Helpful Hints to Authenticating Your APIs

November 2, 2022
In this webinar breakdown, you'll learn some of the most useful tips and tricks to ensure your APIs are authenticated. Read about it for yourself!

We brought out the big guns in the way of our Development Team Lead, Kent Gividen, in a webinar all about authenticating your APIs. He went over some of his most useful tips and tricks that he uses to ensure APIs are authenticated. Was it helpful? You betcha. You wanna get the SparkNotes? Read on.

Common and Not-So-Common APIs to Know About

Kent began by outlining the APIs that he has run into the most in his years as a developer. Some of them he dug into a little deeper than others, but these are all useful to be aware of.

  • REST
    • XML
    • JSON
  • SOAP
    • XML
    • WSDL
  • RPC
  • Proprietary
  • Socket

For the rest of the session he focused on the REST APIs as those are the most common from an HTTP perspective.

Advantages between API and SDK

You can work with APIs raw, and there are benefits to doing so. However, you may find that using an SDK is much easier.

With an SDK you’ll most likely experience a faster startup, you can use one that is code specific, and there may be features built in such as multi-threading, batch modes, and more. You can see a list of Smarty’s SDKs here.

With a raw API you’ll get much more control over how it is implemented, even if that makes your setup a little more tedious. You’ll also be able to use any code base supporting HTTP, which is basically all of them.

Different Types of Authentication

The key to authentication is security. Keeping that in mind you’ll want to know the difference between Embedded keys, which is client side and mobile app focused, or Secret keys which is using a server side key that you do not want to share with people.

You can also use the increasingly popular OAuth, but Kent didn't cover that too deeply. But essentially it’s allowing you to use your login for some services on other services, like logging in with your Google account.

Other Considerations

When you’re using an API you’ll want to make sure you’re using HTTPS with TLS for encryption. You may also want to consider rate limiting. Other things that are becoming more common are nonce, or expiring keys, and proxy servers for additional off-site security. You can pick from several different proxy server options including HA Proxy, Auth0, Okta, etc. This will help you provide an API to your customer that is secure.

Tips and Tricks for Testing Authentication

Kent went through several different tips and tools that he uses to authenticate his APIs. He dives into detail in the recording, but we’ll list a few of them here:

  • curl
  • postman
  • SoapUI
  • Use environment variables for config files
  • shell / command line
  • st / sd / sl

He gave examples of many of these so if you’re curious about any of them you can check out the 6:40 mark in the recording.

Try It Yourself

The latter half of the webinar was filled with fantastic examples and demonstrations of the different ways to authenticate APIs. This is difficult to represent in text, so you’ll probably just want to watch the recording below.

However, if you’d like to try setting up some address validation via an API, you can check 1,000 addresses for free by signing up for a free trial of the Smarty tools, and you can use the API—or any of our SDKs—even on those 1,000 lookups!

Webinar Recording

Subscribe to our blog!
Learn more about RSS feeds here.
Subscribe Now
Read our recent posts
Understanding the Key Players in Data Governance: Roles and Responsibilities
Arrow Icon
Successful data governance requires more than just rules and policies. It requires a dedicated team of professionals with clear roles and responsibilities to effectively manage and protect the data. We recently published “Data Governance: An Executive’s Survival Guide”, an ebook that you can download right now. In it you’ll find information on data governance and other important factors in the address data game. The following is an excerpt on the section about the different roles and responsibilities involved in data governance.
Data Quality: The Foundation of Successful Data Management
Arrow Icon
We recently published an ebook titled “Data Governance: An Executive’s Survival Guide”. The following is a sampling of the chapter on data quality. The Value of Data Quality Data is the lifeblood of modern organizations, providing crucial insights that can drive decision-making and innovation. However, the value of data is only as good as its quality. Poor quality data can lead to costly mistakes, misinformed decisions, and reputational damage. That's why it's essential to ensure your organization's data fits its intended purpose.
The Importance of a Data Governance Framework
Arrow Icon
We're thrilled to share a sneak peek of one of the sections in our latest ebook, "Data Governance: An Executive's Survival Guide. " This guide is a must-have for anyone with a database, and we have packed it with an abundance of critical points and examples that will enlighten and entertain you. But wait, there's more! If you want to delve deeper into the world of data governance, you can download the full ebook for free. Trust us, it's chock-full of information that will make you the talk of the town (or at least the talk of your office).

The leader in location data intelligence

Ready to get started?