General Connectivity

General Notes

If you’re not a big coder, and you’re looking to integrate MailChimp with your current CMS or another program, check our Plugins & Integrations Directory page first to see if someone has already released code for your system. We also maintain an Experts directory of folks you can hire for your project. Otherwise, read on.

Sending & Receiving Data

First and foremost, make sure that you are using the most recent version of whichever API and/or any wrappers.

The next thing to do is determine how you want to send and receive data. The options to explore, in order of ease of use, are:

  1. API Wrappers: To get started quickly, use one of the wrappers in the downloads area of the API you’re working with. They should have the natural feel of the language you’re using. They’ll also take care of the network transport and url encoding data for you. Essentially, you’ll end up with some sort of object that you can manipulate like you’re used to, without the worry of how it’s connecting and passing data.
  2. Serialized JSON: Several of our APIs support passing in serialized JSON objects. Where they’re supported, this gives you the simplicity of building up a native object, serializing it as JSON, and passing it over the wire . We’ll then return a serialized JSON object. This is our preferred approach at this time, and it’s the route we’ll take as we release new and updated APIs.
  3. Serialized GET/POST Create HTTP GET/POST requests, pass along GET/POST parameters, and then handle one of the Serialized return formats that’s supported by the API you’re using. This approach works best for small jobs, like a simple subscribe. The more API Methods you have to implement, the more you’ll kick yourself for choosing this method. So unless there’s no working wrapper, you can’t use JSON, or you just want to write your own, don’t go this route—especially if you’re not particularly experienced with Web-based APIs.
  4. XML-RPC: Find an XML-RPC library for your language of choice, and get to work on implementing it. This approach will require a little more setup time (and more of a learning curve), but it might make your life easier in the long run. We don’t recommend using this one with MailChimp, as not all of our APIs will actually support XML-RPC, it can be very fragile, will generate the largest payloads, and will generally be the slowest option.

Checking for Errors

We’ve found that 60-70 percent of the support requests we receive are things that would have been quick fixes if the programmers were making good use of the errors being returned.