Unlock the power of Unified APIs and take charge of B2B API integrations with confidence! Introducing our Unified API Concepts Glossary, designed specifically for non-tech professionals like product managers. Say goodbye to feeling lost in technical discussions as we demystify complex terms and abbreviations, providing you with a comprehensive understanding of Unified APIs and empowering you to make informed decisions. Let's dive in and bridge the gap between technology and business seamlessly!

API Terminology

The basic API Terminology you will come across when working with any kind of API service.

What is an API?

API stands for Application Programming Interface. An API is a set of code-based definitions and protocols that allow multiple software applications to communicate with each other over the internet.

In other words, an API is a set of rules that allows different software applications to communicate and interact with each other.

In the context of RootFi’s Unified API, each cloud-based accounting platform has an API that we integrate with. We spend time learning each platform’s API rules, or documentation, to set up seamless integrations. Examples: Zoho Books API, QuickBooks Online API and Xero API.

Since RootFi integrates with each platform, you can integrate once with us to access data from all platforms.

What is an API Reference?

An API reference is a comprehensive documentation that provides detailed information about an API's functionalities, endpoints, parameters, and responses.

API reference or documentation is usually written in the format of the Open API Specification.

What is an Endpoint?

An endpoint is a specific URL or URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) that represents a unique location or resource within an API. It is used to access and interact with different functionalities or data.

What is an Enum?

Enum is short for enumeration and refers to a data type in programming that consists of a set of named values, representing a specific set of possible options or choices.

RootFi uses enums for Data Model names and Integrations when interacting with their APIs.

What are Logs?

Logs are records or files that capture and store important information about the activities, events, and errors occurring within a software application or system. It is used to help debug errors and monitor activity of a set of APIs.

RootFi captures, stores and exposes all its API and Webhook logs to its customers allowing them to analyse and debug their activity.

What are Parameters?

Parameters are variables or inputs provided in an API request to customise the behaviour or retrieve specific data from the API.

What is a Query?

A query is a request made to an API to retrieve specific data or perform a specific operation.

What is a Response?

A response is the data or information sent back by an API after processing a request, typically in a structured format such as JSON or XML.

What is a Schema?

In the context of APIs, a schema defines the structure, organisation, and validation rules of the data exchanged between systems or applications.

What is a URL?

A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is a web address that specifies the location of a resource on the internet, such as a web page or API endpoint.

API Authentication

The most common API authentication terms and kinds of authentications available.

What is an Access Token?

An access token is a short-lived or temporary token to authenticate requests on behalf of authorised customers.

What are API Keys?

API keys are unique access tokens or credentials an API provider provides to authenticate and authorise access to their API services.

API Keys are one of the simplest, secure and fastest ways to enable server to server communication of data.

RootFi uses uniquely generated API keys to authenticate all requests from its customers.

What is Authentication?

Authentication is the process of verifying the identity of a user or a system before granting access to protected resources or functionalities.

In the context of RootFi’s Unified API, this refers to the process of authenticating or verifying access to your business customer’s data from their chosen platform like Zoho Books or Tally.

What is a Credential?

A credential is a piece of information, such as a username and password or an API key or an Access Token, that is used to authenticate and authorise access to a system or API.

With RootFi’s Token Manager, you can securely store and manage your customer’s credentials in one place.

What is OAuth?

OAuth is an open standard protocol that allows secure authorisation and delegated access to protected resources on behalf of a user without sharing their credentials.

In the context of RootFi, we use OAuth as the primary preferred method to help connect our customers to their business customers integration platform.

What is a Refresh Token?

A refresh token is a long-lived secure token used to create new access tokens.

What is a Token Manager?

A token manager is a component or service responsible for generating, issuing, and managing access tokens used for authentication and authorisation purposes when interacting with an API.

With RootFi’s Token Manager, you can securely store and manage your customer’s access tokens in one place.

API Protocols

The most famous API protocols and the basics of what you need to know about each of them. Protocols are frameworks that provide you with rules for how APIs should behave.

What is GraphQL?

GraphQL is a query language that allows developers to flexibly and efficiently retrieve the exact data they need from their APIs. In other words, GraphQL is a way or style of calling data.

In the context of RootFi’s Unified API, we use GraphQL to allow our customers to efficiently pull or read data from each underlying platform.

What is a GraphQL Playground?

GraphQL Playground is an interactive development environment that allows developers to explore, test, and interact with a GraphQL API, making it easier to build and debug queries.

Using a GraphQL Playground one can interactively create, run and view documentation of GraphQL APIs.

