API (Application Programming Interface)

What is an API?

APIs, short for Application Programming Interfaces, allow software components to communicate and share information smoothly between them. They’re important in the digital world because they help different apps and systems get along and work together seamlessly by following certain rules and definitions.

With a modern intranet like Simpplr, APIs work with your existing workflows and processes. Thus, instead of having to open up each of the individual apps, your employees are able to seamlessly access all of the information they need within your intranet platform, a single source of truth. For example, if you wanted to display sales performance/goals from Salesforce, you could use APIs to share the Salesforce data into a Simpplr tile, then display that tile on a Simpplr dashboard for easy viewing.

Learn how Simpplr utilizes 200+ out-of-the box integrations and APIs to provide a centralized place for everyone to find people, access knowledge, and log in to your workplace apps securely.

Intranet Features that Matter: Integrations

Overview of APIs

An Application Programming Interface (API) is a set of rules, protocols, and tools for building software and applications. By defining the methods of communication between various software components, an API simplifies the programming process, allowing developers to use predefined functions to interact with the operating system, application software, or other services. Instead of building from scratch, developers can utilize APIs to accelerate the development process, enhance functionality, and ensure higher security and reliability in applications.

The essence of an API lies in its ability to connect and communicate. In the digital ecosystem, APIs act as the backbone, enabling interconnected services and offering the flexibility to integrate third-party services effortlessly. Whether it is a web-based service, database systems, or devices, APIs are pivotal in exchanging data and executing operations, thus fostering innovation and efficiency in software development.

How an API works

Understanding the mechanism of an API requires grasping the basic concept of requests and responses. When a software application makes a request to an API, it seeks to accomplish a specific task, such as retrieving data or executing a function. The API, on its part, processes this request, interprets what is being asked, and then responds accordingly. This interaction is facilitated through a set of clearly defined rules and specifications, which constitute the API’s documentation.

Example of APIs in action

Application Integrations vs APIs

The way we differentiate integrations vs APIs is that integrations are “out of the box,” meaning no/low code is required. Some good examples of OOTB integrations with Simpplr are content/knowledge management systems (Google Drive, SharePoint), whose content appears within Simpplr’s intranet when searched for. As another example, Simpplr integrates with Workday when we pull over employee data to populate information for your company’s org chart and permission settings.

Simpplr integrations using AI Assistant

Simpplr’s Virtual AI Assistant pulling in HR integrations to provide answers

As for APIs, we’re referring to allowing two systems to talk to each other via API access. For example, if you wanted to showcase a chart from Domo within your intranet, you’d use APIs to share the Domo data into a Simpplr tile, then display that tile on a Simpplr dashboard.

When your employees search within your intranet, Simpplr can utilize 200+ OOTB integrations and APIs to pull in search results across all of the various applications that your company utilizes. The various APIs translate their request into commands, fetching the required information and then returning it to Simpplr, which in turn displays it to your employees. The entire process is seamless, and while complex operations occur in the background, the user interface remains simple and efficient.

Learn more about Simpplr’s intelligent search capabilities.

Types of APIs

APIs can be broadly classified into four types based on their intended use and accessibility:

  1. Public APIs
  2. Private APIs
  3. Partner APIs
  4. Web APIs

Public APIsalso known as external or open APIs, are available to developers and other users with minimal restrictions. They are designed to extend services to external users and foster community collaborations, thereby increasing a product’s reach and utility.

On the other hand, Private APIs, also referred to as internal APIs, are restricted for use within an organization. They are aimed at improving internal development efficiency by enabling different internal systems to communicate with each other. Partner APIs fall somewhere in between, shared externally but only among specific business partners, often under a contractual agreement. They facilitate secure and controlled data sharing between businesses.

Lastly, Web APIs are a prominent category designed for the web environment to enable interactions between web applications and services. REST (Representational State Transfer) and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) are common protocols used in the design of web APIs, each with its own set of standards and usage scenarios.

API Protocols and Architectures

APIs communicate through a variety of protocols, the most prominent being REST and SOAP, as mentioned earlier. However, there are others like GraphQL and gRPC, each serving different purposes and offering various advantages.

REST, or Representational State Transfer, is an architecture that uses HTTP requests to GET, PUT, POST, and DELETE data. It is known for its simplicity and statelessness, making it a popular choice for web services. SOAP, or Simple Object Access Protocol, on the other hand, is a protocol strictly defined with XML, ensuring high security and transactional reliabilityoften used in enterprise environments where these factors are critical.

GraphQL, a newer entrant, allows clients to request precisely the data they need, making it efficient and reducing the amount of data transferred. gRPC, developed by Google, uses protocol buffers and is known for its speed and efficiency in connecting services in a microservices architecture. Choosing the appropriate protocol depends on the specific requirements of the API, such as the need for speed, security, or the ability to handle complex queries.

Designing and Documenting APIs

Designing an API is a critical process that requires careful planning and consideration of the end user’s needs. Good API design adheres to best practices, such as maintaining consistency in endpoint naming and request/response models, ensuring security measures are in place, and providing clear versioning. Additionally, designing for scalability and flexibility ensures that the API can support future growth and changes.

Documentation is equally important, as it serves as the manual for developers to understand how to use the API. Well-documented APIs include detailed information on endpoints, available methods, expected request and response formats, error codes, and authentication methods. Documentation tools and platforms, such as Swagger (OpenAPI) and Redoc, can help create interactive documentation that improves the developer experience and adoption.

The Impact of APIs on Technology and Business

APIs have a profound impact on both technology and business, serving as the building blocks for modern software development and digital transformation. They enable companies to extend their services to a wider audience, leverage external data and services, and create ecosystems around their products. APIs also foster innovation by allowing developers to build upon existing services, leading to the creation of new business models and opportunities.

In business, APIs facilitate partnerships and integration with other companies, enhancing the value proposition of products and services. They allow for better data analysis and insights, improved customer experiences, and streamlined operations. In a world where digital presence is crucial, APIs are indispensable for competitiveness and growth.

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Best Practices for API Consumption

When consuming APIs, it’s important to understand the API’s rate limits to avoid service disruptions, properly manage authentication and authorization tokens for security, and handle errors gracefully. Additionally, caching responses where appropriate can improve performance and reduce the load on the API server.

Developers should also stay informed about updates and changes to the APIs they consume, maintaining their code accordingly. This involves adhering to the API’s versioning policy and testing against deprecation schedules to ensure continued functionality and compatibility.


In conclusion, APIs, or Application Programming Interfaces, are a fundamental component of modern software development, enabling seamless communication between different software applications and extending beyond available out-of-the-box integrations. They come in various types and utilize different protocols and architectures, each suited to specific needs.

Simpplr was purpose-built for extensibility, allowing you to centralize all of your digital workplace applications, utilizing integrations and APIs, and uniting your employees under one single source of truth.

  • APIs available for every feature
  • 200+ out-of-the-box integrations available
  • Build on top of a ready-to-use framework
  • Customize workflows without the extra maintenance

Eliminate tech debt with an intranet through APIs and integrations