Published on December 30th, 20130
ProntoForms API explained
The ProntoForms platform is used by a wide variety of businesses. From mom-and-pop operations to global enterprises, our mobile form solution is able to adapt to the business process needs of our customers. One of the ways we’re able to deliver exactly what the customer wants is with the ProntoForms API. What is an API and how do you know if it’s a good fit for your business? Here’s a helpful overview.
API stands for Application Programming Interface. It’s a specification of how a system (like ProntoForms) can be interacted with from other systems.
A REST API stands for Representational State Transfer, a particular type or style of API that works by remote system calls. The ProntoForms API is a REST API.
Ubiquitous in cloud computing and SaaS (Software as a Solution) platforms, the REST API is:
- Operating system and programming language agnostic
- Uses common Web protocols, conventions and technology
- Compatible with firewalls, proxies, etc.
- Able to function with all programming languages
- Ideal for development and testing with many free tools available (command line tools, browser extensions, etc.)
An API client is a system module, script, command-line tool or browser extension that our customers use to communicate with the ProntoForms API. It is written, maintained and executed in a customer’s environment (behind the firewall) or on the Internet. An API client tends to be an intermediary or middleware software to bridge other systems to ProntoForms, with its functions triggered on a schedule, by a user or system action.
A common API client function would be to query data from a CRM system, format it into API messages, and transmit it to ProntoForms.
The ProntoForms usage of a REST API is in contrast to a Simple Object Access Protocol, or SOAP API, which is an older style of API. SOAP is commonly supported in enterprise and cloud systems that have been around for a few years. It is rarely adopted in newer systems, and is more complex and difficult to work with than REST.
ProntoForms customers that want to integrate a SOAP-based system should review our HTTP Template Data Destination. This feature allows you to create and send custom messages containing mobile form data over HTTPS, including messages in SOAP XML format.
What can I do with the ProntoForms API?
A ProntoForms API client can automate actions that are otherwise completed manually. The ProntoForms API can:
- Integrate your business data with your forms (ex. dispatch forms and update data sources)
- Integrate form data with your business (ex. list and retrieve records in all formats (PDF, DOCX, HTML) and export CSV (Excel) files
- Administering your account (ex. retrieve a list of users, create/update users, update passwords, delete user accounts)
Who are the ProntoForms customer types that use the API?
- They have data management needs that can’t be satisfied manually (ex. dispatch and data sources needs)
- They have has access to technical resources needed to write and maintain the client (ex. in-house, existing integrator or a project-based contractor)
- They require integration with a system that is not directly supported through data source/destination features
- They have data behind a firewall
What does an API developer need?
- ProntoForms API requirements: Intermediate developer skills for XML/JSON parsing and for handling HTTP requests and responses
- Customer system requirements: Business process understanding (details on data and data flow)
- Messages are sent over HTTPS (HTTP is not supported)
- “Basic” authentication is used (we do not currently employ Oauth)
- An API user is like a ProntoAdmin, they can delete data, users, etc.