Definitions: What is an API? What is an API Connector?

A simple definition of API

An API (Application Programming Interface) is a bunch of software code that allows two applications to communicate with one another to access data.

Open APIs are available for use by anyone and are typically offered as a way to extend services. Obviously, this is all done in a secured and controlled manner.

In some cases, use of Open APIs is free, while others require membership or payment. There is no additional cost to use Citation HR Software's API.


The need for an API

Open APIs have become a powerful catalyst for digital transformation because they offer a rapid proliferation of capabilities and therefore contribute to the realisation of business value chains that deliver experiences, processes, or data to where they are needed.

At Citation HR, Citation HR Software does HR really well. It’s all we do. We believe that a single software system that tries to do everything, to cover every part of a business, might do most things adequately, but won’t do all of them really well. That’s why we stick to making our HR software the most powerful and flexible available.

While our clients love us for our HR capabilities, they also run other functions such as Payroll and Time & Attendance. We don’t do payroll. We don’t do time and attendance. We do HR.

For our clients it is important that Citation HR Software, as the best-in-class HR software for Australian and New Zealand businesses, can work well with the other systems they are using to share data between them.

We believe the best approach for businesses is to use a number of best-in-class systems, each extremely good at what it does, and seamlessly integrate them using API to share data.


APIs and API connectors

An API is the infrastructure that creates the potential for applications to share data.

To actually integrate two applications together, an API Connector has to be built between them.

To understand this better, let’s use the airport analogy.

Imagine that you live in Sydney and want to go to Auckland. In order to do this, each city needs to have an airport. That’s the API. Both having an airport is however not enough for you to travel between them.  You still need a route between them. That’s the API connector.

If you want to go from Sydney to Auckland, you need to wait for a route to be available. Alternatively, and if you have the adequate resources, you could build your own route: fly with your own private jet!

Indeed, once an application like Citation HR Software has published an API, developers can use it to integrate the application with another piece of software simply by building an API Connector – a relatively straightforward job once an API is available.

Now, if you are in Auckland and want to go to Melbourne but there is no direct route, you might be able to get there via Sydney. This network of airports (APIs) and routes (API Connectors) is called an API Ecosystem.

For background on Citation HR Software's ecosystem and list of data fields available, please see here:  Open API: Citation HR Software's API Ecosystem and Roadmap