While using Salesforce CRM and leveraging its potential in their businesses, companies have emerged with the requirement of integrating the CRM platforms with their systems. The best way to catch this is Salesforce API integration, which will make Salesforce a complete ecosystem where every business app and process coexist and perform independently, coordinating with each other.
Next, you might get stuck with a few questions, like what is an API in Salesforce? How to build Salesforce API Integration? What’s the role of a Salesforce API developer? What are the types of API integration? Well, you have landed on the right page.
This blog explains every topic relevant to API in Salesforce, its working, types, steps to build one, and more.
Let’s get started.
What is API in Salesforce?
Firstly, we will describe APIs in Salesforce.
Stands for Application Program Interface (API), Salesforce APIs are code or a feature in other apps that help programmatically access data in the Salesforce org environment simply and securely. Simply put, it connects different apps and permits them to work together.
You can lock down access to the Salesforce APIs for all the connected apps via API Access Control by Salesforce.
Let’s take an instance to get it better.
Scenario 1: Without Salesforce API
While exploiting the functionalities of Salesforce in your organization for CRM and other 3rd-party apps for inventory management, you have converted a profitable deal. Next, you are seeking to update your inventory for the same.
Actions You Perform
- Log into Salesforce manually to confirm the order details and the sold products.
- Note the product IDs, quantities (to be sold), and customer details.
- Log in manually to your 3rd-party inventory management system.
- Reduce the sold products’ quantities and update the inventory levels.
- At last, in Salesforce, manually update the customer record indicating the updated inventory.
Challenges You Face
- Extra time-consuming.
- Manual error risks.
- Synchronization issues between Salesforce and the inventory management system.
- Need for multiple logins and manual coordination between varied departments.
Scenario 2: With Salesforce API
Salesforce and third-party apps that you use for CRM and inventory management, respectively, are well-integrated using Salesforce API.
Actions You Perform
- A deal is converted/closed in Salesforce.
- A call is automatically triggered (by Salesforce AI) to the 3rd-party inventory management system.
- On the other edge, the inventory management system receives that API call and automatically updates the inventory levels.
- From the inventory system, a callback API to Salesforce updates the customer record showcasing updated inventory.
Benefits You Get
- Reduced/no manual errors.
- Seamless real-time updates.
- Streamlined processes that save time.
- Easy data consistency management.
- No need for manual coordination between varied departments.
In the first scenario, the need for manual intervention in multiple steps led to varied challenges and cons, while in the second one, the process got automated with the use of Salesforce API, which saves time and improves customer experience.
Benefits of Salesforce API
As we have discussed, APIs assist companies in accessing details or software potential from another source; this leads to more excellent value with no extra investment of money, time, and resources.
1. Automation and Efficiency
Salesforce API automates repetitive jobs, like updating records, data entry, or triggering workflows, which helps with efficient business processes.
2. Improved Customization and Flexibility
APIs let businesses enhance their Salesforce experience by offering flexibility to customize the platform per the business requirements.
3. Better Analytics and Reporting
Integrating Salesforce with other systems gives you a complete dataset that can be analyzed and reported within the Salesforce environment, leading to effective business strategies and insights.
With your growing business, the data volume and complexity increase. Here, APIs easily handle this, permitting the users to scale their operations without worrying about manual data transfer restrictions.
5. Cost Effectiveness
Automating business processes and data exchange via APIs can diminish your efforts and time needed to perform such jobs manually, leading to saved costs.
6. Data Accuracy and Consistency
With seamless communication between multiple systems, human error risks, like omissions or data duplication, are reduced, ensuring data consistency across platforms.
Well, this is not enough; Salesforce APIs benefit the users somewhat more, as below:
- Enhanced functionality.
- Retrieve, build, delete, and update records in Salesforce.
- Capable of integrating Salesforce data with other business systems.
- Smooth data flow between Salesforce and other apps.
- Allow metadata access.
- Improved customer experience.
- Seamless workflows.
How Does API Work in Salesforce?
The basic workflow of Salesforce API is explained below:
First, the user authenticates the external systems with Salesforce before making an API call using OAuth flows or session IDs.
After authenticating, the external system sends an API request to Salesforce, which specifies what operations should be conducted, such as updating an opportunity, retrieving contact records, etc.
Ahead, the Salesforce processes the API request by checking permissions, validating the data, and executing the essential operations. Then, it prepares the response.
Salesforce returns a response to the external system, which typically includes the requested data, confirmation stating the successful execution of the request, or details about errors that occurred.
Based on the type of configuration and API, data can be synced in real-time or stacks between the external system and Salesforce.
In simple terms, when two apps talk to each other, the bridge that connects them is the API. What happens is when one app needs to improve customers’ experience, wants to connect with other apps, and uses their assets (with their consent), it uses APIs.
When you allow third-party developers and enterprises to adapt to your technology in the newest possible way, becoming an API provider, you help them enhance customer experiences and streamline internal processes. APIs free you from building custom tools, manipulating their data, and customization of page layout.
Salesforce API is developed either on a basic REST API or SOAP API.
Let’s now elaborate on how APIs work in Salesforce.
Developers create the APIs that offer access to assets a company wants to share with others. These assets can be software, data, and brands that developers, 3rd-party services, or partners use. By plug-in their apps and data, developers access assets via the built API.
End users use apps and websites that exploit APIs to offer better experiences utilizing data and services of other sites and apps.
While building features on its CRM platform, Salesforce considers following an API-first approach. Users get an opportunity to reap the benefits of amazing in-built features.
But, as the companies may need extra assistance to build an expected and perfect platform for every user, Salesforce considers APIs here. By providing APIs, Salesforce customers take every available technology to create the needed capabilities for their platforms. This ensures providing an improved experience to the platform’s end users.
Types Of API Used In Salesforce
Salesforce holds the strength of varied operations that improve customer experiences. Similarly, it provides multiple integrations to developers via APIs, utilizing which they can build useful applications.
Let’s check out what types of APIs Salesforce is available in the market.
1. Rest API
Stands for Representational State Transfer, REST API is an architectural style leveraging HTTP methods, like POST, GET, DELETE, and PUT, for allowing two systems to communicate over the internet. Based on RESTful principles, REST API is a robust yet simple web service that showcases all kinds of Salesforce functionality via REST resources and HTTP methods.
REST APIs stay unaffected by the technology used. So, developers can write client and server apps in varied programming languages without impacting the API design.
REST API supports both JSON and XML and as it has a lightweight request and response framework, it would be best for writing mobile and web apps.
- Analytics Integration
- Mobile App Integration
- Custom Application Development
- Web Application Integration
- Third-Party Integration
- Easy for development and integration.
- Best choice of technology to use mobile apps and web projects.
When To Use:
- You can use REST API for specific projects with other Salesforce REST APIs.
- Developing, updating, deleting, and reading records.
- Use Connect REST API to create UI for B2B Commerce on Lightning, Experience Cloud sites, Chatter, or CMS-managed content.
2. SOAP API
Known as Simple Object Access Protocol, SOAP API is a standardized messaging protocol that is the basis of various modern APIs. Initially, it was Salesforce API, even before the adoption of Apex as the chief programming language. Using a Web Services Description Language (WSDL) file, this API defines the parameters carefully for accessing data via the API. It supports only XML and JSON formats; most of its functionality is also available through REST API. You can use the one that suits your business needs the best. SOAP API is best for writing server-to-server integrations as it uses the WSDL file as a formal contract between the consumer and the API.
There are two types of WSDLs:
1. Enterprise Web Services WSDL
For: Customers and independent software vendors
Objective: Build integration, particularly for their Salesforce Org.
Being well-secured, SOAP API is preferred to be perfect for systems that need to handle sensitive data, like online banking apps and financial services.
2. Partner Web Services WSDL
For: Development partners
Objective: Create generic integrations for varied Salesforce Orgs, which is used to access any connected organizations’ data.
- Custom UI
- Data Migration
- Custom Integration
- Custom Metadata
- Custom Workflow Automation
- It supports SOQL and SOSL query languages that can help retrieve specific records or conduct complex searches.
- The SOAP API permits the integration of Salesforce with various other systems, like CRM, ERP, or legacy systems.
