API 101: Email Integrations and More!
If you’re a regular visitor to this blog, you may have noticed that Xink API is a common topic of discussion (if you’re not a regular visitor, don’t worry – we’ll provide links!). The reason for this is simple: our API not only makes Xink Integrations possible, it makes Xink Apps and custom integrations possible as well. And at the end of the day, it is email integrations that make Xink the platform that it is. Email signature management, anywhere, any time, across platforms. That is the promise of Xink.
Suffice to say, we’re quite proud of our API. It sits at the very heart of our email signature management platform. Without it, many of the features and benefits that Xink offers would not be possible. But it occurs to us that the layperson – that is, the marketing manager or project manager who will actually be using Xink – may be a bit lost in all of this language about APIs and Active Directories. So we figured, why not break it down so that it’s nice and simple? Well, that’s what we’re going to try and do. Here goes nothing!
What is an API?
API stands for Application Program Interface. In practice, this interface will include a set of various routines, protocols, and tools that allow developers to build software applications. Think of an API as the building blocks of a software program. It will dictate and specify how software components should interact. Just as a graphic interface makes it easy for you to access programs and files on your computer, an application program interface makes it easy for developers to build applications and programs. For our clients’ benefit, we provide developers open access to our Xink Developer API. Why? We’ll get to that in a minute.
What is Active Directory?
Active Directory is a directory service developed and provided by Microsoft. It is used on Windows domain networks, and is included in most Window server operating systems. It enables the management and storage of information at administrative levels, and keeps track of users and user privileges. In even simpler terms (remember, this article is intended for the layperson, not the IT professional), Active Directory is a repository of information. Think of a directory – it is something that is used to store and compile data. That’s what Active Directory is. It gets mentioned around here a lot because the Microsoft email platforms are quite popular (Exchange and Office 365), so it gets a lot of play with the Xink platform. With that being said, do you, as a marketing or project manager, need to know much about it? No! That’s the job of IT. But we figured we’d explain what it is!
What Does the Xink API Enable?
Now, back to the question we posed earlier. Why do we provide access to our API? There are multiple reasons. Our API enables Xink to speak and sync with third-party applications like Salesforce, Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail, G Suite, Active Directory, and more. Our API also allows companies to pull their email signatures out of Xink and use them in other applications (or vice versa). For example, one of the leading housing and real estate companies in Denmark, is using the Xink API for data extraction. Theu pull out the signatures in Xink and use them in their own system when sending email out on behalf of the users. So no matter if it is an automatic email sent through the system or an email sent manually in Outlook, they still look exactly the same.
Again, Xink’s bread and butter is email integrations. With our API, we enable you to feed and maintain user information based on your own system’s data, even if it happens not to reside in Active Directory. (Though if it is in Active Directory, we can help too. That’s what Xink’s ADExport is for.) By offering our Xink Developer API to our clients (in particular, their development and IT teams), we make it possible for companies to create custom applications that suit their specific needs. Xink Apps provides the ability to make your own apps to your own specifications. What’s better than that?
Leave the Heavy Hitting to the Experts
We’ve done our best to explain what an API is. If you’re still a bit lost, don’t worry. It’s worth repeating that as a marketing or project manager, you don’t really need to know the details or intricacies of application program interfaces and third-party programs. Just know that an API is a set of building blocks for developing programs, softwares, and applications, and that with Xink API, email integrations are made easy. Leave the rest to the heavy hitters!