Which access method should I use?

Use this guide to decide if you should access financial data via REST API, WebSocket, Excel, direct database access, or CSV.

Intrinio offers five access methods:

  • REST API
  • WebSocket
  • Excel Add-In
  • Direct Database Access
  • CSV

Here’s an overview of each method, so you can choose the one that works best for your business.

REST API

Built for: developers

Use if: you need to pull market data, fundamentals data, or SEC data reliably

Works with: all data feeds

Intrinio’s cornerstone access method is our powerful, consolidated REST API. It enables developers to easily integrate and build seamless, dynamic systems and applications to ingest Intrinio data.

Our REST API is ideal for intraday, delayed, or EOD market data, or for users who need to pull real-time prices at specific times, but not all day. This method is subject to the API call limits of Intrinio's plans, which can be customized when you build your data solution.

The API is also our primary method for delivering standardized or as-reported fundamentals data and other datasets from the SEC, such as insider transactions and financial statement notes.

The Intrinio API uses HTTPS verbs and a RESTful endpoint structure. Basic Authentication is administered over HTTPS. Responses are delivered in JSON format.

We offer official, fully supported SDKs in six languages that wrap around the API:

WebSocket

Built for: developers

Use if: you need to stream the price of a security all day

Works with: real-time market data

A WebSocket is another type of API, but functions very differently from the REST API. The WebSocket streams, or pushes, the latest prices. If you need the real-time price of a security continuously, WebSocket is the right tool. You can connect to a stream of prices for a single stock or multiple stocks concurrently (depending on the plan), and always be assured that you are looking at the true real-time price.

While the REST API is priced by the amount of data used within a given time period, WebSocket APIs are priced by concurrent connections. For example, if your plan allows for 10 concurrent connections, you can stream the real-time prices for up to 10 stocks as they’re updated on the exchange. The plan may allow for a total of 1,000 total daily connections, meaning you can connect up to 1,000 different security pricing feeds over the course of a day, changing them as necessary. 

Excel Add-In

Built for: analysts

Use if: you need to pull data for manual analysis

Works with: all data feeds

The Intrinio Excel Add-In allows you to access a variety of datasets right in Excel, using simple, intuitive functions. The add-in works on both Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows versions of Excel.

Our Excel add-in is essentially a wrapper of the API for non-developers. When you pull the latest data into each cell, Excel is making API calls in the background. This means the add-in is subject to the same limits as API calls. Again, these limits can be customized when building a data solution for your company.

The add-in eliminates the biggest pain point for many analysts: manual data entry. Instead of spending hours entering the data before being able to analyze it and build your model, the Excel add-in allows you to build a dynamic model that saves time moving forward. If you want to apply the same model to a new company, all you need to do is change the ticker and the data will automatically populate.

Direct Database Access

Built for: everyone

Use if: you need to sort through massive amounts of data quickly

Works with: all data feeds

We’ve partnered with Snowflake to bring you direct database access. This method allows you to scan terabytes of data to find exactly what you’re looking for within seconds by writing simple SQL queries. That’s something you can’t easily do with API, CSV, or dataframes. While this filtering capability comes at a cost of speed compared to our API, the queries still run fairly fast.  

We offer multiple integration options. If you’re already a Snowflake customer, we can simply give you permission to access the dataset.  If not, we can set up private access to our Snowflake database for you. Once you receive your login and SQL connection string, you can either make queries directly in Snowflake’s platform or use your preferred database access tool. 

Snowflake offers native and standards-based connections that enable developers to use a variety of languages and frameworks, including ODBC, JDBC, Python, Spark, R, Node.js, and more. Essentially anything that can integrate with a database can be used with Snowflake. Snowflake can even function as a traditional database – import your security master into it, join multiple datasets together, and run complicated queries.

CSV

Built for: everyone

Use if: you need large flat files of data

Works with: historical data

Our historical fundamentals, market data, and SEC data are available for download in CSV (comma-separated values) format. CSV downloads are ideal for non-developer users who want the ability to download large amounts of data and open it in Excel for further analysis.

This method is slightly more technical than just using the Excel add-in but significantly less technical than using the REST API. The basic idea is that you can paste a single piece of syntax, just like a formula in Excel, into your browser to get the data you need in a bulk download that you can open in Excel.

Hopefully you have a better idea of which access method is right for your use case. When you request a consultation with the Intrinio team, they’ll help you design a custom data solution with perfect-fit data, access method, licensing, and more. We look forward to working with you!