API stands for Application Programming Interface - a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other. For example, the national weather service's software system contains weather data. The weather app on your phone pulls in this information using APIs to “talk” to the software.
How APIs Work
In order for two applications to integrate, one application (called the client) sends a request to another application's API server. After validating the client’s request, the API performs the requested action and then sends a response back to the client.
Each API has documentation that specifies how information can be transferred. The most common APIs are categorized as either SOAP or REST.
- SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol): SOAP APIs are built using XML and enable endpoints to send and receive data through SMTP and HTTP.
- REST (Representational State Transfer): REST APIs are more flexible and define a set of functions like GET, PUT, DELETE, etc. that clients can use to access server data.
Endpoints are the communication touchpoints where APIs access the resources they need to complete the request.
You can find CivicPlus API documentation for your website by going to http://sitename/api (replacing "site_name" with your site name). Learn more about available CivicPlus APIs: