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The 10 Best API Integration Tools, Platforms, and Software (easy to use)

Zoha Shakoor

Content Strategist

June 21st, 2024

Application Programming Interface (API) is a set of rules or protocols that allows one software application to interact with another. An API integration tool is a software that facilitates the ‘talk’ or communication and data sharing between different software systems and applications. While manual API integration is possible, utilizing API integration tools enhances the efficiency and reliability of this process.

API integration tools bridge a gap between different aspects of business, from sales and marketing platforms to customer relationship management (CRM) and inventory systems. They act as intermediaries, enabling seamless communication and data exchange between software applications. Therefore, investing in an API integration tool gives businesses a strategic edge by providing a unified data architecture for faster and more accurate decision-making.

This blog will discuss the market’s leading API integration platforms and offer their benefits.

Why Do Businesses Need an API Integration Tool?

Businesses should use an API integration solution because it offers a centralized solution for managing integrations in one place. These platforms have features such as data mapping, transformation, workflow automation, error handling, and security protocols.

API integration software enhances operational efficiency by automating processes and workflows. The automation reduces manual data entry, eliminates duplicate data, and streamlines the workflows. This automation saves resources and helps businesses respond more to changing market conditions.

API integration tools are also essential in marketing and analytics as they serve as a channel for data flow. This free flow speeds up the development process, leading to faster product launches. Marketers can use integration platforms to gain a unified view of customers, making it easier to personalize campaigns. Real-time data insights enable data-driven decisions on the spot, which is crucial for staying ahead in the competitive marketing world.

These tools are scalable, meaning organizations can easily add new systems and data sources as the business expands. They can also handle data from various sources, including CRM, social media platforms, or internal databases. API Integration tools allow customization regarding how data flows between different systems. It means businesses can design workflows that perfectly match their specific marketing needs.

The Benefits of an API Integration Tool

Image showcasing the advantages of leveraging the API integration tools

Automation of Data Exchange

API integration tools automate the data exchange between diverse applications, enabling rapid updates whenever new information is received or modified. The automation ensures that data activities remain on track, keeping the organization informed about emerging trends related to customers, shipments, and other vital processes. Automation not only enhances productivity but also streamlines workflows, driving overall efficiency.

Improved Productivity

An API integration solution empowers business users to integrate APIs visually by eliminating the need for developers to design APIs through coding and manually create consuming applications. This streamlines the process, allowing teams to focus on more strategic projects and enhancing overall productivity and efficiency across various departments.

Code-Free Connectivity

API integration tools simplifiy connectivity with modern cloud applications, offering code-free integration capabilities. This connectivity enables businesses to effortlessly access and leverage data from diverse cloud sources, empowering them to use cloud tech to create growth.

Data Accuracy and Consistency

API integration tools reduce the risk of errors and discrepancies by synchronizing data between systems. These tools offer features like data mapping and synchronization, ensuring that information shared between systems remains reliable and aligned. It means businesses can trust that the data transferred between platforms is accurate and consistent.

Legacy Data Integration

API integration platforms enable businesses to leverage legacy data sources by creating in-house APIs. It empowers users to fetch and utilize data from these sources efficiently. The API creation also allows the integration of tried-and-tested processes and workflows.  

Types of API Integration Tools

Diverse API integration platforms exist, each offering a unique approach. By understanding the strengths of each type, organizations can make an informed decision that aligns with their specific integration requirements, technical expertise, and budget constraints.

Feature Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) Cloud Based APIs Open Source APIs Microservices-based APIs
Hosting On-premise Cloud-based On-premise or Cloud-based Cloud-based
Message Handling Complex routing, transformation, protocol translation Pre-built connectors Customizable Rapid data exchange, real-time event processing
Ideal For Large-scale integration projects API integration Flexibility, customization Dynamic microservices deployments
Technical Expertise Requirements High Minimal High Moderate
Setup &Maintenance Complex Simplified Complex Simplified
Security Management Complex Handled by provider Complex Simplified

Buying an API Integration Platform vs. Building an In-House Solution

When deciding on API integration strategies, teams must consider leveraging external API integration tools rather than managing APIs in-house. Each approach has its advantages and considerations.

API Integration Tools

API integration tools can speed up the process because of readily available connectors and templates. These tools also offer pre-built security features, scalability through cloud infrastructure, and managed maintenance, all on a subscription basis. This makes them an excellent fit for various integration scenarios, providing faster deployment and extensive support.