- It’s best at retrieving metadata details about files, objects, triggers, layouts, workflows, etc.
When To Use:
- You can use SOAP API to create, update, retrieve, or delete records.
- Also, it helps conduct searches and can be used in any language that supports web services.
3. Bulk API
Bulk API is easy to use, so Salesforce developers use it to edit a vast volume of data with only one command. Also, whatever you want to do with your data edit, view, delete, or update, you only need to fire a single command to accomplish the objective. While working asynchronously, Bulk API ensures parallel request processing. It’s usually chosen to transfer a high amount of data.
- Submit bulk queries and later review the answers.
- Process large data volumes.
- Load data into your enterprise.
- Update thousands of records.
- Perform asynchronously, where you can submit requests and the latest come back for the outcomes.
- Bypass storage limits while importing large amounts of data in development environments.
Bulk API takes only 10 minutes to process each batch of up to 10,000 records.
- It doesn’t overwhelm the system’s resources by allowing developers to process data in batches, each holding multiple records.
- Holding error-handling power, Bulk API assists developers in effectively discovering and handling errors.
- It supports parallel processing that lets multiple batches process concurrently in a single job.
When To Use:
- Use it to query, insert, queryAll, upsert, delete, and update a huge volume of records asynchronously.
- You can perform any data operation with 2,000+ records to prepare, manage, and execute an asynchronous workflow leveraging the Bulk framework.
4. Sub API
You can integrate external systems with real-time systems using Pub/Sub API. For real-time events that trigger data modification, you can subscribe to them. The APIs utilize a publish-subscribe, or pub/sub, model in which users take subscriptions to channels that broadcast custom notifications or data changes. Besides, this model diminishes the API requests by avoiding the need for building frequent API requests to get data.
- Keep external sources in sync with the Salesforce data of a company.
- Allow the users to process the external system’s business logic in reverting to Salesforce data change.
- Let services asynchronously communicate with latencies.
Sub API has bi-directional streaming that lets events be subscribed and published in any order.
- In Salesforce, Pub/Sub API permits users to subscribe to real-time event streams and help integrate the external systems with real-time events.
- Subscription flow control of this API diminishes spikes in buffer load and public traffic.
- It fuses every functionality into a complete API.
- The Pub/Sub API helps users to publish and subscribe to request schema, request topic, and events information within only one API, without any requirement for creating a custom CometD Streaming API client.
- In the Apache Avro format, this API leads to the efficient delivery of binary event messages.
When To Use:
- When you need to integrate external systems with the events, Pub/Sub API would be the best choice.
- This API is a better option to publish and subscribe to the event messages in the Apache Avro format.
- With this API, you can make the most of the 11 programming languages supporting gRPC.
5. Analytics REST API
A web interface that assists client apps to invoke services using HTTP methods is the Analytics REST API, provided by Salesforce. It allows the users to access Salesforce data without using the user interface. You can conduct operations and integrate Salesforce with your app using this API and call Analytics REST API on any node running the analytics service. By writing it in Apex, you can also get custom methods from this API.
- Retrieve data from Dataset.
- Send queries straight to the Analytics Platform.
- Retrieve new recipe nodes.
- Retrieve data sets by queried and create dates.
- Filter the connected datasets by includeLive.
- Using this API, you can develop secondary apps, like web-based or mobile apps, and pull data from Salesforce.
- Invoke standard and custom invocable actions, like invoicing Apex, triggering quick actions, and sending email alerts.
- Access reports and dashboards, like running the reports and refreshing dashboards.
When To Use:
- The Analytics REST API allows the users to access Analytics assets, like lenses, datasets, and dashboards – programmatically.
- Also, you can directly send queries to the Analytics Platform.
- Create and retrieve lenses.
- Access datasets have been imported into the Analytics Platform.
- Access XMD information and manipulate replicated datasets.
- Retrieve a dataset versions list.
- Create and retrieve Analytics apps.
- Build, update, and retrieve Analytics dashboard. Retrieve the dependencies list for an app.
- Determine the features available to the users.
