You probably have gone to a restaurant and had to wait in line to sit down or took a number (or received an electronic device) to find out when your table is ready. Waiting in line is synchronous processing, while being notified after your request has been processed is asynchronous processing. Same thing applies when you submit API requests to be processed by a platform like the Oracle Responsys Marketing Cloud. If you make a synchronous API request, you must wait for your request to be processed in order to get a success or failure status back. But for an asynchronous API request you immediately get an ID for the submitted request and later can either make another API request with that ID or get a call-back from the API platform to check the status of the original request
The main advantage of an asynchronous API is that you don’t have to wait for the status of the request to come back thus freeing up your thread. This is particularly helpful for requests that may take a while to process, e.g., updating hundreds of records in a table with hundreds of millions of records. But the disadvantage is that you have to make an extra API request in order to get the status of the original API request. Furthermore, it could get a bit more complicated if your API requests must be processed in a specific order and the API platform’s queueing mechanism cannot keep track of the desired order.
The majority of Oracle Responsys APIs are synchronous but recently we released a number of asynchronous REST APIs for merging profile records combined with triggering transactional email and SMS messages. Once an asynchronous API request is received, the syntax of the input parameters are validated and if OK, a unique ID is generated and immediately passed to the API caller. Subsequently the API request is put on an internal queue to be processed, and after the processing is complete, the result is stored to be retrieved through a polling API request (which requires the unique ID issued by the first API request). The results are only stored for a limited time (e.g., 10 hours) and discarded to free up valuable space.
These new asynchronous APIs eliminate the need for setting high timeout limits. This is particularly valuable for customers who process thousands of transactions per minute (like purchase confirmations during busy shopping periods) and require to communicate with their clients as quickly and efficiently as possible. Responsys also offers the high-availability (or AFTM) version of the above asynchronous API for email and soon for SMS.
Learn more about and try the new Oracle Responsys Asynchronous APIs by reading its developer guide available here and contacting us with any questions or feedback you may have.
To find out more about the further benefits of marketing automation, look at “Six Reasons You Need Marketing Automation.”
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