RootFi provides an easy-to-use GraphQL playground for customers to create their API queries and interact with their business customers’ data.

What is a GraphQL Request?

A GraphQL request is a query or mutation request made to an API to retrieve or modify data according to the specified requirements.

What is REST?

REST (Representational State Transfer) is an architectural style and set of principles for designing APIs or networked applications that use HTTP protocols to enable communication and data transfer.

What is RPC?

RPC (Remote Procedure Call) is a protocol that allows a program on one computer to execute a procedure or function on a remote computer over a network.

What is SOAP?

SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is a protocol that allows communication and exchange of structured data between systems over a network, typically using XML.

API Platforms

Terms that API companies will use when describing the way they use APIs.

What is API-first?

API-first refers to an approach where the development of an application starts by designing and building the API layer first, which then serves as the foundation for the rest of the application.

In the context of RootFi, this means every functionality we offer is available through APIs.

What is a Changelog?

A changelog is a record or log that documents and tracks the changes, updates, and enhancements made to a software application or API over time. In other words, it is a system of recording changes to an API over time.

Maintaining changelogs is crucial because it allows customers to keep track of the feature changes that have taken place allowing them to act on the updates. At RootFi, we track every integration’s changelog including every update we make to our product and update our changelogs every month.

What is a Configuration?

Configuration refers to the settings, parameters, or options that determine the behaviour and functionality of a software application or system.

In the context of RootFi’s Unified API, configurations refers to adjusting the sync frequency, creating Webhooks into your system and customising the onboarding flow of your end customer through our embeddable SDK.

What is a Data Field?

A data field represents a specific piece of information or attribute within a data structure or object. It holds the value or content associated with a particular aspect of the data.

In the context of RootFi’s Unified API, an example of a data field is category in the Accounts data model.

What is a Data Model?

A data model is a conceptual representation or structure that defines how data is organised, stored, and related within a database or system.

In the context of RootFi, each accounting platform has its own data model or structure. These data models may have commonalities and major differences in how they label, organise and store their data. At RootFi, we have 22 Unified Data Models, which standardises data from over 12 platform integrations.

What is a Data Object?

A data object is a structured container that holds data and its associated properties, representing a specific entity or concept within a software system.

What is a Development Environment?

A development environment is an internal software environment for developing new features before being tested.

What is API Documentation?

API Documentation provides comprehensive information, guidelines, and instructions on how to use and interact with an API, including its functionalities, endpoints, parameters, and examples.

API Documentation is extremely important when building APIs, which is why our developers at RootFi take time to understand the documentation of every platform we integrate with and take effort to maintain our RootFi documentation to the highest standards.

What is an Edge Case?

An edge case refers to a scenario or situation that represents an unusual, rare, or exceptional condition, which may require special handling or consideration in software development or API usage.

In the context of Unified APIs, edge cases refer to instances where you need access to data or an API that is not Unified or standardised in our Common Data Models. In these edge cases, you can use our Authenticated Passthrough Requests.

What is End-to-end Testing?

Testing involves the process of systematically verifying the functionality, performance, and reliability of software applications or APIs to ensure they meet the desired requirements and produce accurate results.

What is Onboarding?

Onboarding refers to the process of integrating and setting up a new user or organisation within a software system, including the necessary steps to configure and start using the API services.

What is a Platform?

A platform is a comprehensive software environment that provides a foundation, tools, and resources for developing, deploying, and managing applications and services.

In the context of RootFi, our platform consists of our Dashboard and APIs to empower customers to create and manage integrations with their business customers at scale.

What is a Postman Collection?

A Postman Collection is a bundled set of API requests, organised and stored in the Postman tool, that allows for easy sharing and testing of API endpoints.

What is a Production Environment?

A production environment is a live environment available for use by end-users, where the API and its associated services are fully operational and available for use.

What is an SDK?

SDK (Software Development Kit) is a collection of tools, libraries, and documentation that helps developers build applications for a specific software platform or framework.

What is a Staging Environment?

A staging environment is an internal environment for testing or exposure to a small subset of design partners to gather feedback before deploying to the production environment.

What are Webhooks?

Webhooks are a mechanism that enables real-time communication between applications, triggering events and notifications from one system to another based on specific actions or updates.

What is White Labelled?

White labelling refers to the practice of branding a product or service with the client's own logo, design, and identity, allowing them to present it as their own without any visible references to the original provider.

Unified API

Concepts you will see in a Unified API company’s documentation.

What is are Business Customers?

