Gravio Blog
April 30, 2024

Unlocking Real-Time Efficiency: Understanding Webhooks

Webhooks are automated messages sent between apps in real-time when an event occurs, using HTTP POST requests. They deliver data instantly, reducing the need for regular API polling and bandwidth. Useful in factory automation, content management, and IoT, webhooks support efficient, real-time inter-app communication. Gravio's latest version supports both internet-based and local webhooks, enhancing data handling and responsiveness without constant polling.
Unlocking Real-Time Efficiency: Understanding Webhooks

What are Webhooks?

Imagine you're in a bustling city where news travels fast, not just through the newspaper but through every conversation you hear on the street. In the digital realm, webhooks play a similar role—they are the messengers that deliver real-time information between applications, making sure that your software can react instantly to events as they happen. Webhooks are automated messages sent from apps when something happens. They have a message—or payload—and are sent to a unique URL, essentially the app’s phone number. The logo or icon typically used looks like this:

There is no official logo, but this logo tends to be used to represent Webhooks

How Webhooks Work

To understand Webhooks, think of them as a reverse API call. Typically, to get data, your application needs to make a request to an API at regular intervals, pulling information. This is known as polling. Webhooks flip this on its head. Instead of asking for data, your application gets the data pushed to it automatically, reducing the need for constant checks and bandwidth usage. They make use of HTTP POST requests to push messages from one app to another as soon as an event occurs. Webhooks are data and executable commands sent from one app to another over HTTP instead of through the command line in your computer, formatted in XML, JSON, or form-encoded serialization. They're called Webhooks since they're software hooks—or functions that run when something happens—that work over the web.

Common Uses of Webhooks

Webhooks are incredibly versatile and can be used in countless scenarios:

  • E-commerce: Notify your shipping software when a customer places an order.
  • Content Management: Update other platforms when a new blog post is published.
  • Project Management: Send real-time updates to team members when a task changes status.
  • IoT Devices: Trigger actions in other devices or services when a sensor detects a change in its environment.

Examples of Webhooks in Action

  1. Payment Gateway Notification: When a customer makes a payment, the payment platform sends a webhook to the merchant's system to confirm that the payment was successful.
  2. Social Media Updates: A social media app sends webhooks to a marketing platform to update the status of scheduled posts or notify when a post goes live.
  3. Fitness Tracking: A webhook can be used to send real-time updates to other health apps when a fitness tracking device records new activity.

Inspiring Ideas Using Webhooks

  • Automated Workflows: Automatically add a new sales lead to your CRM when a visitor fills a form on your website.
  • Instant Notifications: Set up webhooks to send alerts to your phone or email when a server goes down or an error occurs in your code.
  • Dynamic Data Syncing: Use webhooks to synchronize data across multiple platforms in real-time, ensuring all systems are up-to-date without manual intervention.

Gravio now supports local (LAN/on-premise) and internet-based webhooks

Webhooks are a powerful tool for building interconnected, efficient, and responsive applications. By eliminating the need to poll for data continuously, they provide a more efficient way to handle real-time information. Gravio as a node computing platform now can receive webhooks since version 5.3, released earlier this month. The incoming data will be treated like sensor data, i.e. it can trigger any of your Gravio actions as normal. The key differentiator is that Gravio can use webhooks not only on nodes based in the cloud (i.e. the webhooks are available through the open internet via your URL) but also locally and completely on-premise, without any internet connectivity.

The potential uses for webhooks are limited only by your imagination. As digital ecosystems become increasingly complex, understanding and utilizing webhooks will be crucial for developing agile and effective solutions. Whether you are managing online transactions, triggering on-premise actuators, streamlining project workflows, or building the next big IoT solution, Gravio’s online and edge webhooks can provide the timely data exchanges you need to operate at peak efficiency.

Latest Posts
Coming Thursday, 25th April Learning Session: Learn about VQA with Hands-On Demos
Learn about VQA this April - an emerging technology concept out of AI
Friday, May 10, 2024
Read More