What is a Salesforce API?

Application Programming Interfaces allow different organizations and businesses to connect their web applications. What Salesforce does is to act as a hub where all these applications connect to.

Salesforce then becomes the center of data analysis, automation, dashboard, workflow, and reporting. APIs allow different applications to communicate and thereby share data. This makes them readily accessible to other systems on the web.

Platform APIs

Salesforce provides APIs that allows access to an organization’s information. Salesforce APIs are powerful yet simple and they make use of secure connections.

Developers can use a number of APIs so that they can integrate their systems with that of the Salesforce organization. Even though they all have one singular overall function (i.e. making data from Database.com and Force.com accessible to different apps), each of these APIs have a key difference.

Salesforce currently has the following APIs:

  • SOAP API
  • Metadata API
  • Apex API
  • Apex SOAP
  • REST API
  • Bulk API
  • Apex REST
  • Streaming API
  • Chatter API

SOAP API

This is the oldest API in Salesforce. It is used to integrate an organization’s data with other applications. It is used in an enterprise setting. It is oriented on accessing data as well as in manipulating records.

Metadata API

Let’s you manipulate layouts, classes, Apex triggers, and Visualforce pages. You don’t just retrieve these layouts, but you make changes.

Apex API

This adds more functionality than just uploading Apex classes. This API allows you to run tests, compile classes, and even execute anonymous code blocks.

Apex SOAP

Strictly speaking this is not an API. Apex SOAP enables you to use SOAP to expose different Apex methods.

REST API

This API enables you to access objects in your organization. If you need to make a point-to-point call then this is exactly the API you need. It accesses metadata is only read.

Bulk API

This works with bulk data (e.g. 500,000 records at a time). It’s an API for special purposes whenever you loading a huge amount of data.

Apex REST

This API Apex classes so that you can build you a REST API using Apex.

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