For our second post in the QLIMS as a Platform series we will be discussing one of the core components, the Application Programming Interface (API).
What is an API?
When we talk about APIs, we’re referring to interfaces that allow developers to access and modify the data and functions of the LIMS. APIs are most commonly associated with websites and web services. For example, when you log into Facebook, you’re using their API to access and modify your data within their system.
APIs are a powerful tool for developers because they allow them to access data and capabilities on an as-needed basis without needing to build everything from scratch. For example, instead of building an external sample submission module from scratch, a developer can use an API from QLIMS to build an app or portal integration that uses the data and capabilities of our API.
Just like end users interact with an application through the graphical user interface to perform their day-to-day work, a developer can interact with the application by writing commands through the API.
Are there differences in API’s?
- Power – Some APIs are designed for data access, others are designed for control.
- Data Access – How much of the application can be accessed and the functions which can be performed.
- Technology – What technology the API is built on makes a big difference in terms of how developers interact. The three most common are REST, SOAP and RPC.
- Documentation & Support – Having the tools is one thing, but for those looking to develop complex integrations; accurate easy to read documentation and expert support greatly help the process.
Benefits of a REST API
- Lightweight – REST APIs rely on the HTTP standard which means it’s format agnostic, thus fast, and lightweight — which is necessary for mobile app projects, internet of things devices, and more.
- Independent – The REST protocol separates the data storage and the UI from the server. This means that developers can work on different areas of a project independently.
- Scalable & flexible – REST APIs can be scaled quickly due to the separation between the client and the server. Additionally, developers can also easily integrate REST APIs without much added work.
The QLIMS API – Platform over Application
As mentioned above QLIMS has a comprehensive REST API encompassing the entire application which is well documented, with technical support available from the OnQ support team and our regional certified partners.
This is a core pillar of our platform approach, as it allows for multiple applications to be developed and integrated with QLIMS. As such,customers get a more flexible, scalable and integrated approach to the LIMS platform with a wide and growing list of ready integrations to help your lab achieve maximum efficiency.