Have you heard the term eSignature API come up lately?
With the constant advancements of technology, and the perpetually changing needs of consumers, businesses and employees can feel like they are constantly in the process of catching up. To maintain relevance, meet functionality demands, and establish a business as having something solid to offer it’s customer base, software developers and business owners will often find themselves spending countless hours building and designing applications and solutions.
This is where APIs can help.
APIs are being increasingly used by developers to give their companies important advantages. Below, we’ll take a closer look at what APIs are, how they work, and how they can be used to take eSigning to the next level.
What Is an API?
An API, or Application Programming Interface, is something you probably already use every single day without even realizing it. Think of APIs as messengers; their job is to help two different applications communicate. Delving in a bit further, companies essentially use APIs to enable other third-party developers and apps to connect with and use their data and functionality.
Not only are APIs increasingly popular in tech, but they are also somewhat standard now with developers – over 19 million software developers are reported as of 2020 to utilize APIs.
What Are the Benefits of APIs?
So, what are the specific benefits of using APIs, and why are developers and businesses seeking more API solutions than ever before? Let’s take a look.
Did you know that APIs can actually save you money? Because it takes time and effort to develop new applications, utilizing APIs from third-party developers allows businesses to bypass spending time on unnecessary development and utilize apps that are already built.
Unique revenue opportunities can be created with the use of APIs. Through API development, companies are able to offer additional functionality and usage to their customers that they have previously been unable to; when these API functionalities are monetized through charging customers for capabilities, it can create important new revenue streams for businesses.
An increasing amount of businesses are using APIs to promote enhanced internal collaboration. By using APIs to connect things like communication apps, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, and eSigning apps, collaboration between teams can be enhanced and better streamlined.
Businesses are seeing impactful increases in productivity when utilizing APIs. Not only are software developers able to get more done through the use of APIs, but teams can simplify and optimize their everyday processes by easily connecting company software to the apps they need.
Technology is constantly adapting and evolving these days. In order to maintain relevancy, promote a competitive edge, and ensure that customer needs are met, businesses are utilizing APIs to give them a much-needed innovation boost. When new needs and practices are identified, companies are able to implement changes and features faster and more easily by using APIs to connect with already built applications.
Stellar Customer Experience
Customers are more likely to feel like their needs are being met when developers maximize their use of APIs. Customer needs and expectations are constantly changing; by utilizing APIs, businesses can create an important method for quickly and efficiently connecting their customers to the tools and features their customers need.
How Do APIs Work?
APIs are essentially carefully defined sets of rules that lay the groundwork that dictates how one app communicates with another. Take PayPal payments, for example. When businesses offer the functionality of paying with PayPal on their website or application, an API is at work when customers click to complete their transaction with PayPal. In this case, an API is connecting PayPal and the company’s app or website.
So, how do APIs work? The process takes place in 4 essential steps:
- First, the user initiates the API being used by initiating a “request” or retrieval of information.
- The API then sends the request to the third-party application.
- The third-party application provides the requested information to the API.
- Finally, the API provides the requested information to the originally requesting server and to the user.
What Is a REST API?
You might have already heard the term REST API; this refers to a certain architectural type of API. The architecture of an API is important because it determines what information is shared and how it is shared. There are several different API architecture types, but REST is the most popular for web developers building web APIs.
So, what is a REST API exactly?
REST stands for “representational state transfer,” which is a set of guidelines that dictate how user data is transferred. REST API guidelines and best practices generally include:
- All interactions must first be initiated by the client to the server and never initiated by the server
- HTTP should be used as the common language and requests should be made in GET, POST, PUT, or DELETE formats
- All REST API requests must be independent of each other and considered “stateless”
- Regardless of any added or changing layers, the way messages are sent between a server and client must remain unchanged
- REST APIs should always use data caching to promote time reduction
When these guidelines are followed, APIs are considered “RESTful.”
Other types of API architectural styles can include SOAP and RPC:
- Soap: SOAP stands for Simple Object Access Protocol. SOAP APIs utilize XML and often incorporate the use of much more code.
- RPC: RPC, or Remote Procedural Call, can use JSON or XML markup languages to enact server scripts. RPC, while easy to use, is more limited than SOAP and REST APIs and therefore not used as often.
How eSignature APIs Can Be Used
eSignature APIs allow your business to seamlessly send documents for signature within your own application.
For example, let’s say you would like for all new employees in your business to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement, and your business has thousands of employees.
You could try to email all of these employees, and then receive the Non-Disclosure Agreements back either in person or by email. The problem with this is that it involves a lot of manual work and extra resources, as your business will now have to come up with a strategy on how to handle these agreements.
To reduce costs and enhance your productivity, you can leverage an eSignature API that will manage sending these agreements as well as providing any extra features you may need throughout the signing process.
Foxit eSign's eSignature API
With Foxit eSign’s eSignature API, you are provided with a purpose built enterprise-ready solution that not only enhances your productivity and reduces costs. Our eSignature API also provides capabilities that meet your business needs, accessible right within the API, such as:
- Pre-filling any relevant information about the document when it is sent for signature.
- Downloading extensive Excel Reports with advanced filters.
- Leveraging our Webhooks to automatically sync your customer data in your application with any relevant information in a signature.
- Downloading any signed document at any time
- Meet your compliance needs with our ESIGN, UETA, CCPA, eIDAS, GDPR, and 21 CFR Part 11 Compliant solution.