Your website might be an e-commerce site, which requires to directly ship the products to its customers. Or it might be a full-fledged shipping website, handling shipments from source to destination addresses. And for all these you may choose to use Fedex, to handle your shipments. Once you choose Fedex, you will need to integrate the Fedex Web Services API with your website.
Today I will be sharing a brief overview about the web service solutions available at Fedex website and the initial steps and requirements that needs to be completed before we move into coding details of the Web services. There is a huge set of documentation available at Fedex website. But I believe a customized ‘all-at-one-place’ does help a lot more. This is just an effort to create such a series, with references and excerpts taken from Fedex website itself.
Also Read: Key Ecommerce Trends In 2015 Every Marketer Should Know
Fedex Web Services – A basic overview
FedEx Web Services is the next generation API for integrating software applications with FedEx Systems.
What are Web services?
Essentially, they are a collection of programming technologies that allows users to build customized solutions for application integration. FedEx web services allow businesses to integrate FedEx shipping functionality into their existing websites and shipping management systems.
FedEx Web Services Technical Resource offers developers a secure environment to access the resources necessary for integration—from product planning guidance, documentation and sample code all the way to testing and production. Everything a developer needs to complete a FedEx integration project. Developers can access the FedEx API via SOAP or HTTP POST transactions. The functionality provided by FedEx web services are: Rate Services, Service Availability, Tracking and Visibility, FedEx Locator.
Further advanced services are also available but require the completion of a certification process.
Accessing FedEx Developer Resource Center
The first step to start integrating Fedex Web services is by accessing the Fedex Developer Resource Center.
You will need to Register, to access Technical Resources at the Developer Resource Center.
FedEx Web Services Version 1.0 is organized into Standard and Advanced services. Standard services do not require certification for proprietary developers, while Advanced services do require certification for the users.
Once you visit the Developer Resource center, select the “Fedex Web services” link on the left menu to start off working with the web services.
You can find links for the following:
> Documentation and Downloads
> Develop and Test
> Move to production
Fedex Web Services 1
Anything from here will require you to login with your registered credentials.
Once you have logged in, you can download the Fedex Web API’s for any of the Standard or Advanced Services in your desired programming language by going to “Documentation and Downloads” page or “Develop and Test” page. The Developer Resource Center offers sample code for the services in four programming languages: Java, C#, VB.Net, and PHP.
Fedex Web Services 2
Develop and Test
In order to use the Fedex Web services for integration, Fedex provides a full run-time Testing environment, before your web service solutions can be moved to production.
One needs to obtain a set of testing credentials for using the Web Service Testing environment.
Click on the “Get your test key” in the “Develop and Test” page, to obtain the Testing credentials.
Fedex Web Services 3
Once you have met with the requirements and have read and accepted the terms and conditions of the Testing Agreement, you will receive the following:
1. Test Account Number
2. Test Meter Number
3. Developer Test Key
These credentials need to be included in the Fedex API code in specific containers. Without this information, all service transactions will be rejected. Once your code includes the testing credentials, you may proceed to fully testing your application. These are the basic steps that need to be completed and understood, in order to start with Fedex Web Services integration using the sample codes. In the next article, I will take up a specific Web Service API from Fedex web services list, and go into details of integrating and testing the code.