What are webhooks?
A webhook is an automated message sent from an application when a specific event occurs. It contains a message or payload that is sent to a unique URL, allowing for lightweight, event-driven communication between two applications.
What are webhooks used for?
Webhooks are used to integrate different applications and third-party APIs, allowing for real-time communication between two applications without the need for additional coding or complex setup.
Generally, webhooks are used to send data from one application to another in response to an event, such as when a customer makes a purchase or subscribes to a service. Webhooks can also be used to automate common tasks such as updating databases or triggering notifications.
Webhooks vs APIs – what’s the difference?
The main difference between webhooks and APIs is that webhooks receive data while APIs retrieve data.
An API, which stands for Application Programming Interface, allows software applications to communicate with each other using requests.
A webhook is an event-based API endpoint responsible for triggering internal functions to look up information in real time when a specific event occurs.
When deciding which one to use, it’s important to think about what the application will be used for and what type of data needs to be synced.
APIs are often used for more complex tasks, such as retrieving large amounts of data or performing complex calculations, while webhooks are better suited for simpler tasks, such as sending notifications or triggering an action when a certain event occurs.
Overall, both APIs and webhooks can be used to sync data between applications, but depending on your needs, one may be a better fit than the other.
Key uses and benefits of webhooks
Webhooks offer a range of benefits, including:
- Real-time notifications: Webhooks allow applications and systems to transmit information automatically and in real-time, so you can receive notifications of certain events like online order processing and shipping.
- Scalability: Webhooks are more scalable than APIs since they don’t require the same level of resources for implementation.
- Email automation: A webhook helps automate the delivery of emails to customers in response to their actions, such as subscribing to an email list or adding an item to a cart.
- Elimination of API polling: Primarily, webhooks eliminate the need for polling, a task that is painful for both the provider and the consumer.
- Reduced API calls: The main advantage of webhooks is that your application doesn’t have to make periodic calls to APIs while it’s waiting for updates.
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