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The Spear of APIs Breaks Through

Employee
Posts: 236
Country: USA

The Spear of APIs Breaks Through

Act! APIs now power our products, our connections, and our integrations.  The release of our REST APIs fundamentally changed the landscape in the kinds of integrations that can be built, and the speed that solutions can be delivered to customers.  Built on top of the Act! Premium Web API, and quickly after our first API release, we launched releases to multiple Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) vendors, including Zapier, enabling workflow and automation to and from 500+ applications.  We also set out to build experiences on top of our APIs across the portfolio, starting with Act! Premium Contact Link: a modern embedded experience in Microsoft Outlook across platforms.  Many of you are building solutions on our APIs quicker than you have ever before.

 

Along with the latest versions of our APIs across the portfolio, we are significantly accelerating development productivity and time-to-market for API-based deliveries through a number of pioneering enhancements.

 

Introducing a breakthrough API standard

 

Across the portfolio, Act! APIs are now Swagger 2.0 compliant.

 

Swagger is a new, open standard (https://openapis.org/specification) which aims for developers and programs to be able to understand the capabilities of an API simply by looking at its definition.  And as an open description, it means it is vendor neutral, portable, and quickly becoming the defacto standard for all APIs, cloud providers, and low/no code application platforms. 

 

What does this mean?  If you’re a developer, It means you can quickly generate code (that is, a type library) for an extensive number of client, server, and mobile languages and development stacks on top of our APIs (for example c#, js, angular, Android, Objective-C, etc..) via editor (http://editor.swagger.io/#/).  If you’re an IT integrator, it means you can easily connect Act! APIs to Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure services using the Swagger definition, and connect Act! to a number of compute, infrastructure, and business resources.  If you’re an Act! consultant, It means you will see an increasing amount of Act! connectivity and integration into the cloud and small business ecosystems, including new low/no code platform capabilities, empowering you as a citizen developer.  More on that soon.

 

Introducing a unified & advanced development experience

 

Next to the actual API, API documentation is the single-most enabling factor for quick adoption and productivity.  API documentation across the portfolio is now accessible through a unified point of entry:  http://developer.act.com

 

More than that, the documentation across the portfolio supports Swagger UI, including a number of improvements:

  • Beautiful documentation
  • Detailed inline parameters and status codes
  • A sandbox for trying the API live in-line with the documentation (for Web API)

 swagger.jpg

 

I hope these accelerators will empower our abilities and yours alike, and we can revolutionize together to meet our customers growing, and increasingly-connected businesses.

Bronze Super Contributor
Posts: 1,543
Country: United_Kingdom

Re: The Spear of APIs Breaks Through

Hi Xavier,

 

As a non-technical ACC representing many others like me, how can we use the APIs?

 

Where is the training material?


David Shaw
Act! Certified Consultant since 2001
Office:    +44 (0)1483 714507
Mobile: +44 (0)7977 567 318
E-Mail:    dshaw@act4u.org 
Employee
Posts: 236
Country: USA

Re: The Spear of APIs Breaks Through

Hi David,

 

A fair question.  APIs are for developers, so the question you are really asking is either how do I become a developer, or how do I benefit from this API (outside of indirect use through connections etc.. of course) as a non-developer?

 

The exciting disruption that is going on in the industry is that no/low code platforms are emerging and changing the landscape of what is needed to build or integrate applications with APIs.  It used to be that you did need to be a developer, and a very specialized developer.  That's changing.  Zapier is an example of that:  you don't need to be a developer, but you can integrate Act! with other applications by learning Zapier.  Zapier has good documentation, I would start here:  https://zapier.com/zapbook/act-premium/, as well as trying it yourself.  You're going to see more in the non-developer platform space, to enable you to not only integrate and automate, but build.  I hope you and others will join this revolution. 

 

If you do want to become a developer, that is a very different path altogether.  And one that keeps changing rapidly, because of the exponential growth of platforms, devices, technologies, and development abstractions.  I should point out here that this isn't a path to becoming an Act! developer, but an API developer.  The great leveler with Web APIs is that you only need to be a generalist API developer, the specialty in Act! APIs is the Act! domain knowledge you already have.  Without any formal background, the quickest way today is probably via a local coding bootcamp and/or online classroom (MOOC), to avoid heavy cost and time of formal collegiate training.   Here's possibly a good starting point:  https://www.lynda.com/search?q=rest+api.  However, you do have to keep this realistic, it is a lot of effort:  https://www.quora.com/How-long-would-it-take-an-average-person-with-no-programming-background-to-bec....

 

--Xavier

Bronze Elite Contributor
Posts: 2,115
Country: United_Kingdom

Re: The Spear of APIs Breaks Through

This is great stuff! I missed this post entirely and have just had a play with the new layout of the dev site. I really like it and the implementation of Swagger. It really does help to highlight what is possible and what isn't quickly. Thank you thank you thank you for bringing in the meta-data that really removes quite a substantial amount of uncertainty in building more complex API driven applications.

 

I would recommend all devs to play more and more with the API. The greater the number of change requests and use case scenarios the more knowledge and insight Xavier and his team gain on how we as developers plan on using the API and it helps to improve the final offering. I'm hoping for a day when the API can solidly replace the reliance on the SDK .NET Framework.

Vivek Gargav
Caldere Associates Ltd.
www.caldere.com
vgargav@caldere.com
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