To ensure that these different tools do not make more work than they take away, interfaces/APIs (Application Programming Interface) and webhooks help out by linking the applications in a highly automated way.

We present the differences as well as the advantages of software integration.

The difference between interfaces and webhooks

Software interfaces and webhooks have in common that they allow different software systems to share information with each other. They differ in the way they transfer information. While interfaces allow two-way communication between software services when a request is made, webhooks allow one-way communication. That is, a web service is activated by some kind of trigger and then performs an action.

Webhooks

Webhooks allow for a simple action or notification to occur. For example, when a prospect fills out the Eturnity solar calculator, a trigger is set. The web service is then tasked with triggering an action when something happens in application 1. This is done by calling a URL and transmitting data from it. This, in turn, leads to a reaction in application 2. The web service acts as a kind of letter carrier. In practice, this can be, for example, an entry in the CRM system with the previously defined data or the entry of a newsletter contact.

Application 2 can also use alternative polling to ask Application 1 (Post) whether there are any messages.

Setting up webhooks in general can be done with little effort and, depending on the system, without any programming knowledge, because it is virtually only a URL that is used.

Interfaces / APIs

With interfaces / APIs, on the other hand, application 1 can communicate with application 2 and vice versa at any time desired. This can be in the form of data exchange or even in the form of triggering functions in the other application. To stay with the postal example, we speak of the mailbox in terms of the interface. For example, the user of application 1 has a message and the corresponding address. The message arrives in the mailbox (API) and user 1 knows that the message will also arrive at user 2. User 2 can do the same.

However, it is also possible to specify exactly what information it needs, for example, from application 1 (predefined form), so that the user of application 2 can understand and use it and vice versa.

Each software provider decides for himself if he wants to allow an interface connection. Eturnity, for example, allows APIs as well as webhooks in their software solutions, depending on the requirements.

Advantages and disadvantages

Without going into too much technical detail, there are general advantages and disadvantages of such interfaces and web services. The advantages of interfaces of all kinds are quickly enumerated:

  • Automation: (after any programming effort): once integrated, manual work is primarily eliminated, which is made possible by the automated procedure. This makes work more efficient, e.g. by reducing media discontinuity, faster response times, etc.
  • Virtual centralization: If different applications can work together once, more structure is added to the company processes.
  • Individualization options: Depending on which data and actions are needed, the interfaces can be set up as required (only if it is not a standard interface).
  • Extension of the functional range: The distribution of the own software becomes larger, since other applications can use the functions and vice versa.

Disadvantages concern then rather the development range, are to be listed at this point however briefly generally:

  • Initial expenditure: With individual interfaces first, a programming effort comes about. With Webhooks, the setup expenditure.
  • Adjustments with changes: There is a dependency, if one merges two applications with different developers. If necessary, one must adapt something, should an application change.

Interfaces at Eturnity

We at Eturnity also receive inquiries about interfaces or webhooks. The requests differ, but the most popular are the Eturnity standard interfaces. They are ostensibly used to connect all relevant information from the Eturnity application directly into customer systems, such as: SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, or Salesforce. In addition, integration with the Zapier webhook is also available.

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Our customer service and support team will be happy to advise you in detail if you are interested:

Mail: beratung@eturnity.eu
Tel.: +49 (0) 7543 989 29 630

Image teaser: © Maria_Savenko – stock.adobe.com; © kras99 – stock.adobe.com

portrait-bettina-enser-head-of-marketing-team-eturnity

Bettina Enser

Bettina Enser is responsible for marketing and communications at Eturnity AG. She provides insights into topics related to the marketing of renewable energy systems. If you have any questions regarding the article, please contact bettina.enser@eturnity.ch.