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Learn About Integrating UPS Developer Kit APIs

1. What are APIs?

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:

  1. Ordering: Improve accuracy of orders with Street Level Address Validation, Rating or Time in Transit APIs.
  2. Shipping: Automate fulfillment and global shipping processes with Pickup, Shipping and UPS Tradeability® APIs.
  3. Customer Service: Provide visibility to customers and your customer service center with Quantum View®, Rating, Tracking, UPS Signature Tracking®, and Locator APIs.

View a List of Available UPS APIs

2. Who do I consult for expertise?

Making a decision involving complex technologies requires expertise. You should consult a technical team who is proficient in XML/Web Service coding. Based on whether you plan to build or buy, the type of developer will be different.

Build: 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. One difference is that during the registration and certification process, an in-house developer can handle the process independently, but the third-party integrator must register and certify the APIs on your company's behalf.

Buy: You should look to contract with one of our UPS Ready Providers. These are companies that have been approved and certified by UPS to integrate UPS APIs directly into their software. Once certified, the UPS Ready® Provider makes their software available for purchase to UPS customers. Your company must evaluate the quality of the software, determine whether the software meets your business needs, and evaluate the technical support provided by the UPS Ready Provider. You will receive technical support directly from the UPS Ready Provider. The provider's software is required to automatically register and certify any UPS customer who has purchased their software with UPS functionality. 

Review a List of UPS Ready Providers

3. What should I consider before getting started with API downloads?

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.

View Steps for Planning API Integration

If your company has made the choice to build an API solution, provide your in-house developers or third-party integrators with easy-to-follow instructions on how to access UPS APIs.

Access Instructions for Developers

4. What is the process if my company wants to sell software to UPS customers?

If you are a commercial developer who would like to integrate UPS functionality into your application, you will be required to integrate certain capabilities into your software that will automatically register and certify UPS customers who purchase your software. You also will be responsible for technical support to UPS customers who purchase your software and services.

To learn more about getting approval to integrate UPS functionality into your software, you can submit a UPS Ready Program Request. The UPS Ready Program will review and respond to your request within seven to 10 business days.

Submit a UPS Ready Program Request