When the ecommerce industry boomed in the early 2000s it ushered in the API era. Information was being shared at a rapid pace and businesses realized they could use this data to improve digital experiences. The Application Programming Interface (API) created a way for information in one application to be easily available to other applications, allowing developers and programmers to transform the customer experience.
As time went on and technology continued to develop, the focus on APIs shifted from how to make these connections accessible (the interface) to how best to automate the process of consuming and applying the data being made available. Enter webhooks.
What is a Webhook?
Webhooks are a form of communication between web applications that allows real-time data to be sent from one application to another application based on a pre-defined trigger. Webhooks will “see" the trigger, collect the specified data, and send the data to a specified URL. The communication originates from the application that is sending the data, not the one receiving it, which is why webhooks are sometimes referred to as a “reverse API”.
Why Use Webhooks Over Traditional APIs
Both Webhooks and APIs are forms of communication between technologies. They are both passing data/information between applications but have different methods of doing so.
APIs are request-based—they only deliver a message containing data/information when one application requests the data from another. APIs will deliver the request for specific information to the provider and then return with the requested data.
Webhooks, on the other hand, automatically delivers real-time data/information when a specified event occurs. A scenario where you would use webhooks over APIs would be when you need something in your application to happen as soon as certain data becomes available i.e., in real time. In this scenario, using an API would require constantly checking for new data/information—an inefficient use of resources. Webhooks on the other hand are initiated as soon as the data/information becomes available.
An API does not provide you with a way to receive a notification when something changes, it requires re-requesting data at some interval to see if the results change. Webhooks are more efficient because the data is instantly transferred and put to use once available. It is especially useful when the triggered events will happen repeatedly. For example, rather than having Slack ask your application for new data on an event, your application sends Slack a notification when it happens. In lieu of having Slack ask again and again for new data, it waits for what it needs.
Another example, imagine you own an online store, webhooks can send you a notification every time a payment is successful or fails. Webhooks can even notify you when someone subscribes or unsubscribes to your newsletter. If there is a subscription portion of your application, webhooks allows you to initiate the renewal process on your end and notify the user. There are many different uses to webhooks and finding the right use for your organization can be extremely powerful.
Webhooks and Turbonomic
Webhooks is one of the best methods to efficiently assemble API Integrations that produce significant power with no added complexity. What does this have to do with Turbonomic? Our software generates resourcing actions that continuously assure application performance while minimizing cost. Because every organization has their own unique processes and workflows, how they implement the actions takes different forms. Webhooks allows customers to inject the actions Turbonomic generates into their application lifecycle, DevOps and infrastructure pipelines, approval and audit workflows, and communication processes.
Every customer has their own automation adoption journey. Webhooks are a key enabler of achieving your business outcomes through automation. Check out Try Turbonomic if you’re interested in exploring our sandbox for yourself and seeing how you can have software determine the right resourcing actions, automate them to prevent performance issues, and achieve cloud elasticity.