API (Application Programming Interface)
Think of an API as being like a two way messaging service. You ask it a question and it comes back with an answer. For example, ask it how many new referrals of clients within the 60 to 65 age group there have been in a specified geographical district in the last quarter, and it will provide the number.
Similarly, ask it to create a new referral and it will send the relevant data to Charitylog and do the work for you.
The API has its own inbuilt 'syntax' that defines the way the questions are presented and extracts the data from the database. This bypasses the need to understand the more complex data structure in the database itself.
It can be useful for producing more complex reports, especially in conjunction with PowerBI (a more powerful version of Excel). This might also allow you to create a 'live' view of certain characteristics of your service to publish on your website.
Alternatively, you may be using another system for some other function but would like to send client details into Charitylog from this system. Again, the API has instructions built in that will let you search for and add the client and other data that you might want to send.
Our API is also closely tied to security. It behaves like any other user on the system and we enforce all the access rules which can be made within the system. This prevents the API being used as a means of inappropriately gaining access to data.
Clearly there are many third party applications where the use of the API would be beneficial. Whether you commission a suitable third-party software developer or have an inhouse team, the API gives you the opportunity to have Charitylog working seamlessly with your existing infrastructure.
If you need to migrate, bulk-update or cleanse data on a regular basis, you should consider Charitylog's Data Import Module, which is a powerful solution requiring less technical input than the API.