API integration software present a compelling solution for many businesses by streamlining complexity, offering scalability, and reducing the need for specialized resources; however, for organizations with specific needs, the customization and control offered by managing API integration pipelines in-house can be worth the additional effort and resources involved.

In-House API Integration Pipeline Management

On the other hand, in-house API management allows customized connections and high flexibility. However, it demands a deep technical understanding, significant development time, and ongoing maintenance, all of which require a dedicated team of skilled developers. This approach offers complete control over customizations but comes with its challenges, particularly around scalability and the constant evolution of API technologies.

In-house API integration management also becomes complex with frequently updated APIs from significant platforms. It necessitates continuous monitoring, updates, and testing to adapt to new versions. This is a resource-intensive process, contrasting with API integration platforms that handle these updates, freeing companies to concentrate on core business activities.

The 10 Best API Integration Tools

  1. Astera

Astera is an end-to-end integration platform enabling businesses to import public and private REST APIs without coding. Organizations can automate API integration processes by integrating these APIs with Astera’s built-in transformations and connectors. This automation saves businesses from manually running pipelines or handling tasks for each new transaction, streamlining workflow.

Key Features

  • Businesses can effortlessly aggregate, transform, and format data from APIs using a broad selection of built-in transformation
  • Pre-built connectors let organizations easily link to numerous cloud-based services and popular CRMs like Salesforce, supporting connections to any open or custom REST API.
  • The Platform’s branching capabilities enable the incorporation of conditional logic and digital transformations in API integration workflows. It also allows for different data processing methods based on the data type.
  • With simplified mapping, businesses no longer face the complexities of data architecture and storage platforms.
  • Drag-and-drop functionalities and a code-free interface make data handling straightforward in formats like JSON or XML.
  • Astera enables the designing and publishing of custom APIs.
  • It supports the consumption of custom or third-party APIs within API design to create an API mashup.
  • The Platform offers a flat learning curve so developers can use it immediately.
  1. Zapier

Zapier is not an integration platform but automates workflows between different web applications. Its drag-and-drop interface allows users to create workflows with unique logic, triggers, and rules.

Pros

  • A single trigger can automate multiple tasks and workflows.
  • It offers an auto replay function that automatically retries failed tasks.
  • The Platform manages large data loads to meet the expanding needs of an organization.

Cons

  • It does not offer a dedicated mobile app, preventing users from creating app integrations.
  • Setting up complex workflows requires users to have a more in-depth knowledge of Zapier.
  • The Platform restricts auto replay and other advanced features to its higher-tier plans.
  1. MuleSoft

MuleSoft is an API Integration software that provides tools and services to create, manage, and orchestrate APIs and integrations between software applications and systems.

Pros

  • It offers web service integration to various technologies.
  • MuleSoft provides pre-built connectors that can integrate with various enterprise systems.
  • Its management console allows users to monitor and manage all integrations in one place.

Cons

  • The functions used in the transformation connector do not prompt automatically.
  • The Platform does not offer up-to-date documentation.
  • It has a steep learning curve, and getting familiar with the tool takes longer.
  1. Boomi

Boomi integrates various apps and systems, regardless of location – in the cloud, on-premise, or a mix of both. It automates data transformation directly within its Platform.

Pros

  • The interface makes designing and programming easy.
  • It offers Boomi Atom Sphere, which handles the cloud admins.
  • Boomi is a low-code platform that saves time and resources.

Cons

  • The UI could be more intuitive and attractive.
  • The Platform does not offer an Excel file format to use.
  • From the development perspective, using the features can be challenging.
  1. IBM API Connect

BM API Connect manages organizations’ APIs, allowing them to create, secure, share, and monetize their APIs. This tool enables internal digital transformations and integrations across various cloud services.

Pros

  • The Platform offers an intuitive interface that creates and applies scope to operations.
  • Managing and creating multiple paths simultaneously is straightforward.
  • The analytics tab effectively identifies API errors.

Cons

  • Viewing each component individually requires extensive documentation on common design patterns and their implementation.
  • Making changes to an API and testing them often results in significant delays.
  • Deploying an API involves creating products, catalogs, organizations, etc., which can be confusing and complicated to navigate.
  1. Integrate.io

Integrate.io is a self-hosted platform for REST API integration. It supports data connectors like SQL Server, MySQL, and BigQuery and enables data sharing across applications, users, and pipelines.

