Five innovative uses for APIs

Alex Johnston | 16th February 2018

Welcome to the ever-expanding world of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), a technology that pre-dates the internet itself.

The concept of a bunch of publicly accessible points within an application, that allows it to interact with other systems, is an idea that has been around since the birth of electronic data processing in the 1950’s.

The APIs we refer to today are a refined version of that concept and are beget from Roy Fielding and his contemporaries in the year 2000. The REST (Representational State Transfer) principals he created, introduced a standardised way that applications can speak to each other over the internet. This new set of rules opened many new possibilities for businesses and developers alike. Thanks Roy!

Some of the frontrunners in the tech industry such as eBay, Salesforce, Flickr, Twitter and Instagram are examples of companies that have used APIs to their true potential. By making parts of their system available to the masses, they have helped many businesses prosper through integration and the sharing of data.

Here at The Happiness Index, we are always looking for ways to help our clients get the most out of partnering with us. And we are always thinking of innovative ways to help share knowledge and data on a global scale.

If you are a client of ours, you already have access to a plethora of data through our own API. With a simple text editor and a few strokes of a keyboard, you too can create wonderful integrations with our system.

Let’s discover some ways you can achieve this:

Build a real-time dashboard

One of the best aspects of using APIs is the level of personalisation they grant you. You can build a custom dashboard to display only the data you are interested in. Google Data Studio is a great free tool which you can use to do this with; using no programming knowledge whatsoever. Feel free to walk up and down the ladder of abstraction at your leisure and exercise your creative insight.

Your dashboard will automatically update its content in real-time as results come in. No need to update databases manually anymore; put your feet up, relax and bask in the warm comfort of a great business decision.

Integrate with your CRM

Data in the modern world equates to power and good decision making. This way of approaching business has led to the surge in popularity of Customer Relationship Management systems. By accessing The Happiness Index API you can push your survey data through to your CRM and ensure your information is all in one place and your systems are integrated.

For example, you could be looking at a client record on your CRM and on top of seeing all the latest updates on their activity and status, you can see data from another system too, like our survey scores. This will massively help your sales team when contacting clients as they will have a layer of social context to aid decision making. Data is knowledge, knowledge is power.

Combine with other API’s

Why just use our API? There is a smorgasbord of options available and many other APIs out there to play with. By combining your data with other APIs, you can gain new flexible ways to display and interpret your results.

Google maps’ API provides a great way to display your data by location. You can populate a map with a visual representation of a data series of interest, to gain a unique geographical perspective.

The Twitter API gives you access to a huge amount of information about users all over the world. A staggering 15% of its users are now “bots” and that number is growing every day. For those who have never heard of Twitter bot; it is software that automatically performs actions such as tweeting, liking and messaging other accounts.

You too can create a Twitter bot to help you improve your social presence. Perhaps see how the number of positive or negative comments about your business is related to your internal survey scores. Or simply tweet adulation to your staff when you hit your internal targets.

Build a widget for your website

APIs can be accessed from anywhere anytime. You have the ability, to put your staff and client’s insights and comments straight onto your website… in real-time. Display your comments and scores, then populate your website with happiness – assuming you have the consent of course!

This is a great way to publicise key information that you want your customers and staff to be aware of. It’s also a great source of free PR.

Introducing our analysis app

We are currently developing a progressive web app where our clients will be able to view their question and survey data. We chose to make it progressive and lightweight to allow our clients to access data from any mobile device, anywhere in the world.

The app has no database and exclusively uses The Happiness Index API to pull through relevant statistics, which are displayed in graph format. This is just another way we can give our clients access to their key business insights.

The app is near completion and is due to be launched in the app store in April.

Looking to the future

We have come a long way since Roy’s REST principals were created. However, APIs remain at the forefront of how we share information globally. The ability to access different types of data through APIs has been a catalyst for creation all over the world.

For the end user, this simply means things are easier and more streamlined. We can share documents at work, view stocks and shares on our phones, and purchase products from anywhere in the world. Hiring a team of engineers and paying thousands of pounds to toil over the integration of two systems is a thing of the past. All you need is a laptop, a little documentation and an API key.

The Happiness Index is always looking for new and innovative ways for our clients to maximise their data. Our API is dynamic, accessible and secure. This paves the way for our clients to get creative and generate insights and opportunities of their own.

If you are interested in how you might use our API please get in touch to find out more. Equally, if you have a new integration idea that you’d like us to consider please let us know.