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How to use Magento 2 API

In the world of computer programming, an API (application programming interface) is basically a set of tools, protocols and routines required for building software as well as applications. The major purpose of API’s is to determine the way various software components communicate within the system. Hence APIs are commonly used to develop graphical user interface (GUI) components.

The developers and integrators use the Magento 2 web API framework to utilize the web services which interacts with the Magento system. The important features of the Magento 2 API framework are as follows:

  • Just like Magento 1, the latest version of Magento also supports Representational State Transfer (REST) and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)
  • Every account and integrator has been allocated resources that they can access. It is the job of the API framework to check if the call has the required authorization to execute the request.
  • The Magento 2 API framework is established using create, read, update, delete (CRUD) and search model. At present, it does not support web hooks.
  • In order to save mobile bandwidth, the Magento 2 API framework allows field filtering of the web API responses.
  • By writing few lines of XML code, any 3rd party applications can be set up as web API. For this to work it is important to define the various XML attributes and elements in webapi.xml file.
  • As Magento 2 API framework uses integration style, an individual web API call is capable of running many services in parallel.

Who can access Magento 2 API?

The various types of users that can gain access to the API in Magento 2 are as follows:

  • Guest user

A guest user can access the resources with the help of anonymous permission.

  • Administrator/Integration 

With administrator or integration access one can gain access to resources authorized by configuration.

  • Customer

Customers can gain access to resources using anonymous or self permission.

What are the different types of authentication available?

The various types of authentication that can be used in Magento 2 are as follows:

  • Token-based authentication

In this type of authentication username and password is provided to establish the initial connection and to receive the token which is used for subsequent requests. The token can be used till it is expired.

  • OAuth-based authentication

With the help of OAuth-based authentication, 3rd party applications can gain access to resources approved by the resource owners.

  • Session-based authentication

It is the simplest type of authentication among the three. In session bases authentication, the API framework makes use of the user’s current session to authorize the access for the requested resource.

How to use Magento 2 API?

In order to get started, one must register the web service on the Magento admin.  If token-based authentication is being used for setting up a new service, a web services user must be created on the Magento Admin. This can be done by choosing System > All Users > Add New User.

Once done, a new integration must be set up on Magento Admin. This can be done by choosing System > Integration > Add New Integration.  It is important to place restrictions on the resources the integration can gain access to.
To configure the authentication, user must use SOAP or REST client.

What are the tasks that can be performed using Magento 2 web APIs?

The Magento 2 web APIs can be used to perform a number of activities such as:The Magento 2 web APIs can be integrated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). It can also be integrated with back end systems like Xero and Salesforce.

  • The Magento 2 web APIs can be used to develop a shopping app. One can design a traditional app that any user can download on their mobile devices or an app that can be used an employee to assist clients for buying the product.
  • The Magento 2 web APIs can be combined with Content Management System.
  • JavaScript widgets can be created using Magento 2 web APIs in the admin panel. AJAX calls can be made to access the services using these JavaScript widgets.

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