Webhooks FAQ

Document created by Renee Carney Employee on Oct 18, 2016Last modified by Adam Williams on Oct 25, 2018
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What is a webhook?

Simply put, a webhook is a notification or message triggered in one application and sent to another application based on a particular event. As an example, Bridge can send a notification or message to third-party applications to signal completion of a course. That message will include a variety of data elements (this is called a payload) so that the receiving application can respond effectively to that event. The protocol for these messages is HTTP.



What is the difference between an API request and a webhook?

The easiest way to describe the difference is by using an analogy. Imagine you’re trying to receive mail:

API Calls

You have to go to the post office and see if you have new mail. Sometimes you will have mail waiting for you and sometimes you won’t. If you have mail, sometimes they’ll give you a copy of all of your old mail as well as the new mail you recently received. Bridge has a very robust API that allows you to come and get any type of data you might need.



Instead of needing to go to the post office for your mail, you install a vacuum tube that delivers mail instantly from the post office to your house. Bridge has implemented several event-driven messages that will help you to efficiently get the data you need, when you need it.



When should I use API calls and when should I use webhooks?

API Calls are useful when you need to extract a lot of data or when you need to extract data in an asynchronous way. If you can get data on page-load, for example, or based on a specific event in your application, you might use API calls to get that data. If you must sync an initial set of data, you might need to use API calls and then implement webhooks to receive updates on any changes after the initial sync.


Webhooks are useful when you need to take real-time action on events that happen in Bridge. They are much more efficient than making a lot of API calls, but they often won’t have all the data you need.



Why should I care about webhooks?

With a few webhooks and a bit of development, you can receive real-time messages from Bridge that you can process in really interesting ways. Webhooks are useful for building all sorts of integrations, including:

HRIS integrations that post completion

Calendar invites

Certificates of completion

Gamification - awarding of badges or points in real-time

User creation in other systems that rely on Bridge



Do you have plans to change the message types and messages?

We will continue to update the resources, events, and message bodies of all of our webhooks based on customer feedback and demand. Usually, we can make additive changes quickly and we’d be happy to talk with anyone who has feedback.



How secure are webhook messages?

It is important to note that you must provide a secure endpoint to ensure the security of your webhook messages. We also provide an additional layer of security by giving you the option of providing a bearer token to include in messages. You can also sign your webhook messages with an HMAC token that can be used for verifying that the message has come from Bridge.


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