When choosing an API or data feed solution for your company, you may be wondering which solution is right for you. This article will help you make your decision.
Choose the best option for your company in a summarized table.
To start, we’d like to make a simple analogy: Imagine you want to eat a burger and you only have two options.
- The first is a drive-thru fast food restaurant within 5 miles of your house. You get in your car, drive to the restaurant, order your burger, fries, and drink, and drive back home. This process can either happen fast or slow, depending on the speed of your car, the traffic, the amount of food you are ordering, and many other factors.
- Second, you previously bought all the ingredients from the grocery store to cook at home. You can customize and feed as many family members as you want. You can even save the food for later. But the final result depends on your cooking skills, your capacity to store the ingredients in your fridge, the quality of your appliances, and others. When you are ready to consume more food, you don’t have to go anywhere.
In this analogy, we can consider the API as the drive-thru option and the data feeds as the cook-at-home one, but instead of cooking a burger, you’re collecting data.
Speed of Ingestion
The first real challenge is how fast you need that data. Using APIs involves reaching out to an API endpoint, which means going on the Internet, hitting a server, making a request, getting that data, and making the trip back.
That’s substantial and could impact your ability to make requests fast. If you plan to make thousands or millions of API calls, you may face environmental delays, which will rack up, slowing your process down and impeding your workflow.
With data feeds, you’re grabbing all the data at once and storing it locally, giving you on-demand access, letting you manipulate it any way you want, and storing it the way you want, so it offers great flexibility. On the other hand, to use a data feed properly, you need appropriate local storage and the right resources to manipulate the data.
When it comes to the flexibility, APIs will work automatically, performing the same actions and filling the same fields as configured and provided by the API provider. Data feeds, meanwhile, are pools of data that can be used and manipulated manually to provide the desired information in a completely customizable way.
Other aspects may also be taken into account, like data freshness. Like the ingredients you bought to cook your burger at home, if stored too long, the data from the feeds may need to be updated. At the same time, APIs constantly pull updated information from the endpoint, regardless of your efforts. Also, APIs are easily scalable and platform-independent.
Using the Data
What you’ll use the data for is another consideration when deciding between APIs and data feeds. Companies that need data to integrate into their systems and platforms, like software houses, financial institutions, and other organizations, usually choose APIs to pull data automatically from the endpoint once configured. On the other hand, cybersecurity companies looking for data to feed into their products, with the option to personalize and manipulate the data, frequently choose data feeds.
We hope this article helped you decide which is best for your company.