Pros

  • The Platform supports various endpoints, enabling the interconnection of multiple legacy systems.
  • It offers a pre-built customization toolbox for creating SSIS Packages.
  • io collects data from different sources and makes it available for BI tools or other IT systems.

Cons

  • A lack of detail in fault records can make debugging hard.
  • Interaction between fields or packages could be faster.
  • There needs to be more documentation for advanced features.
  1. Oracle API Management

The Oracle API Platform offers a centralized solution for managing APIs, facilitating integration across different software systems, and eliminating the need for manual integration.

Pros

  • It allows for creating proxy services that developers can publish as APIs.
  • The Platform handles multiple users logging in simultaneously, ensuring that resources are distributed according to requirements.
  • Oracle supports queries for data using the created APIs and manipulates data in back-end databases through API endpoints.

Cons

  • It needs better control over which types of users can access specific API endpoints.
  • The service performs less quickly with third-party databases than when using Oracle Database.
  • Users need to have a certain level of expertise to use it effectively.
  1. Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure, often just called Azure, is Microsoft’s extensive cloud computing service. It allows users to pick between Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) options. Azure simplifies managing APIs across different environments, whether on Azure, another cloud, or on-premises.

Pros

  • The developer portal offers a neat UI for sharing APIs externally. Developers can sign up, request, and manage their subscriptions to products or APIs.
  • Azure allows customizations through API policies.
  • It provides analytics that is useful for identifying potential issues or unusual patterns in usage.

Cons

  • Azure demands expertise for the seamless integration of its various components.
  • Finding specific resources or tutorials for Azure can be difficult.
  • Automating the network infrastructure poses challenges, like creating an end-to-end API Management (APIM) setup.
  1. Tray.io

Tray.io is an automation platform that allows businesses to integrate and automate their workflows across various software applications.

Pros

  • io provides pre-built connectors, templates for popular software, and custom connectors.
  • It supports workflow automation with features like conditional logic, error handling, and parallel processing.
  • The Platform offers an easy-to-use use interface and flexible deployment choices.

Cons

  • The steep learning curve, especially for advanced features.
  • Advanced customization options are limited.
  • Depends on external services for specific functionalities.
  1. DreamFactory

DreamFactory is a cloud-based API integration tool with features like real-time stats, automatic documentation, authentication, and debugging tools. The Platform provides pre-built API connections, allowing developers to integrate different applications quickly.

Pros

  • It offers a low-code approach, which simplifies the API creation process.
  • The Platform can work well with various databases.
  • DreamFactory has a cross-platform capability that allows data integration from multiple sources.

Cons

  • The Platform does not offer customization capabilities for complex scenarios.
  • It is dependent on external services for specific functionalities.
  • The software has a steeper learning curve for beginners.

How to Select the Right API Integration Tool

Choosing the right API integration tool is essential for business operations. Start by identifying the requirements and objectives, such as the types of APIs you will consume, your team’s technical expertise, and the features necessary to enhance the workflows. When evaluating software, prioritize those with user-friendly interfaces, strong security measures, and flexible integration capabilities.

Steps and guidelines to choose the best API Integration Platform

Opt for a low-code or no-code automation software for seamless API integration across your stack, enabling the creation of workflows without coding. Such a platform should offer:

  • Comprehensive integration with cloud services like CRM and marketing automation for various functions, including marketing and finance.
  • Quick updates to connectors, allowing for new integrations and enhancements to meet evolving needs.
  • Automation capabilities with advanced logic enable tasks like updating CRM lead statuses based on specific conditions.
  • An intuitive, drag-and-drop interface that empowers non-engineers to build and manage workflows efficiently.
  • Scalability to accommodate growing data and process demands, with users typically increasing their platform use over time.
  • The advanced alerting and analytics to monitor workflow performance and data usage effectively.

Conclusion

API integration tools benefit businesses by eliminating manual work and complex tasks. Various options are available for these platforms, but choosing the optimal one requires an understanding of business objectives and client requirements.

As mentioned above in the blog, Astera is a complete API lifecycle management solution that enables API development as well as API consumption of custom and third-party APIs within data processes. With its REST API browser, you can import APIs, have a complete view of the API collection, and quickly connect external applications to your technology stack for uninterrupted data flow.

To learn more about managing API integration with Astera, download a free 14 day trial now or schedule a free demo!

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Authors:

  • Zoha Shakoor
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