What is an API? (And How It Can Help With Embedded Analytics)

Yurbi - API for Embedded Analytics

It’s no secret that today’s modern business needs the benefits of business intelligence and software solutions to stay on par with competitors. It’s also becoming more and more necessary to use BI to operate as efficiently as possible, especially in large multi-team companies or multi-tenant customer environments.

However, even if you work in the tech industry, it’s ok not to be incredibly tech-savvy (at least if you’re in management). Knowing how to throw the tech words around when you’re sitting around talking to your developers can really go a long way to fooling them.

OK we’re kidding, here’s the real deal, when you’re out researching BI embedded analytic solution, you need to have a good understanding of what to ask and why it’s essential.

In this guide, we’ll be exploring some key information all business leaders exploring embedded analytics needs should know about APIs. Let’s start with a basic definition.

What is an API?

API stands for application programming interface. It serves as a way for one program to offer services or communicate with another program. For websites, APIs are run on different machines. For example, a program that is running on Twitter’s servers uses APIs to offer service to a secondary program that is running on your device.

To put it in layman’s terms, an API takes your program’s “order” for specific data or services and communicates that request with its base program. APIs make it possible for websites or applications to offer limited access capabilities to their program without just letting any user or program do whatever they want with their data.

Does Yurbi Have an API?

Yes! In fact, we have two APIs. Yurbi has both a RESTful API and a SOAP-based API.

A REST API is an API paradigm that is an architectural style. REST can actually use SOAP in the same way it can use HTTP. It is considered a true “web services” API that is based on URIs (Uniform Resource Identifier) and HTTP protocols, making it an excellent API choice for browser compatibility.

A SOAP API is an API paradigm that is its own protocol. Unlike REST, SOAP is a bit better at defining standards such as security and communication. For businesses that require more comprehensive API abilities when it comes to online transactions and security, SOAP is an excellent choice.

Jargon aside, the main difference between REST and SOAP is that REST is all about being as simple as possible for web optimization, while SOAP is all about tight security. At Yurbi, we decided to get the best of both worlds by implementing both paradigms into our software.

Why is an API Important for Embedded Analytics?

There are many reasons why API is important in the context of embedded analytics.

To start, APIs automates an application’s necessary tasks. User and security provisioning is one of the key functions of an API so that when a new customer is created in one’s software application, they can automatically create that user in the BI software with all the proper security, roles, etc.

Single sign-on is another valuable feature of APIs. There are a lot of ways that this can be implemented, but in the Yurbi model, users would use our REST API. Each time a user wants to display a particular dashboard, report, or component of Yurbi, they can call our DoLogin endpoint and get a session token. By sharing that session token as a parameter into any Yurbi object, all of the user’s security profile is applied to whichever report or dashboard is displayed, even if the user is building a new report. There are a few other ways, but that is our recommended method.

APIs also allow for custom displays. No BI tool out there has all the out of the box visualization methods that you may need for your specific use case. You’ll eventually need a BI tool with an API that allows you to apply your own visualization features if necessary. With Yurbi, instead of embedding a report or dashboard, you can use our API to get an XML or JSON dataset from the report. Then, you can use this to bind to any pixel-perfect web form or visualization you need.

Finally, APIs are useful for integration between disparate systems. Instead of having your BI tool act as a visualization tool for users, you may need to do some back-end integrations with other applications in your system. Instead of building these out on your own, a BI tool like Yurbi can act as a sort of data broker. It can allow you to connect to the Yurbi report endpoint to get an XML or JSON dataset, which in turn can be used to start or facilitate a process in another application.

If you have any questions about the Yurbi API or how to get started with embedded analytics, contact us, and let’s discuss your requirements in more depth.

How was our guide to APIs? Did we miss anything? Tell us what you think in the comment section. Don’t forget to explore the rest of the Yurbi blog for more how-to guides about the world of business intelligence!

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