Data Connectivity | 4 mins read

What is Data Connectivity? Introduction to APIs

what is data connectivity introduction to apis
Chloe Henderson

By Chloe Henderson

Introduction to Data Connectivity

Alongside business intelligence, modern companies prioritize data connectivity, as it allows them to communicate with external parties efficiently. Without data connectivity, organizations have no way of collecting, sharing, and maintaining information digitally. Therefore, companies should consider how establishing data connectivity throughout their internal and external networks can enhance their information management.

What is Big Data?

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Data refers to information a computer stores in the form of symbols and digits. This enables users to gather, measure, and further analyze the information to determine variables and trends. People can collect data from qualitative and quantitative observations and store it in databases.

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Where to Find Data Access

After converting information into cloud data, users can find it in databases within their cloud or legacy systems. This eliminates the paper waste that is necessary for traditional recordkeeping. It also saves users the time it takes to flip through pages to find specific data.

Databases

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Databases are electronic collections or structures of data that organize information for easy access, discovery, and management. Now, users can find data through a simple keyword search at the click of a button. Databases are located in what is known as a data server.

Data Server

A data server combines hardware and software to store, process, and maintain vast loads of information. While there are various types of data servers, the most common include.

  • Web servers - transfers web pages
  • Database servers - orchestrates database queries
  • Free Transfer Protocol (FTP) servers - handles files

For example, client-server models use software to organize and answer customer inquiries with stored data. So, when clients search products online, the server responds by generating a page of items that fit the keywords.

However, there are also local servers that are specific to a company and require cable connections. Local servers store data on large hardware with extensive storage, as traditional computers do not have sufficient capacity. These servers only allow on-site users to access data, ensuring a safe environment for information exchange and storage.

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What is Data Connectivity?

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Data connectivity refers to connecting clients and servers to safely request and share information. Modern businesses rely on data connectivity as it not only enables them to interact with customers but also third parties.

From client invoices to supplier contracts, companies need a secure data connection to establish an open line of communication. Otherwise, organizations have to use traditional means of communication to consult with clients, vendors, and other third parties.

What is an API and How Does it Connect Data?

An application programming interface (API) is a digital tool that enables multiple software to exchange data with each other. This allows several systems to share and view enterprise data in real-time. Each part of the acronym API plays a significant role in its functionality.

Application

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Firstly, the A in API stands for application but is used as an adjective to describe the interface. An application, or app, is a type of program that performs a detailed set of functions for the user. Depending on the environment, the user can be a human or another application within a network of processes. People use applications for various tasks, such as.

  • Photo editing
  • Web browsers
  • Customer data management
  • Inventory control
  • Report generation

Programming

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Programming refers to the functionality of the application. In other words, the programming details exactly how the application converts inputs to outputs. For example, a vendor management application allows businesses to share product catalogs, price quotes, and other data. Anything outside of the supplier relationship, companies need a separate application to perform.

In regard to API, when combined with application, programming refers to the required data functions for the interface. Businesses use APIs to collect and process client requests through servers and respond with relevant data. In other words, APIs act as a messenger between the organization and the person on the user end.

Interface

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Lastly, the interface is the most important part of an API as it is what enables users to orchestrate an application. An interface is the actual point where applications meet and are able to perform their functions. Let's take a general example first by looking at a microwave.

A microwave requires the input of electricity in order to generate an output of heat, thus performing its intended function. The interface, also referred to as the endpoint, in this example is where the machine receives its input. By connecting the plug into the wall socket, the microwave can generate heat and fulfill its function. This connectivity between the two endpoints, the plug and the outlet, creates a continual process of inputs and outputs.

In terms of business intelligence, applications work in the same way by connecting endpoints to trigger inputs and outputs. Through system integration, companies can connect the endpoints of each application to establish a universal interface. With data integration, the endpoint of each software can be users or other software. The inputs become user queries, or whatever process triggers the next sequential task. Either way, APIs enable organizations to establish data connectivity and enhance their internal operations.

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