What is a Unified API?

A Unified API is an abstraction layer. Its primary purpose is to take a single category of SaaS software like cloud storage, calendar, or CRM and abstract away the differences between connectors in that category. A Unified API not only unifies the data model in the response it returns but also how each request is made to the APIs themselves. Developers can connect with dozens of different services through a single API, eliminating the need to learn the intricacies of each service’s API.

How Kloudless Unified API makes a difference

Traditional Solution

In a traditional workflow, developers must connect with each cloud API service separately. They need to read each service’s documentation and understand every functionality individually. They also need to maintain the connection to each cloud API as long as the user needs the data.

Kloudless Unified API

A Unified API sits in between your application and the 3rd-party services it needs to communicate with. This not only takes away the heavy lifting of your developers having to connect with each service individually but also the pain of future maintenance when an API changes the data it returns or the functionality required to access it.

Core Unified API Benefits

Reduced Maintence Cost

Unified APIs remove the pain of future maintenance when API versions and data formats change, meaning that once you build a connection with a Unified API, your code doesn't need to change while Kloudless keeps connector implementations up-to-date.

Simplified Product Expansion

Your customers will inevitably request more options for cloud services as your user base grows. Unified APIs offer you the ability to add cloud services from a specific category to your application without writing additional code.

Speed of Integration

Cloud services in each category offer similar functionality, but vary widely in data format or how to access that functionality. Unified APIs abstract those differences away to ensure that your developers only have to learn a single data model and can quickly launch multiple integrations at once.

How Kloudless Unified API works

Authentication

Kloudless provides a unified OAuth 2.0 flow to authorize access to users’ cloud service accounts, regardless of whether the actual cloud service authentication scheme is OAuth 2.0, JWT auth, password/key-based authentication, or other. Kloudless manages the account’s access and refreshes tokens automatically.

Unified Data Model

Kloudless abstracts away the differences in connectors’ data representations by formatting all objects in a unified data model that includes everything from basic ID attributes to complex recurrence rules. This ensures that request and response data structures are identical across connectors within each category.

Unified API Endpoints

Functionality for each connector is also abstracted away into Unified API endpoints that are supported by several connectors within a certain category, so the format of an API request that retrieves a file from Dropbox is the same as an API request for Google Drive.

Kloudless Unified API benefits

White Labeling

Kloudless offers easy white-labeling of our authentication process and integrations. Kloudless can be integrated into the UI of your application and use your OAuth keys, giving users full access to their cloud services without ever leaving your application or knowing that a third-party service is involved at all.

UI Tools and SDKs

Kloudless offers multiple embeddable open-source UI tools to get your users interacting with their cloud services of choice within your application quickly. Kloudless also offers SDKs in multiple languages, so no matter your application’s stack, you can get started quickly.

Webhooks and Activity Monitoring

Kloudless builds on top of basic connector endpoints to fill in the gaps and offer a consistent Unified API with advanced features. For example, Kloudless offers a full-fledged Activity Monitoring (Events) API with reliable Webhooks and event bus support across several connectors, ensuring that your application tracks changes in your users’ accounts even if the upstream service doesn't support webhooks or activity endpoints.

Unified Error-handling and Rate-limiting

Kloudless unifies a standard set of error response status codes and will propagate any rate-limiting errors from the upstream service to your application. Kloudless also automatically retries requests while respecting Retry-After response headers, or return 429 status code responses with Retry-After headers of our own.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some examples?

Kloudless specializes in helping solve several industry use cases across business applications, such as sales enablement, construction, and CASB. Learn more about other industry use cases and how we can help your application here.

What is the difference between you and Zapier / Workflow Automation?

Kloudless is entirely embedded within your application to increase stickiness. Your users will no longer be forced to leave your application to integrate with the services they need. Workflow automation is not an API. It is simply a tool for your customers to perform basic sync while Kloudless is used by your developers to enable synchronous interactivity for users to pull and push data on demand while using your application. Of course, Kloudless also enables automating data transfer as well. Read all about the differences between a Unified API and workflow automation here.

Do you ever leave data out of the unified response?

Services sometimes return objects with properties that are unique or custom to that specific provider, user account, or tenant. This is especially true of highly customizable environments such as CRM apps like Salesforce. However, Kloudless always provides the raw data returned from upstream HTTP responses, and even allows arbitrary requests to any upstream endpoint through the Kloudless Pass-Through API, while still handling authentication and keeping tokens refreshed.

How do I get started?

Sign up today for a free account and see how easy it is to provide your application with all of its API needs. Use our Postman Collection to easily test out each endpoint, or use our language-specific SDKs to quickly get started on integrating with Kloudless.

What is the benefit of Kloudless being embedded in my application?

Every product has its own UI/UX. Since Kloudless is embeddable, users can access any and all of their needed services inside of your application without ever knowing that Kloudless is there at all, increasing your application’s value, experience, and stickiness.

What are the most popular endpoints?

At a broad level, CRUD endpoints and change tracking are central to applications’ use of Kloudless. Keeping track of real-time events that occur in your end user’s cloud service is pivotal to providing your users with the information they need from your application. Kloudless provides this data through our exceptional Activity Monitoring (Events) API, Webhooks, AWS EventBridge partner source, and first-class support for Subscriptions. Kloudless also builds on top of these basic endpoints to support some of our popular advanced functionality and UI Tools, powering scheduling, file browsing, and data mapping use cases across a range of connectors.

How can we deploy Kloudless?

Your application can connect to Kloudless either through our hosted service at kloudless.com, or by self-hosting Kloudless Docker containers in your cloud or on-premises environments. We offer a range of different options for the size and scale of your application through either method. Learn more about your deployment options here.

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