUT to create a resource where a client chooses the resource ID instead of the server.

4) PATCH

You can use the PATCH method to modify capabilities. The PATCH request only needs to contain the changes to the resource, not the complete resource. This resembles PUT, but the body has a set of instructions describing how you should modify a resource currently residing on the server to produce a new version.

5) DELETE

You can use the DELETE method to delete a resource identified by a URL. 

Introduction to Salesforce

REST API to Salesforce - REST API to Salesforce
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Salesforce is a Cloud-based Customer Relationship Management Platform that offers easy-to-use business applications that can help build an amazing customer experience. Salesforce is a tool that you can use to stay connected with Customers, Prospects, Partners, Sales, and Market Services worldwide. Salesforce Cloud CRM software and applications are used for Sales, Services, Finance, Marketing, Business Development, Supply Chain Management, and other business verticals that involve external and internal relationships.

It allows the user to store information of existing customers and prospects under a single platform. In addition, it enables the user to monitor Sales and Marketing Campaigns using the valuable insights available. It is a complete solution for companies that want to easily manage customer data from various platforms such as Email, Chat, and Social Media. 

For further information on Salesforce, you can follow the Official Documentation.

Key Features of Salesforce

Some of the key features of Salesforce are as follows:

1) Simplified Account Management

Salesforce enables companies to have a holistic view of their customers. It allows you to always have access to the Activity History, Customer Communication, Important Contacts, Internal Account Discussions, etc.

2) Lead Management

Salesforce enables companies to track their Leads and continuously optimize their Campaigns across all channels so that they can make data-driven decisions.

3) Sales Data

With Salesforce, companies can get easy access to the Sales Data in real-time which can be used to connect with Leads and increase Marketing productivity.

4) Reports and Dashboards

Salesforce Dashboards provide a real-time and intuitive view of your business performance. It enables companies to view detailed reports that can be seamlessly accessed by any of the team members.

5) File Sync and Sharing

Salesforce gives companies the ability to easily share files, discuss them with the entire team, and track its content in real-time. Users can also use the Quick Search option to search a specific section of the content.

6) Workflow and Approvals

With Salesforce Visual Workflow, companies can quickly design and automate all business processes by leveraging the drag-and-drop functionality that can be used to drive success with flexible approval processes for Expenses, Customer Discounts, Trial Periods, and more.

Versions of Salesforce

There are 2 versions of Salesforce Accounts for the customers. These are:

1) Salesforce Lightning

Salesforce Lightning is a Component-based Framework for App Development from Salesforce.com that is intended to ease procedures for business users who do not normally have programming knowledge. Lightning contains the Lightning Component Framework as well as other fascinating development tools. Lightning simplifies the development of responsive applications for any device.

Lightning incorporates these technologies:

  • Lightning components help to speed app development and performance. It also helps to build custom components that other developers and administrators may reuse to personalize Lightning Experience and the Salesforce mobile app.
  • Lightning App Builder enables administrators to build Lightning pages visually, without coding, by combining off-the-shelf and custom-built Lightning components. You can make your Lightning components available in the Lightning App Builder so that administrators may create customized user interfaces without having to write code.
  • Using Lightning templates and components, Experience Builder enables administrators to visually construct communities without coding. You can make your Lightning components available in Experience Builder so that administrators may build community sites without having to write code.

2) Salesforce Classic

Prior to the release of Lightning Experience, Salesforce Classic was the face of the world’s leading CRM platform. However, the UI now appears to be outdated due to its text-centricity, a large amount of unused space, and few graphical components presented in low resolution. As a result, new users struggle to navigate the Classic UI and achieve success with Salesforce implementation.

Salesforce Classic was designed solely for data entry and record-keeping, i.e., fetching records, updating them, and saving them back to the cloud.

Ways to Connect REST API to Salesforce

Method 1: Connecting REST API to Salesforce using OAuth

REST API can be connected to Salesforce by enabling by creating a connected app and then enabling OAuth. You need to have a developer version of the Salesforce account in order to proceed with setting up the connection of REST API to Salesforce.

