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.
Developers and integrators use the Magento 2 web API framework to utilize the web services which interact 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 allocate 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 the 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 application can be set up as a web API. For this to work, it is important to define 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 multiple services in parallel.
Who Can Access Magento 2 API?
The various types of users that can gain access to an API in Magento 2 are as follows:
- Guest user
A guest user can access the resources with the help of anonymous permission.
- Administrator/Integration Access
With administrator or integration access, one can gain access to resources authorized by configuration.
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 are provided to establish the initial connection and to receive a token used for subsequent requests. The token can be used until it expires.
- 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
This is probably the simplest type of authentication of all the mentioned ones. In session-based authentication, the API framework makes use of a 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 in the Magento Admin Panel. If token-based authentication is being used for setting up a new service, a web services user must be created.
This can be done by going to System > All Users > Add New User.
Once done, a new integration must be set up. This can be done by going 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 Tasks Can be Performed Using Magento 2 Web APIs?
Magento 2 web APIs can be used to perform a number of activities such as integration with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), as well as with backend systems like Xero and Salesforce.
- 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 to assist clients in buying a product.
- Magento 2 web APIs can be combined with Content Management System.