I was paid by ViaSocket to write this article for Medium.
As businesses move more of their operations and presence onto the Internet, opportunities for linking and responding to online information increases. The way that information in websites is accessed by software is through Application Programming Interfaces(APIs).
The most common sort of API is a set of rules for asking a website for some information. By following the rules, a program or other website can ask for information such as, “How often has my new follower posted on Twitter?” or “Does my new customer have a LinkedIn profile?”. These tools are extremely useful and can save staff a lot of time while also increasing business intelligence. But in many situations they are not efficient. This is because when a website doesn’t have the information yet, you have to wait a while, and then ask again.
Webhooks solve this problem by working in reverse. Instead of asking the website for information, you tell the website where to send information when it becomes available. Giving a website a URL to send certain information to is called ‘creating a webhook’. Once you get that information, that event can kick off a whole series of new events. To learn more about webhooks, have a read of the article I posted on Medium.