6. Metadata API
Salesforce organizations can choose to go with the Salesforce Metadata API used to create, deploy, delete, update, or retrieve customization information for Salesforce organizations. This information includes custom page layouts and definitions. The developers who need to perform such jobs can use Metadata API. The API aims to enable flawless migration of every new change from the testing Sandbox environment into the live production one. It offers access to metadata about Salesforce fields, objects, and other components, allowing businesses to develop custom interactions, workflows, and apps.
At a time, Metadata API can deploy and retrieve 10,000+ files or 400 MB.
- Update Visualforce pages
- Export customizations as XML files
- Best for custom field creation in a page layout
- Modify existing customization
- Salesforce MetaData API lets the developers create, delete, and update metadata components within a Salesforce environment.
- With this API, the developers can track the changes in the metadata component over time, which helps in version control and backups of the metadata configurations.
When To Use:
- It helps in deploying, retrieving, creating, deleting, or updating customizations for your enterprise.
- Commonly, Metadata API is used to migrate the changes from testing or sandbox org to your production environment.
- It aims to manage customization and create tools to handle the metadata model.
7. Apex REST API
A web service using which the developers create REST-based web services using Apex code is known as the Apex REST API. Via REST, this API exposes Apex. The developers can create custom endpoints to access data and execute the custom logic with this API.
The primary difference between the REST API (force.com REST API) and the Apex REST API is the generic API by Salesforces. At the same time, the latter is an API that developers write in Apex to offer custom methods.
- Apex REST API is good for creating, updating, deleting, and reading (CRUD records.
- It helps access details about an organization’s limits.
- You can use this API to access reports and dashboards.
- If you want to invoke standard and custom invocable actions, like sending email alerts, Apex, and triggering speedy actions, you use Apex REST API.
- You can retrieve and update specific data, object metadata, and more with this Salesforce API.
When To Use:
One can use Apex REST API to expose Apex classes and methods that let external apps access your code via REST architecture. Besides, it supports Session ID and OAuth for authentication.
8. Apex SOAP API
The first choice of a Salesforce API developer and architect, Apex SOAP API, best reveals the Salesforce Apex code and architecture using SOAP. Besides, this API eases the implementation of a few Apex classes and methods as web services to call external services or apps. If you are still looking for a standard SOAP API to meet your integration needs, you can choose this API.
- APEX SOAP API is best at creating, updating, deleting, and retrieving records.
- You can use this API to perform searches and fetch the outcomes from an external app.
- This API lets you easily interact with the Salesforce platform using a standard messaging format.
- Apex SOAP API helps integrate Salesforce with other systems, like CRM, ERP, or legacy systems.
When To Use:
- SOAP API helps expose Apex methods as SOAP web services APIs, easing the external applications to access the organization’s code via SOAP.
- This API supports OAuth 2.0 and Session ID for authentication.
9. Tooling API
The developers use a software interface, the Salesforce Tooling API, to create interactive tools and apps for Lightning Platform apps. This API is also preferred to fetch metadata, like Apex classes, custom objects, triggers, and custom fields. Developers can access tooling API using SOAP or REST.
The difference between metadata API and tooling API is that the former best suits simple migrations. At the same time, the latter offers developers a platform for code coverage, debugging, auto-complete, and more.
- Create custom development tools, such as the developer console.
- Get the metadata about the field of an object.
- Retrieve metadata of standard and custom object properties.
- Fetch metadata, like Apex classes, custom objects, custom fields, and Apex triggers.
- Integrate with 3rd-party tools and automate deployment.
- Get the code coverage information of Apex triggers and classes.
When To Use:
- Salesforce developers can use Tooling API to create custom development tools for the Platform apps.
- It builds exclusive development tools for specific services or apps.
- The SOQL functionalities of tooling API for various metadata types help retrieve small metadata pieces.
- Tooling API is best suited for developing interactive apps as smaller retrieves boost performance.
10. GraphQL API
When you need to develop scalable and responsive apps with only a single request and return the data per the client’s needs, GraphQL API would be a better choice. This Salesforce API is secure and retrieves data per user access.
When To Use:
- Resolve the challenges you faced with traditional REST APIs all through resource aggregation, field selection, and schema introspection.
