I’m back with another tutorial for your today.
In fact, today’s tutorial is in a NEW and different format. That’s right! I’m changing up things a bit with today’s tutorial by introducing video tutorials.
I’ve received a few emails here and there since starting CCBTutorials.com, asking if I would ever consider video tutorials of how to use CCB’s API.
Well, the day has come, and the first video tutorial out of the chute is how to retrieve data using CCB’s API and a REST client.
If you’re a developer or engineer, then you’re likely familiar with REST and RESTful applications such as CCB’s Public Web API Tool.
If you’re not the aforementioned tech-type above, then you’ve likely struggled to use the CCB API due to not having access to an officially documented Public Web API Tool.
But no need to fear, because I’ll have you accessing CCB data in less than 10-15 minutes with today’s tutorial.
What is REST and a RESTful application?
First things first, you’ll need to understand what a REST client is and what value it’ll bring to your life.
For those of you that are unaware, REST is not the rest in terms of taking a nap, or sitting and resting. 😉
At a high level, REST stands for Representational State Transfer, and is an architectural style that specifies constraints to induce desirable properties in a web application, such as increased performance, scalability, and modifiability.
Say who did what, where, when, why and how? Said in English, REST allows a safe method to access and modify a systems data without using the systems GUI interface.
So, CCB’s API is considered a RESTful application. To access or modify the CCB data within the constructs of the CCB RESTful API, you’ll need a REST client that allows you to provide it with a URL, a method, and a output/input area. Enter the REST Client.
What is a REST client?
There are a number of web and desktop applications that allow interaction with RESTful applications.
The video tutorial below introduces and teaches how to access CCB data using the CCB API and a REST client: Advanced REST Client.
Advanced REST Client is a Google Chrome browser add-on that allows for an easy to use interface to access a RESTful application like the CCB Public Web API Tool.
The Advanced REST Client acts very much like a web browser. So, if you can use a web and know how to read and complete fields as I instruct you to complete, then you’ll be accessing CCB data via the CCB API and REST client in no time.
Advanced REST Client is not the only REST client should you care not to use Google Chrome.
All REST Client pretty much function in the same or similar mode, needing the following:
- URL – https://yourchurchdomain.ccbhurch.com/api.php?srv=API_SERVICE
- METHOD – GET or POST for CCB Public Web API Tool (But there are many general methods such as PUT, DELETE, PATCH, HEAD, CONNECT, OPTIONS, TRACE or custom option)
- OUTPUT/INPUT – Typically, most are designed to allow XML or JSON
We’ll use each of the above in the tutorial video.
How do I get started making CCB API REST requests?
To get started, you’ll need to make sure to have CCB API Admin credentials handy too.
If you’ve not created a CCB API admin account with it’s respective credentials and designations, then try the Getting Started Toolbox.
Once you have CCB API admin setup appropriately and a selected a REST client, watch this video to learn how to interact with CCB data via the Public Web API.
That’s all for today! Let me know if you have additional questions or comments, or need further assistance getting started.