Method 2: Connecting REST API to Salesforce using Hevo Activate

Hevo Activate provides a hassle-free solution and helps you directly set up REST API to Salesforce Integration without any intervention in an effortless manner. Hevo Activate is fully managed and completely automates the process of not only loading data from your desired source but also enriching the data and transforming it into an analysis-ready form without having to write a single line of code. Hevo’s pre-built integration with various data sources such as REST API to Salesforce for free etc. will take full charge of the data transfer process, allowing you to focus on key business activities.

Get Started with Hevo for Free

Connecting REST API to Salesforce

The REST API is one of several web interfaces that can be used for accessing Salesforce data without using the Salesforce user interface. With API Access, you can perform operations and connect Salesforce into your applications as per your need.

You can leverage REST API tools to create, manipulate, and search data in Salesforce by sending HTTP requests to endpoints in Salesforce.  Depending on where you send requests, you can access and operate on various kinds of information known as resources. Resources include Records, query results, metadata, and many more.

Methods for Connecting REST API to Salesforce

There are multiple methods for connecting REST API to Salesforce.

Method 1: Connecting REST API to Salesforce using OAuth

The steps involved in connecting REST API to Salesforce using OAuth are as follows:

Step 1: Sign up for Salesforce Developer Edition

To set up a Developer Edition org, go to developer.salesforce.com/signup and follow the instructions for creating a Developer Edition organization.

If you already have a Developer Edition organization, verify that your user profile has the API Enabled permission. This permission is enabled by default, but an administrator can modify it.

Step 2: Set Up Authorization

A connected app resembles a small application that resides on Salesforce’s infrastructure and to which you point your integration. It is responsible for managing authentication as well as routing requests to the appropriate client instances.

In the process, create a connected app in a Salesforce organization and enable OAuth. The client application connects to Salesforce via the connected app.

  • Step 1: In your Developer Edition organization, select “Setup” then click on the “Apps” option in the Quick Find box.
    • If you’re using Salesforce Lightning Experience, enter App Manager in the Quick Find box, select the “App Manager” option and then click the “New Connected App” button to create a connected app.
    • If you’re using Salesforce Classic, select the “Buildbutton, then click onCreateand theApps” option. Under Connected Apps, click the “New” option to create a connected app.
  • Step 2: In this Contact information form, enter the following details:
    • Enter a connected app name, API name, contact email, and any other required information.
  • Step 3: In the API (Enable OAuth Settings) section:
    • Select Enable OAuth Settings.
    • Enter a Callback URL. (The URL must be secure: http:// does not work, only https:// works). For example: https://www.projectname.com/api/callback
  • Step 4: Enter an OAuth scope.
  • Step 5: Under Selected OAuth Scopes:
    • Select the Access and manage your data (API) option.
    • Click the “Add” button.
  • Step 6: Select Access and manage your Chatter feed in addition to any other scope you want your connected app to allow access to.
  • Step 7: Click the “Save” button.
  • Step 8: The Consumer Key is created and displayed, and a Consumer Secret is created (click the link to reveal it).

Step 3: Connect REST API to Salesforce Using OAuth

After setting up the Authorisation and creating a connected app, you can proceed forward to this step of connecting REST API to Salesforce.

  • Step 1: Use OAuth to connect to Salesforce and get an access token.
  • Step 2: Pass the access token in requests to Connect REST API.
  • Step 3: To make a request to Salesforce, substitute values from your organization into these examples.
  • Generate the access token. This cURL command generates an access token.
curl -v https://login.salesforce.com/services/oauth2/token -d "grant_type=password" -d "client_id=3MVG9PhR6g6B7ps4xDycwGrI4PvjVZvK9" -d "client_secret=8870355475032095511" -d "username=admin@seattleapps.com" -d "password=test1234mB1riuD3n"
  • The response includes the server instance and the access token.
{
"access_token":"00Dd0000000d2Iy!AQgAQLwpOxN4DhZO2qB8PCbD8VU1T35znzeDeCm....",
"instance_url":"https://instance_name.my.salesforce.com",
"id":"https://login.salesforce.com/id/00Dd000000XXXXXXX/005d000000XXXXX",
"token_type":"Bearer",
"issued_at":"1486507938095",
"signature":"uEY/R99P/uqgq0GYNQKcvKc9LqICOMf91NvwI2my4eI="
}
  • Use the returned instance_url as the server instance to request a Connect REST API resource. Pass the returned access_token as a Bearer token in the Authorization request header.
curl -X GET https://instance_name/services/data/v53.0/chatter/users/me 
     -H 'Authorization: Bearer 00DD0000000FJ6T!AQkAQPde_DMF2vGzddfZmBRS95Goj
     DbtArKkgukAgZP0OVFYY5KkAqhLw9ejeKIlpJ3FgwGAWeRlBiWRt8mfXEuAZGbZNosk'

