The API (Application Programming Interface) is the key to Web Services and making them accessible for users. A good API makes or breaks a web service.
Senior Systems has been refining its administrative software for more than two decades and knows how important a well-constructed API is to the success of Web Services. Its products are based around an industry standard API protocol known as SOAP, which works with My BackPack, a suite of Web portals that provide user authentication and current data about students, parents, and constituents.
Technically an API is a specification about how different parts of the software should interact with each other. At its most basic level, an API makes it possible to move information between programs and enable software to run on an operating system such as Windows.
With the development of Web Services, API’s have become crucial tools for linking software and data on the Web and makes it possible to draw more services into a single interface.
This level of interaction is crucial in the education services market where schools and institutions need to bring in different services from different locations to a single screen.
For example, students need to have biographical data associated to them from other parts of the network, or off-site, or on the web. Bringing this data together enables names and addresses, and education history to be connected to the other information related to their teachers and their parents.
A well-written API can take the data from Web Services about students, parents, faculty, and constituents and use it to produce custom output, or to feed custom-built reports.
One common API for Web Services is to set up ‘single sign-on’ capabilities to allow everyone to sign in once and visit multiple pages within your portal without having to sign in again. Not only does this save time, it means that users do not have to remember different passwords and also creates a seamless user experience.
Another popular use for Web Services APIs is called Deep Linking, which allows pages to be linked and embedded into a website or portal interface. This allows an interface easier access to options and functionality. A site might contain a menu of user functions, some of which are linked to different parts of the site and written in such a way that appear part of a school’s website or portal.
Senior Systems uses APIs to develop an integrated community, so that schools can develop a unique interface for My BackPack. These are built using data from the Senior Systems database mixed with information from other sources to create a specialized custom interface. This gives schools the freedom to design and bring in any Web Services data fields.