- Diminish payload size via field selection and return only the fields required to respond to the query.
- GraphQL API reduces the round trips between the server and client through aggregations and returns a cluster of relevant resources within a single response.
- The schema introspection allows users to see the fields, objects, and types they can access.
User Interface API:
The Salesforce developers use a set of tools, the Salesforce UI API, to create custom UIs for Salesforce apps. It includes a JS library, Visualforce components, and Apex controllers. Besides, the API makes custom Lightning components and Visualforce pages.
- Create custom web apps and native mobile apps.
- Respond to metadata modifications, like picklists, sharing, field-level security, and layouts.
- Provides metadata and data in a single response.
- Build UIs that ease users to work with list views, records, actions, and more.
- The User Interface API improves efficiency, productivity, and seamless data flow.
- Besides, you can use this API for enhanced customer experience, flexibility, and scalability.
With User Interface API, you don’t need to pass any query to find the records separately in your UI.
When To Use:
- For Salesforce and the web, you can build Salesforce UI for native apps and custom web applications using the UI API that Salesforce uses to create for the web, iOS, mobile web, and Android.
- You can also build user interfaces to help users work with actions, list views, favorites, records, etc.
Among what we mentioned, SOAP API, Bulk API, REST API, and Pub/Sub API, all these APIs are all mostly used, and together, they form the Salesforce data APIs. These APIs aim at manipulating Salesforce data or subscribing to the data changes. The other APIs perform various things, like creating custom development tools, customizing page layout, or manipulating Salesforce data’s subset.
How to Enable API Access in Salesforce?
In Salesforce, you can enable API access in two ways using:
- Enable API Access in the User Profile in Salesforce.
- Navigate to “Setup.”
- Go to “Manage users” and click “Profiles.”
- Click “Edit” on the profile you want to update.
- Scroll down, and you will see “Administrative permissions.” From there, check the “API enabled” box.
- Click “Save.”
The average web app or API has around 26.7 serious vulnerabilities.
2. Permission Sets
- Enable API Access with System Permissions in Salesforce.
- Navigate to “Setup.”
- Go to “Manage users” and click “Permission sets.”
- Choose the permission set you are updating.
- Go to “System” and select “System permissions.”
- Click “Edit” and check the “API enabled” box.
- Click “Save.”
How To Build API Integration in Salesforce?
In Salesforce, to create an API integration, you need to follow below steps:
- In Salesforce, develop a connected app.
- Connect to the REST API.
- With REST API, manipulate data.
To create a connected app in Salesforce, you can:
1. Click New under Connected Apps.
2. Fill in the following information:
- Enable OAuth Settings
- Add Manage User Data via APIs
- Add Perform requests yourself at any time (refresh_token, offline_access)
- Click Save and continue.
How Can Emizentech Help?
This post discussed the Salesforce API, how it can benefit an enterprise, how it works, steps to enable API access, conducting API integration, and more.
You can also get the most out of Salesforce APIs and witness improved customer service, efficiency, ease of integration, and saved time and cost, which would greatly help your business.
Techsavvy would find it easy to work with APIs, perform Salesforce API integration, etc. But, non-technical people would need technical assistance to attain these jobs. They may hire a Salesforce consulting company to get the proper guidance to reap the benefits of the Salesforce API and take their business to a level ahead.
Well, at this point, you should see nowhere else than Emizentech, a leading Salesforce development company. Our Salesforce developer can help you with everything relevant to the APIs, like
- Build workflows and custom connectors for integration of data.
- Create and achieve development objectives and timelines.
- Maintain integrity and security of app software.
- Troubleshoot and fix the bugs.
- Test the functionality and stability of the app.
- Analyze the brands’ processes and craft CRM workflows in Salesforce, etc.
Considering the future, while you will go out in search of innovative ways to expand your business, you will meet APIs in your journey to success. With the growing digital world, you will see the shift in technologies, like wearable technology, IoT, and the emerging new generation with the easy reach of the Internet. Amidst this, only API’s power, potential, and opportunity will likely survive and help you spread.
Connect with a Salesforce API developer today and complete your project within the timeline, attaining uncompromised outcomes.