For using OAuth to connect to Experience Cloud Sites, you can visit here.

Note: This simple illustration of connecting REST API to Salesforce uses the username-password OAuth authentication flow. The username-password authentication flow passes the user’s credentials back and forth. You should use this authentication flow when it’s absolutely essential, such as in the above illustration. No refresh token is issued. Additionally, Experience Cloud sites don’t support the username-password authentication flow. Moreover, in the preceding illustration don’t make a request to a site URL.

For further information on connecting REST API to Salesforce, you can follow the Official Documentation.

Method 2: Integrating REST API to Salesforce using Hevo Activate

Connecting REST API to Salesforce - Hevo Logo
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Hevo Activate helps you directly transfer data from REST API, Amazon Redshift, Snowflake, Google BigQuery, Firebolt, and various other sources to CRMs such as Salesforce, Hubspot various SaaS applications, and a lot more, in a completely hassle-free & automated manner for free. Hevo Activate is fully managed and completely automates the process of not only loading data from your desired source but also enriching the data and transforming it into an analysis-ready form without having to write a single line of code. Its fault-tolerant architecture ensures that the data is handled in a secure, consistent manner with zero data loss.

Hevo Activate takes care of all your data preprocessing needs and lets you focus on key business activities and draw a much powerful insight on how to generate more Leads, retain customers, and take your business to new heights of profitability. It provides a consistent & reliable solution to manage data in real-time and always have analysis-ready data in your desired destination. 

Check out what makes Hevo Activate amazing:

  • Real-time Data Transfer: Hevo Activate with its strong Integration with various sources, allows you to transfer data quickly & efficiently. This ensures efficient utilization of bandwidth on both ends.
  • Data Transformation: It provides a simple interface to perfect, modify, and enrich the data you want to transfer. 
  • Secure: Hevo Activate has a fault-tolerant architecture that ensures that the data is handled in a secure, consistent manner with zero data loss.
  • Tremendous Connector Availability: Hevo Activate houses a large variety of connectors and lets you bring in data from REST API and numerous Data Warehouses such as Amazon Redshift, Snowflake, Google BigQuery, Firebolt, etc. and load it into Marketing & SaaS applications, such as Salesforce, HubSpot, Zendesk, Intercom, etc. in an integrated and analysis-ready form.
  • Simplicity: Using Hevo Activate is easy and intuitive, ensuring that your data is exported in just a few clicks. 
  • Completely Managed Platform: Hevo Activate is fully managed. You need not invest time and effort to maintain or monitor the infrastructure involved in executing codes.
  • Live Support: The Hevo Activate team is available round the clock to extend exceptional support to its customers through chat, email, and support calls.
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Conclusion

In this article, you have learned about the REST API to Salesforce integration. This article also provided information on API, REST API, its methods, Salesforce, its key features and versions, and the methods and steps involved in setting up REST API to Salesforce connection.

Hevo Activate helps you directly transfer data from a source of your choice such as REST API, Redshift, Snowflake, BigQuery, Firebolt, etc., to any SaaS application, Support tools, CRMs such as Salesforce, etc. for free in a fully automated and secure manner without having to write the code repeatedly. It will make your life easier and make data migration hassle-free. It is user-friendly, reliable, and secure.

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