signNow: Here’s All You Need to Know About the eSignature Platform’s Developer API
If you’re after a detailed signNow review, you’re in the right place. However, if you don’t have time to trawl through this entire blog post, here’s the bottom line up front:
In short, signNow is a popular document management and eSignature tool that provides the tools businesses need to negotiate their contracts more efficiently. While it offers over 100 native integrations, its developer API is even more powerful. Accessing signNow’s API allows you to create more seamless workflows for web and mobile applications. Of course, you’ll need some tech smarts to make the most of this resource. However, extensive documentation and 24/7 support are available, as is a free testing environment where you can build your applications before they go live.
Overall, I think signNow’s API is best for those wanting to automate their contract negotiations – especially if your process demands multiple steps that need syncing with your broader tech stack.
With the basics covered, let’s take a closer look at signNow’s developer API and documentation, what features it provides, and how much it will set you back:
What is an API?
For the uninitiated, API is short for “Application programming interface.” This software acts as an intermediary between two applications, making it vital for creating custom integrations where the software of one tool needs to communicate what action needs to be performed in another.
It’s always beneficial for developers and businesses when the software they work with provides open access to its API because even if the tool doesn’t offer native integrations with the business’ existing tech stack, they can create seamless integrations themselves (providing they have the tech smarts to do so).
However, note that an API can’t be used to build an entirely new application. It’s merely the communication device between existing software (in this case, signNow) and apps requesting information from signNow. (For example, your CRM, website, or other tools you want signNow to communicate with.)
signNow’s Developer API: An Overview
As you may already know, signNow provides a decent toolkit straight out-of-the-box suitable for small and large businesses alike. So, suppose you want an in-depth look at signNow’s core features. In that case, we recommend checking out our signNow review here. Here, we’re solely looking at what signNow’s API has to offer:
signNow offers access to its developer API as a paid-for add-on to its eSignature and document management software. However, a free sandbox account is available that allows you to test the API service as much as you want. Over 26,354 users have registered for a free sandbox account, which shows the API’s growth since its user base of 898 sandboxes in 2019.
The API enjoys an average uptime of 99.99%, offers SDKs for five languages, and sees an average of 1,412 applications created per week!
What is signNow’s Sandbox?
As I’ve mentioned, the sandbox account provides a testing environment where developers can try out signNow’s API at no cost. You can test unlimited apps and credentials, allowing you to create and simulate the effects of your custom integrations. Then, once you’re ready to go live, you can choose the subscription plan that best suits your needs.
You can sign up for a sandbox account by requesting an invite link to your email address.
Please note: Signatures obtained through a Sandbox account aren’t legally valid – a sandbox account is purely for testing and trial purposes only.
signNow Developer API: Core Features
Collecting eSignatures and managing documents is easy with signNow’s intuitive dashboard and various in-built features. However, API access on top of this enables you to customize signNow’s functionality further and add your own custom integrations into the mix. More specifically, you’ll benefit from the following:
You can use signNow’s developer API to create templates for your most used documents so that you have them to hand when a similar use case arises. You can add basic and advanced fields to customize PDFs and online forms. Fields include dropdown, signature, date, initial, checkbox fields, radio buttons, and more. You can even mark fields as required, perform calculations from the information you receive, and request payments.
You can also organize documents into groups and send them to one or multiple signers in just a few clicks. You can even prefill fields with available information to make the process faster for recipients.
In addition, you can always stay on top of your documents’ status. Reports let you know whether recipients have received, viewed, or signed a document.
Lastly, you can download signed documents to your computer or cloud storage platform and access the document’s history. For example, the date it was sent out, opened, signed, or when either party modifies the doc.
Create eSignature Invites
Using signNow’s API, you can benefit from speedier eSignatures by adding multiple signers and designating roles to each recipient. For example, those who can fill out a witness signature or key signatures or those only permitted to review the document and comment on specific terms.
You can also permit signers to add fields and signatures where they want. This works wonders for fostering easy collaboration and facilitating contract negotiation.
With the API, you can embed document signing into your website or app. This allows users to sign agreements within online forms after supplying the necessary information without leaving their internet browser!
If a mistake happens, signNow also has you covered. For example, you can cancel eSignature invites. You can also set signature or payment reminders, resend invites, and set expiration dates on documentation. With signNow’s API, you can also brand eSignature email invites by adding your company’s logo and customizing the message, text, and colors.
Lastly, at any point, you can review when a signature invite was created, to whom it was sent, and the status of each document – e.g., viewed or signed.
signNow’s developer center covers a versatile range of easy-to-implement API calls (for the uninitiated, an API is any end-point (one end of a communication channel, like a URL) that sends a request to the server), including:
- Get documents via eSignature
- Verify email via electronic signature
- Generate access token via eSignature
- Send an Invite to sign via eSign
- Update document group invite via electronic signature API
- Change user details via electronic signature API
signNow Developer API: SDKs
An SDK (software development kit) facilitates the usage of an application programming interface.
Put simply; it’s a set of tools, programs, and libraries (including, for example, code snippets for various user cases) you can use to create a new application.
