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Category: Actcessories
Written by Ken Quigley
April 05 2021

API is the acronym for Application Programming Interface, which is a software middleware that allows two applications to talk to each other. To put it differently, an API is a set of programming code and standards that enable a seamless transmission of data between different software products.

Whether it’s a mobile phone app like Handheld Contact, Linktivity products like Link2calendar, or even Act!’s native Outlook integration, an API creates a conduit to the data so it can be returned in a usable way. 

As the maker of many API add-on products, Keystroke foresaw the need a few months back to develop our own API technology that would deliver us greater quality control, and this week marked the conclusion of that project. The new API will be called the Keystroke API, or "K-API" for short, and through the months of April and May we intend to retrofit all our API products to support this new connection method.

We’ve had a smaller version of K-API in place since last year supporting our Keystroke Account Manager application, but that iteration was limited to the contact table and one level of customer tables. We needed more for our add-ons, with K-API we can tailor-fit this connection methd to suit the needs of our add-on applications.

slider KAPI 2

The Act! Web API and K-API
To be clear, the Act! Web API and K-API perform very different functions. While the Act! Web API can service add-ons, it's primary function is to support AMA requests, as well as Insight Reporting, Dynamic Dashboards, Companion, and the native MS Outlook & Word integration. These features are exclusively Act! subscription benefits, and K-API in no way provides non-subscription customers access to these  subscription features. Quite the contrary, as K-API was designed to only support connections from compatible add-ons. The only relevance K-API has with the Act! Web API is that they can lighten the load for each other when they're both running on the same machine. By configuring the Web API to service Act! functions and K-API for add-ons, they can load balance the combined API requests so that both work more efficiently. 

K-API is a REST API which can be used by external add-on programs, websites, or services to interact with a user's Act! database. 

Here’s a list of a few of K-API’s unique features:

  • kapi1 1Made exclusively for add-ons
  • Support for 64-bit app pools therefore, less likely to cause crashes for large queries
  • Faster filtering which is performed at SQL Server level
  • Parameters are saved in headers instead of query string. This means you can have large amount of parameters and not run into IIS limits which require editing of web.config. They are also easier to manage and maintain because each parameter is kept separate instead of one long URL
  • Has certain endpoints that are not available in the Act web api, such as getting an Activity's cleared or deleted dates.
  • Performance is much better than the Act Web API for add-ons due to K-API not returning data that is not needed with each query; such as not returning data if a property value is the default value for that type. This cuts down on latency and bandwidth depending on the size of the synchronization of data.
  • Performance improvement by being able to select which fields you want to get the value of
  • And the K-API helps connect compatible add-ons to Act! Pro and off-plan Premium customers with v19.2 or higher

Speaking of compatibility, setup requires only a desktop computer with Windows 10 Pro or a Server based OS, and with Act! v19.2 or higher. As this does not include or support Act! Connect Link, self-hosting customers will still be responsible for setting up their own publishing (for example, port-forwarding, firewall exceptions, and static or DynDNS). Those hosting with certified Act! Hosting Providers (HPP’s) will, of course, have access to K-API, as we expect most to be supporting this technology by the end of Q2 of this year (save for Swiftpage). Obviously, Keystroke’s hosting servers will be first amongst the ones being K-API Compliant.

As mentioned earlier, Keystroke and Handheld Contact will be retrofitting all our API products to support K-API, which will provide a wider audience for these products, as well as a better experience. These products include all our online Linktivity services, HHC API, QuickTasks for Act!, Act4mail, and Webplanner.

If you'd like to learn more of the technical details of K-API, please click HERE to go to our online documentation page.

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Delivering fruitful CRM solutions since 1994, Keystroke is the #1 Act! Reseller in the World and Master Act! Distributor for Canada.

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