What DevOps Teams Need in an Integration Platform, Part 3: Flexible Integrations

To keep up with evolving stacks, integration platforms should provide multiple integrations out of the box along with the ability to easily create new ones

This is a 3-part series exploring what DevOps teams need in an integration platform. Download the eBook, Not All Integration Platforms Are Built the Same, to learn more.

Read the first two blogs in this series: Part 1: Customization and Part 2: API Developer Experience

The complexity of DevOps processes necessitates a platform that enables flexibility and agility. Rigid integrations that can be brittle will cost more to maintain than the value gained. The explosion of everything-as-a-service means tools and APIs are in constant flux.

The best-of-breed tools that teams use today will inevitably shift in the coming years. APIs within tools and services are also ever-changing. An integration platform built for DevOps teams should make it easy to keep up with these shifts.

Here are key components that enable flexibility when building, maintaining, or using integrations.

Open standards-based#

OpenAPI is the industry standard for describing RESTful APIs. The majority of services provide an HTTP-based API, making it simple to integrate with a platform using the OpenAPI Specification. Think of an OpenAPI document like a map to an API that enables a platform to fully integrate with all endpoints in an API. This is better than a partial integration that might only cover a few endpoints and needs to be written specifically for one service provider. Integration platforms using a standards-based approach ensure teams can fully integrate with many providers quickly.

As opposed to proprietary integration techniques, platforms that use a standard to integrate with APIs ensure that:

  • A broad set of APIs can come out of the box
  • Creating integrations is efficient and simple with new APIs that follow the standard
  • As APIs are upgraded or modified by SaaS vendors, it is much faster for the integration platform to update the integration

Standards ensure that creating new integrations is easier and quicker. Developers can create new integrations simply by uploading an OpenAPI Specification document into the platform.

There are other common API specifications provided by services like AWS and Google that enable the same level of standardization. RESTful API Modeling Language (RAML) is another common standard, using a YAML-based language for describing RESTful APIs.

A lot of connectors out of the box, or build your own#

With all integration platforms, there are going to be top-tier connectors that everyone uses and a very long tail of APIs that a smaller population of customers will use, as well as custom tooling built in-house. For that reason, teams should look for a platform that provides a large number of connectors out of the box but also with the extensibility to easily create new connectors and integrate custom tooling.

First, it’s ideal to choose a platform with many connectors already built and ready to use. This results in less time building new connectors and the ability to reuse connectors that others have built. These connectors also need to have the depth of integration across the entire API surface area of the integrated application to handle the breadth of DevOps integration and automation use cases.

In addition to pre-built connectors, teams need the ability to easily build data connectors to interact with new APIs, as well as to fork and update a connector without having to wait for platform updates to roll out. These connectors can then be used to create workflows for automation.

An integration platform should not only make the building of new connectors simple (through OpenAPI Specification) but also ensure that new connectors are not second-tier — they should be of the same quality as those provided out of the box. Lastly, a platform should offer the ability to share connectors that perform well within the community of other customers and be kept up to date. This ecosystem of connectors from other contributors will provide a wider breadth of options.

Bring your stack together with DevOps process orchestration#

The explosion of SaaS tools is not slowing down, and that means APIs will continue to multiply. It's critical that DevOps teams invest in integration platforms that can truly span their stack. Of course it's great when many integrations are available out of the box, but there will always be outliers that aren't. That shouldn't mean you're out of luck. Instead, integration platforms need to enable new connectors to be created easily by using OpenAPI Specification or another open standards-based method.

DevOps process orchestration platforms like Transposit offer a rich solution that can scale as stacks change. Transposit's Integration Engine underpinning the platform combines hundreds of pre-built integrations with Git-based code-level customization in a serverless runtime environment. Using OpenAPI specification, users can create new connectors, integrating with anything that has an API.

Want to learn more about Transposit? Request a demo.

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