I Just Want Better Texting. What’s an API?

Scott Navratil

In this high tech era, APIs are everywhere and you probably use dozens of them a day without a clue. Commio has some excellent APIs that let you add voice and messaging to other programs – great – but what exactly does that mean and why do you need to know?

“API” is one of those terms that gets slung around so much in the software industry we tend to think everyone understands it, when most people don’t. To begin with, API is short for “Application Programming Interface,” and the shortest definition would be that it lets you plug in new data and/or functionality to what you already have, without having to educate yourself about a whole new subject or learn how to make it all play nice together. 

For example, say you have a house, presumably with electricity, and you want to be able to make a shake. So you go get a blender, plug it into the wall, and tada – shakes! Whoever made that blender already knew the electrical standards for where you live and designed the blender accordingly, then added a plug made to fit perfectly into your outlet. You didn’t need to know a thing about electricity, or blenders, or plugs.

The same holds true for software programs. So now you have a word processing program, for example, and you want to make some of your text “dance” rather than just highlighting (I’m making this up; any takers?!). You can go find some crazy API somewhere that will make your words absolutely cha cha cha without, in fact, being a dancer or a font expert yourself, or knowing a lick of programming language. 

What Makes an API Better?

Although software APIs have been around almost as long as computing, they really came into their own when we started throwing everything into the same sandbox, aka “the cloud.” While custom integrations (i.e., a “plug” built specifically for you between two programs) were popular early on, it’s hard to make these “one-offs” affordably vs. easy-to-install APIs designed to work for hundreds or thousands of companies. So now you can have the best data and the best functionality available, or the newest, the fastest, the cheapest, the cutest…you get the idea…and use it directly in the big multi-functional platform you go to for a lot of related stuff.  There are, as you might guess, lots of advantages:

  • You get the ideal data and/or functionality for your unique use cases, at the best price point
  • You don’t have to switch between programs; you can get it all in one place
  • You don’t need a developer who speaks multiple languages to create it or spend time making everything work together
  • You don’t need to spend money on a custom integration
  • An API will typically be more stable and secure than a one-off integration

With so many software programs and so many providers these days, you really can get what you want and need for your unique use cases, at a price point that works for even the smallest start-ups.

Messaging APIs for the Win

In today’s omnichannel world where customers want to contact you nine ways to heck and hear your company updates now, you need messaging capabilities that get the information there quickly and scalably – but you don’t need to be a messaging expert or a developer. 

Whether you’re looking for long code (10DLC), short code, or toll-free messaging, a good provider like Commio will offer a variety of APIs that allow you to add messaging capabilities to your solution in minutes, or even to your own proprietary SaaS platform. The APIs allow you to send and receive messages wherever it’s most convenient, and power better customer experiences. You can enjoy the advantages of a faster, more scalable messaging provider.

In addition to core messaging capabilities, there are a variety of messaging-related APIs to provide you with what you need, where you need it (teli alone has over 200 APIs!). For example, you can search for and provision local, international, and toll-free numbers; enable e911; add long code / 10DLC brand and campaign registry directly into your application; and much more. (Click here for a short list of Commio messaging API capabilities.) Commio even has API integrations with The Campaign Registry, which makes it easy to partner with us whether you’re registering your campaigns directly with campaignregistry.com, or want to use our fully functional set of APIs to register within your own solution.

Beyond the actual data and functionality you can add with an API, there are less tangible benefits that can come with them. At Commio, for example, we have a team of experienced messaging experts who can consult with you to optimize your short code application for fastest approval, help refine the wording on your 10DLC campaigns to ensure registration success, match your use cases to the ideal messaging format(s), or whatever else you might have questions about. 

Commio is also an actual carrier, rather than a reseller or aggregator. And our support team is US-based, while your platform provider’s support might not be. If you can dream it, we can text it.

* * * * *

The bottom line? If you’re not happy with a particular feature or data set in an existing SaaS application or platform, or you can imagine something better, chances are it’s out there – and with APIs, it’s a simple plug-in away. These days, messaging options in particular are essential, so make sure you have what you need to keep your customers happy and communicating.

Download SMS eBook

See also: eBook Introduction Short Code | Long Code | Toll-Free Messaging | Opt-In Lists | Messaging Rules | Delivery Receipts (DLRs) | Messaging APIs

Date posted: March 16, 2022

Topic: 10DLC Long Code   APIs   Messaging API   Short Code   Toll-Free Texting  

Tags: MMS   SMS  

Scott Navratil

Scott, a member of our Commio team, has held executive management positions at several top IP communications companies and was named one of Colorado Business Magazine’s most powerful salespeople. He is a regular speaker at national telecom events. Scott holds a B.A. in Meteorology from the University of Northern Colorado. Scott primarily enjoys spending time with his family in Colorado and also enjoys skiing, snowboarding, racing motorcycles, and astronomy.

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