The rise of universal APIs and integration platforms has unlocked tremendous productivity and innovation for developers. By providing a single interface to connect and interact with multiple external services, these platforms remove major friction from the development process.
However, many universal API platforms employ architectures that introduce significant privacy risks by aggregating user data from connected services into their own centralized databases.
In this article, we’ll do a deep dive into different architectural approaches to universal APIs and how Event is pioneering real-time pass-through architecture to enable privacy by design.
Most universal API platforms like Alloy rely on a “sync architecture.” Here’s how it works under the hood:
This approach provides some clear developer experience advantages. By syncing data into a local store, the platform can provide fast API response times and minimize external API call limits. The platform has full control to model and normalize data consistently.
However, these conveniences come at a steep cost to user privacy:
While some users may accept these tradeoffs, privacy-conscious developers and users remain wary of sync-based universal APIs.
Event was purpose-built with privacy at its core. Rather than syncing and storing data in an internal database, Event maintains a real-time pass-through architecture.
When a developer makes an API call with Event, here is what happens:
By keeping data access real-time and stateless, Event’s architecture ensures control stays with the end-user. User data remains within the external services they authorized and can be revoked at any time by disconnecting.
Event’s real-time architecture came at a high engineering cost. Sourcing live data for each request requires optimizing latency at a massive scale. For example, we built a globally distributed request routing network to reduce external API roundtrips to under 100 milliseconds.
But we believe this cost is essential to build trust and enable universal APIs to reach their full potential.
Event users experience concrete privacy benefits:
These metrics illustrate the tangible advantages of an architecture that uses real-time access over data aggregation.
Event’s real-time architecture provides privacy benefits consistently across its products:
Unify - Main API platform
Embed - Embeddable account UI
Automate - Workflows from API events
Across all products, real-time design protects user privacy while providing a top-tier developer experience.
Universal APIs represent the next evolution in developer productivity. But their full potential will only be realized if privacy becomes the norm not the exception.
At Event, we believe the future of API platforms is real-time. Sync-based platforms will gradually phase out as users demand greater control over their data.
We’re committed to proving that developer experience and privacy are not mutually exclusive - they go hand in hand. Universal APIs still have much untapped potential. Event will keep pushing boundaries of real-time APIs while building trust, visibility, and ethics into everything we build.
Ready to start building? Sign up for Event’s real-time unified API platform and connect your apps with the power of privacy.