Zuora announces REST APIs

Developers have many factors to consider when building an application programming interface. Best practices usually dictate an emphasis on simplicity, but actually designing an API that is simple and still comprehensive enough to connect essential software components is a complex task. Another issue is that what would be accessible to one user might not be as simple to another. Zuora, an Estuate partner, recently addressed this issue with the release of a new set of REST APIs to supplement its existing SOAP APIs.

Zuora offers a customer subscription management solution, making it easier to track new signups and upgrades as well as pricing and payments. The platform integrates with e-commerce business websites, making the accessibility of Zuora's API a particularly notable benefit.

single image

One of the issues Zuora sought to address with the launch of REST APIs was the difference in expertise among its customer base. According to Ben Wu, the organization's senior director of product marketing, large enterprises found the existing SOAP APIs to be accessible, but small- and medium-sized businesses had more specific demands.

"The APIs are use case-based, so they hide the complexities of the Zuora object model - in other words, one logical API call can often 'do it all' by solving an entire integration use case," Wu wrote, expanding on the value of the 22 new REST APIs. "We've also provided sample code, SDK libraries, docs, and a developer test console."

Wu also emphasized that the new APIs would not replace existing ones but are designed to serve as a complement to existing coding tools. This highlights the importance of offering solutions for a wide range of needs, particularly considering REST and SOAP each have strengths and weaknesses.

Application development: REST or SOAP APIs?

Both REST and SOAP APIs are protocols for communication between Web applications, but there are significant differences between the two. REST services, for example, are simple to integrate with most web pages because it relies on XML. As TechTarget noted, this makes REST an attractive option for businesses with fewer development resources or for teams working under time constraints.

SOAP offers support for a number of technologies, including WSDL, XSDs and WS-Addressing, making it the better option for complex applications. Many transaction and Web security systems use SOAP, while REST is used for simpler operations such as CRUD cycles. Other key differences include:

  • REST services are stateless
  • REST may be more beneficial for restricted-profile devices
  • SOAP requires less plumbing code at the application layer
  • SOAP is beneficial for handling asynchronous processing

Application development: REST or SOAP APIs?

API publishers face significant challenges when releasing APIs. Because third-party developers are effectively the consumers of these protocols, it is important to foster understanding of the API's purpose and provide robust documentation for the how it is designed. According to Dr. Dobbs contributor Alex Gaber, APIs have become the initial interaction for enterprise development teams forming partnerships. While such agreements once required extensive data sharing, APIs are able to bridge the gap in less time. As a result, developers should provide robust support and documentation alongside these protocols.

Focusing on third-party developer experience will be crucial, and, just as with business users, meeting these needs may require a continuous feedback approach. Estuate can be a valuable partner for deploying new APIs because it not only creates documentation of its processes, but uses an iterative development process to incorporate feedback on an ongoing basis. This ensures that APIs are accessible to partners and other key stakeholders that will need to use them.

Estuate's experience in integrating enterprise applications with SAP and Oracle technology makes it a valuable partner for many integration projects. As a leading integrator, Estuate is able to determine the best approach using Web services and third-party API calls. This ensures that customers' integration projects benefit from fast time-to-deployment and low cost. Additionally, Estuate's Zuora-trained resources allow it to work with the company's REST and SOAP APIs as well as determine which option would facilitate the smoothest integration process.

This article is brought to you by Estuate, leaders in IT services.