Our new series “Login API in detail” will focus on issues relating to the Login API. Our intention is to provide you with a tool that will enable you to design a completely personalised login page and integrate customised login methods.
However, before getting to grips with the subject matter, we should first quickly clarify what Login API actually is: As the name implies: Login API is a type of API. Here’s a brief definition from Wikipedia in case you are not familiar with the term:
An API is a programming interface. It is an acronym for Application Programming Interface. The term refers to a part of a program made available to other programs by a software system to enable them to connect to the system.
The Login API of the IACBOX uses indirect communication via HTTP referrals to create a connection. All of the information is forwarded as GET parameters via the URL. The external web server therefore does not need to access the IACBOX directly via port forwarding or a VPN tunnel.
In addition to our API interface we also offer an SDK that can be used externally and is preinstalled on the IACBOX. Definition: An SDK (Software Development Kit) is a collection of programming tools and libraries for software development. It is intended to help software engineers develop applications based on the software. (Source: Wikipedia)
The local variant of the Login API is already pre-installed on every IACBOX as a customer-specific login page and only needs to be activated via the menu item Modules/Customer-specific web server. There is no need to provide a web server as it is already integrated in the IACBOX.
This integration means that the local Login API needs fewer steps (redirects) for a successful login and is therefore resource-efficient.
Use your access data to log in to WebAdmin, then go to the menu item Customer-specific login page under Customer login. You can edit the login page using the Editor tool and see it in the preview. It is also possible to create multiple profiles that are easy to export and import to another system. This makes it possible (for example for hotel chains) to use one and the same design at numerous locations.
The IACBOX and therefore the local variant of the Login API are regularly updated. These updates fix bugs in the SDK and enable faster integration of new functions and feature requests.
If you want to use the external Login API that is available as an optional module for the IACBOX, you will need a proprietary web server, which will actually also give you greater freedom with regard to database support and additional login scenarios. Software Maintenance at Asteas publishes new versions of the SDK in conjunction with new patches to ensure features and bugfixes are also available for external variants.
Bugfixes do not take place automatically as the code for autonomously hosted SDKs needs to be maintained by the host.
The Login API offers you an excellent tool for implementing flexible and special login requirements. It gives you complete freedom of design allowing you to fully exploit the options available for your login page.
You can, for instance, handle every special case or requirements that cannot be realised with the local Login API, such as connecting to a CRM (Customer Relationship Management System) or simple decentralised authentication with various login pages. We will address the options of copying login profiles on the external web server in a subsequent article in this series.
Those who choose an external Login API over the local variant should have good reason to do so as they will require a proprietary web server, which will generate additional maintenance requirements. Programming knowledge in PHP, HTML and CSS is essential to exploit the freedom of design with regard to the login page and login options.
Thus, the external variant of the Login API requires a certain amount of development and maintenance in comparison to the local variant that is nonetheless justified by the greater freedom of design and adaptability.
Stay on the ball: In the next part of the series we will address the design of the login page and how you can adapt it to suit your requirements.
Click here to get to the second part of the Login API series.
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