Business customers refer to the companies that have granted access to view a subset of their accounting data—referred to as their consented data.

What is Business Financial Data?

Business financial data refers to a company's financial information and records, including transactions, balances, invoices, and other related data.

What is are Common Data Model?

A common data model is a standardised structure or format for organising and representing data across different systems and applications, enabling seamless data exchange and interoperability.

In the context of RootFi, each accounting platform has its own data model or structure. These data models may have commonalities and major differences in how they label, organise and store their data. At RootFi, we have made 22 Common Data Models, which standardise data from over 12 platform integrations.

What is a Connection?

A connection refers to the establishment of a link or communication channel between two systems or applications to exchange data and information.

In the context of RootFi’s API, a connection refers to the establishment of a link between your business customer’s software application and your application to exchange data and information. With RootFi’s Unified API, establishing and maintaining these connections is seamless.

What is a Credential?

A credential is a piece of information, such as a username and password or an API key or an Access Token, that is used to authenticate and authorise access to a system or API.

With RootFi’s Token Manager, you can securely store and manage your customer’s credentials in one place.

What is a Custom Request?

A custom request is a tailored or specialised API request that is designed to meet specific requirements or obtain specific data beyond the standard API functionalities.

In the context of RootFi’s Unified API, you can make custom requests to access data or custom APIs that we have not standardised with Passthrough Requests.

What is Embedded IPaaS?

An embedded IPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) refers to the integration capabilities and functionalities that are built directly into an application or platform, allowing seamless data exchange and connectivity.

What is Embedded SDK?

An embedded SDK (Software Development Kit) is a set of tools, libraries, and documentation that is integrated into a software application to facilitate the development of specific features or functionality.

In the context of RootFi’s Unified API, an embedded SDK would enable you to control the flow of the onboarding process for your business customers. In other words, you can customise the onboarding so your business customers experience a seamless uninterrupted flow as they connect their integration. We also offer white labelling solutions so your business customers see your name and logo rather than RootFi’s.

What is an Integration?

An integration refers to successfully connecting and combining different software systems or applications to enable seamless data exchange and functionality between them.

At RootFi, we have integrated with over 12 accounting platforms, so you need to only integrate once to access your business customer’s data from any of these platforms.

What is IPaaS?

IPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) is a cloud-based platform that provides tools and services to facilitate the integration of various applications, data sources, and systems.

What is a Passthrough Request?

A passthrough request is an API request that is forwarded or passed along to another system or API without significant modification or processing by the intermediary.

Passthrough Requests are API calls you make to RootFi’s Unified API that we pass on to the accounting platform you need to access. In other words, Passthrough Requests are a technique we use to forward incoming requests to the underlying platforms. We recommend using Passthrough Requests for edge cases, to access underlying, non-standardised data or make custom API calls.

What does Pull Data mean?

Pulling data refers to the act of retrieving or fetching data from a source system using an API request.

In the context of our Unified API, pulling data refers to reading data from the accounting platform to RootFi.

What does Push Data mean?

Pushing data refers to the act of sending or transmitting data to a recipient or destination system using an API request.

In the context of our Unified API, pushing data refers to writing data from RootFi to the accounting platform.

What does Read Data mean?

Reading data refers to the act of retrieving or accessing data from a source or system, often through an API request.

What does RootFi mean?

RootFi is a company that provides Unified APIs and integration solutions for B2B companies to access and integrate with their customer's business financial data.

RootFi stands for the Root of all Business Financial Data.

What is Standardised Data?

Standardised data refers to data that follows a consistent format, structure, and set of rules, ensuring compatibility and interoperability between different systems or applications.

What does Sync Data mean?

Syncing data refers to the process of ensuring that data in different systems or applications remains consistent and up-to-date by regularly updating and aligning the data between them.

What is Underlying/Raw Data?

Underlying or raw data refers to the original, unprocessed, and untransformed data.

What is a Unified API?

A Unified API is a comprehensive interface that combines multiple APIs into a single, cohesive solution, simplifying integration and access to various functionalities and data sources.

A unified API (Or universal API) aggregates APIs in the same software category like accounting, HRMS, CRM, and e-commerce. It makes integration with various platforms easier through a standard endpoint, handling authentication, and normalised data models. a Unified API is a one-stop solution for aggregating B2B API integrations in the same software category, allowing you to authenticate and access normalised data from a single entry point.

What does Write Data mean?

Writing data refers to the act of creating, updating, or modifying information within a system or database using an API request.

To see how these work terms in action, use RootFi’s Unified API sign up and start for free or book a demo with our team.

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