If you’re someone with a non-technical background, the acronym API might not mean much. Here, we’ll dive into the question, “What is an API?”
Perhaps you know the essence of what an API can do for your organization. But for project managers who don’t know basic programming or coding, you’re in the right place.
APIs are very technical, but when used to connect disconnected platforms within an organization, they offer tremendous synergies to any organization.
Ready to learn more about the basics of an API and why it’s a critical feature for project management software? Read on!
What is an API?
API stands for Application Programming Interfaces. What does this mean exactly?
- Application refers to any software with distinct functionality.
- Programming is the common language between applications.
- Interface can be considered a connection agreement between two applications which defines how the two communicate using requests and responses.
It’s simply a way to connect essential applications or software components.
What does an API do?
Let’s use an analogy.
Think of an API like a menu at a restaurant. The menu provides a list of items you can order with a description of each item. When you specify what menu items you want, the restaurant’s kitchen prepares the items and delivers them to you. You don’t know exactly how the chefs prepare that food, and you don’t really need to because that’s the convenience of eating at a restaurant.
Just like a menu at a restaurant, an API lists a bunch of functions that developers can use, along with a description of what they do. The developer doesn’t necessarily need to know how these functions work because that’s the beauty of an open API.
APIs are mechanisms that enable two software components to communicate with each other using a set of definitions and protocols. For example, how does the weather app on your phone know the weather? Well, the weather bureau’s software system contains data that can be shared directly with that app. The weather app on your phone is connected to the weather bureau’s software system via APIs. Thus, you can see the weather and real-time changes to it on your phone.
Why is an API an Important Feature
Eating at a restaurant certainly makes dinner easier than sourcing ingredients, cooking them, and cleaning up after yourself. Just like how the weather app integrations make checking the weather easier.
The proper commands in an API will allow you to instruct any other program to view, pull and update your Workspace data.
APIs enable companies to grow their businesses and be more efficient than ever by automating processes to save time and money. Consider API’s as an innovative way to connect disparate pieces of data and technology together. When combined – it can give you a competitive advantage and drive your organization into the future more quickly.
But how does an open API make a project manager’s job easier?
For anyone who uses LiquidPlanner New, our first integration was with Slack. You’re likely very familiar with the power of receiving task status change notifications in Slack. That is made possible by a type of API.
With LiquidPlanner’s API, you can build these basic connections with your other favorite tools. While there is an endless array of API connection possibilities, we will list a few that may be most relevant to a project manager here:
- Add new plan items (Package, Project & Sub-Folder, Task, Assignment)
- Update existing plan items (Package, Project & Sub-Folder, Task, Assignment)
- Fetch data about plan items in JSON format (Package, Project & Sub-Folder, Task, Assignment)
- Fetch logged time entries in JSON format
- Download Timesheet Export data into an Excel file
- Download Project, Task or Assignment Grid data into an Excel file
LiquidPlanner’s New open API allows customers to share our core Planning Intelligence features across organizational boundaries. This allows customers to integrate work metrics, schedule insights, and custom data into their digital ecosystem. Customers can use the open API to filter and download data for analysis, send information to other platforms, or update plan items based on user actions in other systems.
These options offer numerous possibilities for integrating project metrics into your digital ecosystem. With an experienced software developer and your project management insights, you can build integrations into your everyday tools to help you plan projects even more effectively
How do you implement an API?
Implementing an API is unique for each program and your organization’s needs. API documentation contains information on how developers are to structure those requests and responses.
In some circumstances, developers provide their own data to the API to make connections and information flows even more valuable.
LiquidPlanner’s API is included for organizations with a paid ULTIMATE Plan. If you want to learn more about how to enable LiquidPlanner New’s open API – check out our Release Notes to see how to get started.
If you still have questions about how an API can benefit you, book time with one of our Product Advisors to learn more.