What Is an API?

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Application Programming Interfaces are a standardized way of requesting or sending data between systems. For example, if you open up the Uber app on your phone, you’ll see a map. You might notice the map looks a lot like Google Maps. That’s because it is Google Maps. The Uber app uses a Google Maps API APIs (application programming interfaces) are a set of protocols and definitions developers use to build and integrate application software. APIs act as the connective tissue between products and services. to bring data from Google Maps into the Uber app.

Similar examples are everywhere in technology. Your phone, smart TV, and favorite website all use APIs to get your requested information. Once you become more familiar with APIs, you start noticing them everywhere.

What You'll Learn

After completing this article, you’ll know how APIs work in Unqork.

Everyday APIs

To better understand APIs, think about a bank’s automated phone system. Many banks let you check your account balance with a phone call. To do this, you dial the bank’s phone number. An automated voice asks you a series of questions, which you answer with your keypad. Your answers tell the system which information you need. Once you give the system the necessary information, you receive your account balance.

APIs work in a similar way. One system (you) requests data between another system (your bank) through an API (the automated phone system). The bank's phone system requires you to provide information so it knows what data to send you. Similarly, an API needs parameters to know what information to send or receive.

APIs and Unqork

In Unqork, you can use APIs for many things, like retreiving Google Maps data or populating a dashboard. There are two API types: internal and external.

The internal Unqork API manipulates data from the Unqork database. For example, retrieving submission data to display on a dashboard. You access these API calls using the Plug-In, Dropdown, or Multi-Select Dropdown components.

Unqork also uses external APIs. Popular external APIs include Google Maps, DocuSign, and SendGrid. Whenever you need data from an outside source, use an external API. You can call data from these outside sources using the Plug-In, Dropdown, or Mult-Select Dropdown components.

API Calls

APIs perform specific actions called API calls. More common Unqork API calls include:

  • List Module Submissions.

  • Get Module Submissions.

  • Create Module Submissions.

  • Execute Module.

You can find a full list of calls at developers.unqork.io. You can also see Unqork’s API call list in the Plug-In component from the Internal Services drop-down:


Each API call has its own set of parameters needed to make the call. Parameters are the required data you need to execute the call correctly.

For Unqork’s internal API, examples include module and submission IDs. Each module has a unique module ID. Likewise, each end-user End-Users are the individuals accessing an application through Express View. In most cases, end-users are the customers using the product. submission has a unique submission ID. Knowing these IDs lets you access data from the Unqork platform.

For example, Get Module Submissions' parameters include the module ID of the submission module. To retrieve a specific module submission, you need both the module ID and submission ID. Required and optional parameters vary depending on the type of call you make.

API Response

Every API call returns a response. The response tells you if your call was successful or if it failed. A successful call transfers the data as you configured it and failed call doesn't.

You can find the API response in the web browser's DevTools Console, in the form of an HTTP status code. To learn more about these status code categories, visit the How Do APIs Work? topic.