The API, the Product

07 October 2022 | Technology

The API, the Product

Simon Chapman

APIs (application programming interfaces) are not new. It's hard to believe, but they’ve actually been around for some 80 years. However, they didn’t start to gain popularity until the 1970s with the advent of modern computing. So why is this tech of interest today?

It’s only in recent years that the possible results of a link between a web-oriented API - REST, Graph, etc. - and a consumable product have become clear. As the world has evolved, so has technology. As part of this evolution, the proliferation of APIs has significantly driven the ability of businesses to connect with other businesses, and facilitated data and process sharing between these companies to power business success. 

Professionals working with APIs regularly will be familiar with the likes of Zapier and which have helped drive this development. They’ve aided in building a bridge between various web platforms and systems that didn’t quite fit together and needed a guiding hand to modernise their processes. These tools continue to play an important role in the modern product and engineering landscape, but are they as necessary as they once were? I think not.

The technology world is booming. This is an industry going from strength to strength, where companies that can innovate reap huge rewards. This is an industry where startups can boom quickly and shine a positive light on the possibilities.

 The payment platform Stripe kicked off the modern, innovative usage of APIs in business. Stripe was a young startup, founded by two Irish brothers, and what they did was groundbreaking in the API world. Anyone who has worked with payment gateways and providers will know all too well of the pain involved in managing these. SOAP interfaces were ubiquitous and, despite their name, often far from simple to use. But these two brothers drove something new: managing to tackle the payments sector with easy-to-use JSON APIs. Fast forward nearly 15 years and they’re one of the most widely used APIs for payments in the world: all thanks to having a simpler, easier-to-use API.

At Certino, we’ve taken the same approach with how we treat shadow payroll calculations. We’ve addressed a complex problem, wrapped it up and served it to our consumers with a friendly, easy-to-use API. These days, most businesses will have their own products or solutions in place and the last thing they want or need is to pivot their entire operational processes to another, new product. This can be a daunting task and usually results in more significant problems than it solves. However, with an API these businesses’ pre-existing processes are unaffected, allowing them to continue to work in a way that worked for them, while also providing them with the flexibility to plug-and-play with the services they want to integrate into their systems. 

Naturally this is an oversimplification. Businesses that operate on a pure API level are by no means simple, and have a number of complex processes that always need to be considered. API management, scalability and availability are among the most common items these businesses have to take into account when they choose to integrate new processes into their systems. Then, when they consider their security obligations and the need to keep  on top of the world's constantly changing demands for faster, more intensive services, the difficulty of integrating new tools becomes evident. 

At Certino these are among the key pillars we adhere to to guide our engineering processes. Our infrastructure is highly scalable, we employ goliath firewalls to guard our technology and data, and perform intensive R&D to stay ahead of our competition, as well as ensure we are always operating at the maximum level our clients expect from us. 

This all boils down to a question of “is it worth it?” Of course, integration can seem like a challenge but, when your business wants to manage 5,000, 10,000 or 25,000 requests per second, it’s a challenge that will have been worth it. This is the level of scale where for the engineering team at Certino, the excitement begins. 

It is with all this that we can confidently say: we are proud of Our Product, Our API.

If you wish to discuss integrating with our API please get in touch with our Head of Client Success, Becky at

Simon Chapman 
Director of Engineering, Certino

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