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5 API Pitfalls & How To Avoid Them

APIs are considered by many as the latest and greatest in data communication technology. The communication happens instantaneously in real-time, and there is a perception that APIs are the be-all answer.

APIs can perform in ways that other technology cannot, and for many situations, they are the best fit for the job, but they are not infallible. It is essential to understand that your specific API's standards depend on the developer who wrote the code.

Looking at pitfalls, we use our i12 Gateway API as the yardstick against which we measure other APIs. i12 is a fully custom and customizable solution with enhanced data security and integrity.

These are 5 API pitfalls and what you can do to avoid them.

[1] APIs: Passive vs Managed
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing an API is understanding the difference between the two. 

If you have a passive API and there is a transaction exception, the process doesn't complete and stops. The exception message you see is often vague (and not helpful); for instance, not found, bad request, and service unavailable.

Your API may issue exception notifications, but it is equally likely that it will not – it depends on how good the API and the developer are. In either case, it won't be easy to trace what has happened.

With a managed API – like Crisp i12 Gateway API – the entire process is overseen by us as your provider. With i12, we can track and trace everything. If there is an exception, the API keeps trying for a period, logs the issue, traces it and advises the customer. We assume overall responsibility for the API performance and successful completion of processing.

[2] APIs: Is there a standard
API protocols are standard, but the data that passes through them is not.

In the supply chain, data must be presented based on the recipient's needs. For instance – a supplier might identify a product as 123, and their customer identifies the same product as ABC.

It would be best if you had an API explicitly written for the supply chain – by developers with the expertise to understand the intricacies.

Our i12 Gateway API is a solution developed by experts who understand the requirement to cross-reference and parse the data to provide each party with what they require.

[3] API: Issue Resolution
We’ve all experienced something like this: Your application fails to connect to another application, and your provider is adamant that the cause of the problem is the other application. 

Working with APIs, it is not uncommon for one publisher to assign responsibility to another API. Resolving that can require too much of your time with damaging implications to your orders.

With our i12 Gateway API, there is no finger-pointing if there is a problem. We take ownership and investigate and resolve issues. 

[4] API: What apps are supported
What happens when you buy an API only to find it doesn’t support all the apps you need? For instance – it supports most of the shipping applications you use – but not all. What do you do? Most commonly, when the API is a passive, stand-alone offering, there is no customization option, and the problem remains yours to resolve.

With i12 Gateway API, there would be no issue for you to resolve. In the scenario above, if you came to us needing an API for your WMS or shipping system to use FedEx, UPS and USPS but in time also required it to support Purolator and Canada Post – we’d make that happen.

[5] API: Build or Buy
The last consideration we want to address: Whether to build or buy your API. We have touched on elements of this throughout the other four pitfalls.

There is a good chance your IT team would relish the opportunity to build your API. But the question remains, is that the best choice for your business?

Does your IT department have the specific supply chain expertise to build the best API? Do they have the ongoing bandwidth to deal with exceptions and errors and update and change the code immediately as needed?

You get a field-tested API solution if you outsource your API development to Crisp. With our solution, the functionality and security protocols undergo rigorous vetting. After the discovery phase, we customize the framework to precisely address your business's needs.

We’ve provided technology solutions (API, EDI, and custom applications) since 1986. We have specific expertise in supply chain technology. Our whole organization focuses on technology solutions implementation and execution, and order management automation is at the core of what we do. We stay current with emerging requirements and have the skilled people and the tools to make changes as needed.

And we are never further than a phone call away to support you.

We want to help you address these pitfalls. Contact our Director of Sales, Lee Mrkonjic, to discuss what Crisp can do for your company.
(289) 301-2410

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