UPS Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are programming instructions and standards for accessing and integrating UPS functionality into e-commerce websites or enterprise applications. These complex technologies are designed to meet the needs of customers who require maximum flexibility during integration. APIs require internal or external Information Technology (IT) developers to write XML code in order to integrate within a customer's systems. Three types of APIs exist all using Extensible Markup Language (XML). The first type of API uses straight XML; the second type uses Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and Web Service Definition Language (WSDL), and the third type uses Java Script Object Notation (JSON).
In addition to the actual API transaction developers need to translate the XML into internal system code that will be receiving the data from the API whether it's a Graphic User Interface (GUI) or to another computer system. There are more than 100 different coding languages which includes languages like; PHP, Perl, C#, C++, and Java.
By integrating UPS transportation functionality like Rating, Shipping or Tracking directly into your enterprise business applications and e-commerce website, your employees can become more efficient and your customers will benefit from an improved user experience. Possible business applications include:
Once you've made your decision that you want to integrate UPS APIs, you will need to consult a technical team who is proficient in XML/Web Service coding.
Look for either an in-house development team or a third-party integrator. An in-house developer is an internal IT resource employed by your company who has the expertise to integrate the APIs. A third-party integrator is an external resource who you contract with to integrate the APIs for your company. You should request references and referrals before contracting with a third-party integrator. Both types of developer will receive technical support directly from UPS. Whether you use an in-house development team or third party developer, an authorized representative of your company will agree to UPS’s terms and conditions for the APIs and obtain unique UPS credentials required by the APIs to exchange information with the UPS systems.
Although the APIs offered by UPS are available at no charge, you should consider the time and resources that your company needs to integrate the APIs into your business systems. This cost could be moderate or substantial based on multiple variables. Before you get started, carefully examine the Steps for Planning API Integration to help your company determine expense and length of development.
If your company has made the choice to build a custom API solution, provide your in-house developers or third-party integrators with easy-to-follow instructions on how to access UPS APIs.