Start Automating — What You Can Do with an API

What can you do with an API? Well, an API lets you set up calls that make actions happen without the need for a person to be directly involved in the process.

The API, or application programming interface, allows software and other applications to interact and provide responses.

An API lets computers and systems interact.

Some use cases for the API based on common functions include using the API for automation, user maintenance, and file or folder maintenance. API use in for each of these types can streamline your processes and help keep things up to date.

API and Automation

Automate routine file transfer activities like move, import, and copy using an API. The gateway to more complex functions opens once you implement and start automating basic actions.

From financial interactions between your bank and an ATM, to all the automated transfers that ensure your online order goes from that submit button to where it will be fulfilled and shipped — all these behind the scenes system interactions and many more use APIs.

Track & Move Incoming Files

Track incoming files via webhooks and use the API to move received files into the processing system. For example, when artwork or photo files are uploaded for a customer order, have those files automatically moved to the folder location necessary for them to be accessed and worked on.

Import Files

Another example is a logistics company that works with purchase orders. First, the company receives a purchase order form from a vendor. Using the API, this order form then imports into the fulfillment system and is ready for the next stage in the process.

Copy Files

The API also allows you to distribute files to multiple locations in the system. If users have their own home folders assigned, and you have files that need to go to multiple users, you can automate the process. Upload files and use the API to create copies of those files in various locations.

Assign Files

Need to have certain files go to certain employees or departments? Automatically assign files to sub-processors. When new files are uploaded, they can be assigned to specific users for processing. The API moves the uploaded files to the correct processing location.

Use the API to move files.
Use the API to move files.

Photo processing is one example where assigning files can streamline the workflow. Customers submit photos. Photos automatically are assigned to an available processor folder for editing. Similar use of an API is often seen with transcription services. Jobs are uploaded and assigned to a folder where someone will retrieve the files and complete the transcripton work.

User Maintenance with an API

If you have additional information you need to capture regarding new users, the API can help. One way is to create a web form for user registration. Then, use the API to create the new user in your account. If you have special requirements for users, such as extremely complex passwords, automating user creation saves time and reduces errors.

Sample user registration form.
Sample user registration form.

Another example of automating user maintenance is to use the API to identify inactive users and delete or lock them from accessing your account. The API can verify your user list against account activity for a given period. The decision to delete or lock is then applied to any users that meet your inactivity criteria.

"username": "testuser",
"nickname": "testnickname",
"homeResource": "/",
"email": "testuser@email.com",
"password": "string",
"role": "user",
"expiration": "2011-03-21 00:18:56",
"locked": true,
"onboarding": true

Using the API for File & Folder Maintenance

Verify File Status

Without some type of program in place to check status, files can end up sitting for years, just taking up space. It’s a good practice to verify the status of stored files and take action if needed.

Reduce the requirement to manually review file status by having the API do the work for you. Would you like files to automatically expire 90 days after upload? Use the API to review the existing files in the system and identify any files to delete based on your 90-day parameter. Then use the API to delete those files.

API key and API access token.
API key and API access token.

Create Folder Templates

If all new users get assigned to a folder with subfolders, the API can be used to create the sub-folders inside the new folder for that user. Commonly set up sub-folders include — incoming, outgoing, and logs.

Sample folder setup.
Sample folder setup.

Data Validation

Maintaining valid information is vital. Especially as more regulations and stricter privacy laws come into effect. The API can assist with this type of file maintenance. Have the system check uploaded files for filetypes, file sizes, and report back to you if particular files are not as expected. This will alert you to missing data, incomplete file uploads, and other file issues before they heavily impact your business.

API & File Transfer

Business file transfer solutions should provide their API to assist developers in automating these functions and more.

Other capabilities often include using the API to automate:

  • Uploading and downloading files.
  • Getting information about activity occurring in your account.
  • Creating and managing shares, including download-only shares and receive folders.
  • Setting up and managing notifications.

Incorporate the API with one or more of your applications to reduce manual actions and control nearly all aspects of your file transfer account programmatically. Many businesses use the API to write software to connect directly to their accounts.

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