Secret? I guess not anymore, as we’re about to tell you about an essential piece of our technical infrastructure that is making our life as API aggregator so much easier.
As some of you may already know, one of the aspects that makes our company unique is that we don’t rely on GDS technology to power our consumer-facing marketplace for air travel. Instead, we chose to develop our search and booking technology, leveraging and aggregating the APIs from the airlines.
Those among you who have experience working with airline APIs, will know that it isn’t as straight-forward as it may seem. In most instances, every airline has developed their API based on a different XML standard (NDC, OpenTravel or own) and makes a different interpretation of these standards. Therefore, aggregating multiple airline APIs requires the “normalisation” of these APIs into a single version, which in our case is IATA’s latest version of their NDC standard (16.2).
The challenge is to ensure that this normalisation process has a minimal impact on the content and functionality made available by airlines through their APIs and the performance of our platform in processing requests and responses messages to/from these airlines. Meanwhile, on our end we must maintain the highest level of conformity of our aggregation platform to the NDC standard.
This led us to develop in-house our own monitoring tool, dubbed NDC Gatekeeper (see picture below), which since its implementation has helped us address that very challenge effectively.
For every search and booking message, our NDC Gatekeeper records the normalisation process that these messages go through, i.e. the transformation of our request messages from NDC version 16.2. (the version, which our marketplace is based on) to the version/interpretation of the airline, and the subsequent transformation of the airline’s response message to NDC 16.2.
By recording these transformation processes, we can easily identify any issue and as importantly, closely monitor the time required for these processes (see picture below). And so far, we must say that we’re very pleased with the performance of our API aggregation platform.
Today, this platform is able to normalise the APIs from 6 airlines, which are based on different versions of NDC (1.1.3, 15.2 and 16.1) and on other standards, into a single, flyiin-powered NDC 16.2-based API. Thanks to this single API, we can design a an airline-driven, yet easy-to-use, service-focusing flight search and booking experience, which puts the traveller at the heart of the trip planning, purchasing and servicing process.
Intrigued? Curious? Interested? If you are, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.