File or API Integration: Which is Better?
Technology hype might tell you that API is always better than file transfer for integration – it’s new and it’s fast and happens in real-time. That’s all true; however, while it all sounds great, is isn’t the whole picture. The truth is, both methods have their place, and neither is a one-size-fits-all answer.
File transfer vs. API is such a fundamental building block for data integration that it is worth spending a bit of time detailing the difference. For that, we turn to our data integration guru, Lee Mrkonjic (our Director of Sales):
“There are two ways to integrate business applications: by importing
and exporting files or using an Application Program Interface (API).
With the importing and exporting method, data moves in batches
by first transferring a file between two parties and then integrating the
data with the business application. EDI uses this method.
The API method is most often used by business applications that
work in the cloud. APIs move data between business applications one
transaction at a time, in real time. Shopping carts, accounting/ERP
systems, shipping systems, WMS and TMS software usually have APIs
that can “talk” to each other.
Each software publisher is responsible for making file or API
integration methods available in their products. Regardless of the
method, it requires a programmer to write code to make it all work.”
There is a graph on our website that gives you a quick visual representation of the two solutions - click on thumbnail to go to the graph:
API vs. file transfer is not a choice you that you make based on technology hype. In fact, it is quite likely that you will need to employ both methods.
And while the broad-strokes details are useful for you to know, you don’t need to dive into the code and understand every technical detail surrounding data integration. The only real choice that you need to make to select the right integration service provider.
If you are looking for an order management service provider that can handle both API and file transfer seamlessly and transparently, give Lee a call to discuss all of your data integration requirements.