APIs or Application Programme Interface allows different applications to talk to each other, and transfer data. ProgrammableWeb estimates 20,000+ public APIs in use today, in addition to the several thousand private APIs used by businesses. Using Salesforce APIs offers unbound flexibility and resilience to access the data from such disparate and disconnected systems and gain an integrated view of the customer, customized to the requirements.
Salesforce Lightning Connect aids businesses seeking secure and reliable API to access data residing in the third-party cloud applications. Lightning Connect allows enterprises to integrate their native enterprise API with Salesforce using standard data connectivity technologies such as ODBC, JDBC and Odata. Doing so allows integrating data in real-time, and connecting data to any analytical tool easily.
How API Integration Works
The first step towards accessing native API using salesforce Lightning Connect is to look into the data. If the data is not accessible in OData format, the data will first have to be translated into Odata, to be picked up by the Lightning Connector.
Next, build a JDBC driver for the API. There are several options available. Using the Progress OpenAccess SDK framework makes the task of developing ODBC and JDBC drivers easy and fast. The tool allows creating fully featured and fully compliant drivers with ODBC and JDBC Standards, using the same code base.
Now, generate Odata API for the internal API, using the newly created JDBC driver. The process is easy and fast, taking just a couple of minutes.
Side-by-side, deploy Progress Hybrid Data Pipeline, a self-hostable hybrid connectivity solution which may reside either in the cloud or on-premises. The Data Pipeline opens up access to data residing behind the firewall. Use standard interfaces such as SQL (ODBC, JDBC) or REST (OData). Access the targeted data in Salesforce through the OData endpoint from Hybrid Data Pipeline, using Salesforce Lightning Connect. The data thereby accessed may now be applied to any analytical tools or data connectivity needs using the JDBC driver if required.
The Comprehensiveness of Salesforce Integration
Salesforce offers the best option for data integration. Salesforce’s low-code integration tools and APIs connect through standard data protocols such as OData, ensuring consistency and robustness. Moreover, these tools come optimized for Big Data and can load or delete large swathes of data with ease.
Salesforce unites data across four critical layers: data, identity, process, and presentation.
The identity layer offers a single, unified and trusted identity across all apps and devices, offering data of real-time activities and workflows, cutting across systems. As such, the data retrieved offers a unified and contextual-relevant view of the customer. The data layer unifies customer context across multiple systems.
The Process layer coordinates real-time activities and workflows across multiple systems. Integration at the process layer ensures publication of events to a centralized event stream, or publication through a series of inter-system communication workflows. Either way, it ensures coordination of activities automatically and spares users from wandering around different systems to remain updated.
The presentation layer builds a single view of the customer accessible from any device. The integration at the presentation layer allows viewing data from several different systems seamlessly, in a single screen, regardless of the patchwork of the underlying system.
In many systems, lack of integration at the data layer forces users to switch between systems to access the required information, leading to wastage of time and resources. Integration at the data layer, for instance, allows accessing data from Oracle or SAP even while staying inside Salesforce CRM.
Customization using Salesforce APIs
Salesforce is equally adept at customization as it is for integration. Salesforce offers several APIs. Users could manipulate the group of APIs associated with data – REST API, SOAP API, Bulk API, and Streaming API, as required. Several other APIs allow customizing page layouts, building custom development tools, and even building subsets of Salesforce data.
The powerful REST API, based on RESTful principles, allows the user to access all Salesforce functionality, including create, read, update, and delete records, search or query data, retrieve object metadata, and more. Most of the functionality of the SOAP API may be accessed through RESI API as well. REST API supports XML and JSON. The powerful functionality goes with a lightweight request and an easy to use response framework, making it the perfect choice for mobile and web apps.
Today’s customers expect an engaging and consistent experience across channels and devices. Merely retrieving data from different silos does not offer the required customer experience. Salesforce Connect not only enables the user to view, search, and modify data stored outside the Salesforce org, inside Salesforce easily, but also offers a complete 360-degree view of the customer.