Webhooks are now available in beta to DigiCert CertCentral enterprise and partner customers, making it easier than ever to allow applications to speak to one another. At this stage, webhooks in CertCentral will allow for notifications when a certificate is issued and DigiCert will add functionality to the feature based on user feedback.
Webhooks are automated messages driven by events. A webhook is a service that allows one program to send data to another as soon as a particular event takes place. Webhooks allow for one-way data sharing, and there are numerous examples of webhooks in use on the internet today, including automatic emails from your calendar, automatically uploading Instagram photos to Twitter or receiving a notification when a payment is processed. Thus, most platforms today use webhooks or similar approach, including social media platforms, Confluence, GitHub, Trello, Stripe and Google Calendar.
Webhooks are automatic data transfers between applications, while an application programming interface (API) is a software that bridges between a computer and application. Thus, both webhooks and APIs have the goal of establishing communication between applications. However, there are some distinct advantages and disadvantages to using webhooks over APIs for achieving application integration.
Webhooks are sometimes referred to as reverse APIs, because communication is initiated by the application sending the data rather than the one receiving it. With web services becoming increasingly interconnected, webhooks are seeing more action as a lightweight solution for enabling real-time notifications and data updates without fully integrating via API.
You should use webhooks rather than APIs if the data is updated on the server frequently as you can eliminate unnecessary API calls by the client to the server. In fact, 98.5% of API polls are wasted. With Webhooks, you only make a call when you receive a notification of status change, which may only happen a few times on an order in a day, reducing the number of calls to a few thousand a day. For instance, if your organization has 1000 pending orders, but you are only concerned with status updates on specific orders and you used APIs, it will call at according to the interval set (e.g., every 10 minutes per order) for a total of 144,000 calls per day.
Webhooks also allow better solutions for systems that require near-real-time data updates. API’s polls are usually run at pre-specified intervals which might prevent real-time data updates. With webhooks, updates are pushed by the server to the client as soon as the webhook is triggered.
Webhooks can be an efficient way to integrate the system of your choice into a preexisting messaging platform. For example, your organization may want to receive Slack notifications when a certificate comes up for renewal or if a server vulnerability is detected. Instead of Slack continuously asking CertCentral for data meeting these criteria, it makes much more sense for CertCentral to send a notification to Slack only when one of these events takes place. This is the purpose of a webhook––instead of having to repeatedly request the data, the receiving application can sit back and get what it needs without having to send repeated requests to another system.
Learn more at https://dev.digicert.com/webhooks/ and contact your DigiCert representative to see how you can get webhooks working for you today.