Sergej Khackimullin - Fotolia

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Can API mapping fix data integration problems?

The more distributed and complex a modern application is, the more likely an API mapping tool should join the developers' arsenal for efficient design and troubleshooting.

An application consists various resources that communicate with each other through APIs, which send and receive messages. In modern applications, various different parts interact with each other, sometimes masking where issues and inefficient performance occur. An API map reveals their interactions.

API mapping creates a document all the APIs in an application or a certain module, including how they interact with each other. An API map creates a clear visualization the relationship between various APIs and the flow data between them. 

API maps reveal data transformation points

API mapping can help uncover data gaps in an application.

Developers commonly encounter issues when they integrate the multiple modules an application. Usually, these issues exist because different variable names. 

Sometimes, fields hold data that doesn't map well with the similar field in a different component. The developer's aim is for the fields to have a default value -- if not, a field may require some sort message transformation. It's redundant and painstaking work to correct these data integration problems without an API mapping exercise to call them out. 

API mapping simplifies development

API mapping tools are available from Api-map, as well as Microsoft's BizTalk Mapper in Visual Studio.

An efficient API mapping tool tells the user, based on the API map they created, what source data fields have no matches in the target fields. Tools like Api-map suggest fields that match with others based on their data type and size, even if the field names are different. Developers using this tool may also assign the default value to certain fields. Message transformation tasks can be indicated on the map, guiding development work.

Developers should collaborate with the application owners to get a complete picture of the project's goals and how it should work for users. With input from the client, API mapping is more accurate and comprehensive, without last-minute surprises during integration.

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