An API allows for an application or software to be programmed, or controlled – usually by another application or software system. The letters mean “application programming interface”.
Perhaps a good metaphor from daily life is a remote control. You can use a remote control to operate a TV set from a distance. That is more useful than having to walk up to the TV every time you wish to change the channel or volume.
Now, with the Eulogica API, you can also add remote-control to Eulogica.
The TV set can be remote-controlled because it has an interface to allow for this. In programming terms, the TV set is the system to be programmed or controlled, and the remote control is the controlling device. They can interact because there is an interface for this – an infra-red receiver on the TV set.
An interface can offer just one feature, or a list of features. Depending on the design, perhaps it gives access to every single feature that exists in the system to be programmed or controlled. However, more often it makes just a subset available.
In the TV example, the interface might allow for perhaps a few core functions – like turning the power on or off, increasing or decreasing the volume, and changing channels. Yet the TV set might have many more features which are not accessible remotely.
For a business software application, an API can allow for hundreds of functions to be controlled from afar – for example, looking up a product, showing a picture, or raising an invoice. Still, that is unlikely to represent all the possible functions of the software.
APIs for interacting with software have been around for decades, but their number and importance have started to take off recently. This is partially due to the importance of the World Wide Web, but perhaps even more so due to the explosion in use of mobile devices.
At the same time, people and businesses and even governments are starting to expect that disparate systems interact better. Across the world, there is a growing sensation that once information exists in a database in the first place, it should become easily available for those who need it – day and night, and increasingly via web and/or mobile devices.
Eulogica has been accessing other APIs for many years – for example when integrating with accounting systems – but in the past it did not offer one by itself. Now, however, Eulogica also has an API.
Our objective with the Eulogica API is that it should be possible to use it to remote-control most operations related to contacts, products, events, tasks, funerals and sundry orders. One obvious example is that a web server will be able to query Eulogica for data, and show the results on a web page – like, for example, a menu of upcoming funerals. Another is that funerals or sundry orders can be created and manipulated by a web server, or by mobile devices, in response to a user’s clicks or touches. From the Eulogica program’s perspective, there is no longer a person operating it, but another application.
This involves not only a technological step, but a major shift in philosophy. Until now, our assumption has been that Eulogica is being operated by a person. We have been expecting that someone is accessing Eulogica by way of a keyboard and mouse (for Eulogica 6), or possibly by touch (for Eulogica 7).
The future looks different. With the new API, it is possible to operate Eulogica in lots of ways never seen before.
From a business perspective, this means the Eulogica team will no longer be in control. Instead of designing and supporting every function and integration, we take on a new role as guardians of the API. Along with developing and maintaining the core of Eulogica, we provide documentation and support for developers who wish to connect to and make things happen in Eulogica.
We will develop apps, web sites and other products and functions with our Eulogica API – but we also expect that other developers and Funeral Directors will be creating many more solutions based on Eulogica and the API – and we will assist them to our best abilities.
Hence we expect to see, for example, lots of different ways that funerals can be entered on the web. That is, on-line booking and ordering solutions created by a variety of companies, designers and developers. Regardless how it looks or who is behind it, those funerals can be inserted to Eulogica.
How is the API offered and installed? Technically, it is a small application, to be installed and run in parallel with the core Eulogica program. It is offered as an add-on module for clients who are interested.
For clients who make use of Eulogica Cloud, the API will run on the Eulogica cloud servers along with everything else. For clients who prefer running things locally, the API can also stay there, on their servers.
The Eulogica API is available now, and has already been used to create exciting new solutions, extending Eulogica in ways never seen before. We hope it will help to open up new possibilities and unleash creativity around the Funeral Profession!