An introduction to API

Table of Contents

 

What's an API? 

API is the acronym for Application Programming Interface, which is a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other through a set of protocols. Just like a webpage is rendered, APIs can use HTTP requests to get information from a web application or web server. APIs act as the 'messengers' between us and the backend systems (server), allowing us to retrieve the data we want.

 

API basics

To send an API request, you can use Power Automate (or Zapier).

Workspace 365 uses a 'RESTful API' (also referred to as a RESTful web service or REST API). REST relies heavily on HTTP. Workspace can request data via one of the Workspace APIs, and it will receive a response from the API endpoint.

The endpoint can be viewed as the means from which the API can access the resources they need from a server to perform their task. This mean that the endpoint needs their own API or webhook (bear in mind that the data must be externally accessible), which communicates with our Workspace API and send us back the data we want.

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There are four types of HTTP methods (requests):

  • GET - This method is used to fetch data.
  • POST - This method is used to add/apend data.
  • PUT - This method is used to edit/modify data.
  • DELETE - This method is used to remove data.

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Let's put API into practice

If you would like to see a visual example demonstration on how it works, you can view the Masterclass Activity Feed API in Workspace 365.

Perhaps you want to show a notification in the Activity Feed when you have received a new email from a specific user? With Power Automate (or Zapier), you can send a HTTP POST request via our Activity Feed API to the URL of the API endpoint. After sending the HTTP request, our Workspace API will receive a response from the API endpoint telling you if the request has been successful or not. Furthermore, you can imagine it is critical to protect the data that is being transferred between the HTTP request and HTTP response.

There are a few prerequisites:

  • Method - Define your HTTP method. In this example, it's POST. 
  • URL - Specify to where the request is being sent. This is the Workspace URL and API endpoint
  • API headers - An extra source of information for each API call you make, including:
    • Language - The API sets the HTTP response code and content type according to the requested format, in this case it's JSON.
    • Authorization - An API key or Provisioning Key, which is used to check if it is allowed to make the API request. 
  • With each request you make, you include a body (schema!) where you define who receives the notification, colors, action upon the notification, etc.

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How to use our API documentation

It is important to know the difference between the two Workspace API we have to offer and their corresponding API endpoints.

  • Workspace 365 API (environment)
    • Available to everyone and include API endpoints for: 
      • Activity Feed API (e.g. create activities for certain users).
      • Available User Apps (e.g. get all available apps for a given user).
      • Announcements API (e.g. create announcements).
      • App icons API (e.g. get a list of the app icons).
      • Integration credentials API (e.g. create or update integration credentials).
  • Provisioning API (instance)
    • Available to (self-)hosted partners and includes API endpoints for:
      • Environment API (e.g. create or delete an environment).
      • Licensing API (get a license summary and customer information).
      • Template API (e.g. and import an environment configuration).
      • Users API (e.g. create, update or activate a user). 
      • Exchange API (sets the Exchange services settings).
      • SharePoint API (sets the SharePoint services settings). 
      • Domain API (gets a list containing the domains registered with Microsoft 365). 

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