Whereas an API can’t be used to build an entirely new application, the SDK has everything a developer needs to develop brand-new tools.
signNow’s SDK is available in five programming languages:
These choices make signNow’s API more versatile for a greater variety of developers. They can work in the language they’re most familiar with and/or the most prevalent language in their existing tech stack.
signNow Developer API: Security
signNow’s developer API comes with impressive certifications that testify to its security.
- signNow’s API uses standard OAuth 2.0 implementation with SSL encryption.
- HIPAA compliance
- GDPR compliance
- PCI DSS compliance – signNow meets the security requirements of trusted payment services like Mastercard, Visa, American Express, etc.
- 21 CFR part 11 compliant – signNow verifies the identity of both sender and signer and provides time-stamped audit trails
- SOC 2 Type II Certification – signNow is certified to meet or exceed industry standards for security, integrity, availability, confidentiality, and privacy
signNow API: The Developer Center and Support
As I discussed at the start of this article, the quality of the developer documentation is crucial when looking to work with an API. The more thorough and user-friendly the documentation, the more likely new users can jump in and create the needed applications.
signNow’s developer center comes with a wide range of references, user cases, and a guide on how to get started. Here you’ll learn how to efficiently use the API to embed documents for e-signing, create templates, send signature invitations, create smart fields, navigate your dashboard, request payments, brand your application, and more.
Each use case comes with precise instructions and code examples, so you can easily modify the code snippets for your own needs. They’re all also clearly labeled in the documentation according to what type of API request an action represents. For example, a request for information, the deletion of information, updating of information, etc.
On top of this, signNow offers 24/7 phone, chat, and email support and a comprehensive FAQs section.
signNow API: Pros and Cons
That’s a lot of information! So let’s condense some of what we’ve covered into a quick pro-cons list:
signNow API Pros
- You can create a free sandbox account to develop applications before they go live.
- The SDK works with five programming languages.
- Pricing plans don’t restrict feature access.
- Extensive self-help documentation is available.
- The developer dashboard is easy to use
- 24/7 technical support is available
- Uptime is continually monitored and boasts a highly reliable 99.99% uptime average
signNow API Cons
- signNow’s API might get expensive if you have to capture a lot of signatures in a year.
signNow API: Alternatives
If signNow’s API isn’t quite for you (perhaps because the price is a little too high for what you need), here are some alternatives worth considering:
Signable is one of the most affordable eSignature APIs on the market. It offers API access alongside all its regular plans, the cheapest of which is $25 per month.
Signable fulfills many similar functions to signNow. For example, you can add custom text and fields to PDFs, send eSignature requests, create document templates, and develop fillable forms that recipients can quickly enter information into.
It also comes with test and live modes for a smoother development process. Overall, Signable’s developer documentation is nowhere near as extensive as signNow’s. Also, while affordable, Signable’s API feels more like an add-on feature alongside its regular plans.
DocuSign is a similarly efficient solution, albeit for a higher price tag. It comes with everything you’d expect from an eSignature API, including the ability to send documents to one or more recipients, configure document routing, set a signing order, PDf editing, and more. While pricing starts at $75 per month, many advanced features only become available on its $300 per month plan, such as reporting, branding, bulk sends, and more. However, it includes a generous amount of documents (100 per month).
Of all three alternatives listed here, EverSign is perhaps the closest to signNow regarding functionality. It allows you to add fillable fields via API, send documents, create document templates, use text tags, add custom text, embed eSigning into your websites and apps, and much more.
Its praised as a user-friendly solution that allows for efficient workflow automation, especially suited to businesses that want to customize their digital onboarding and contract signing. Prices for EverSign API start at $49.99 per month.
signNow Developer API: Pricing
As I’ve mentioned, signing up for signNow’s sandbox account is free. This allows you to test the API and build applications for as long as you want. However, you can’t go live with those integrations until you sign up for a paid plan.
At this point, you’re provided with a free trial with 250 free signature invites (an API signature invite takes place every time you send a document with or without fillable fields to one or more recipients).
This free trial includes all paid features. You can get up and running with unlimited apps to connect to, embedded signing, and collecting legally binding eSignatures. Only after you’ve surpassed 250 signatures will you start paying on a monthly basis.
Pricing is based on how many signature invites you want to send per year.
All signNow API plans come with the following:
- 24/7 technical support, including access to the knowledge center and help from the solution engineering team
- The testing sandbox, developer dashboard, event webhooks, client libraries, and SDKs
- Uptime monitoring
- Signing and sending features, including role-based signature invites, bulk sending, instant reporting, white labeling, embedded signing and sending, sharing folders and documents, signing links, etc.
- Documents, templates, and fields (basic and advanced fields, unlimited templates, prefill fields, and text tags for field creation)
All pricing plans require an annual commitment and are therefore based on annual billing. The cheapest plan is $84 per month and affords you 500 signature invites for the year. Up from that, 1,000 signature invites a year will set you back $146 per month. Lastly, 2,000 signature invites cost $250 per month, and 5,000 cost $500 per month.
There’s also an enterprise solution that offers volume-based and non-profit discounts, custom development, and extra assistance with implementation expertise. You’ll need to contact signNow’s sales team directly for a quote.
signNow Developer API: A Worthy Investment?
signNow facilitates the fast and efficient handling of eSignatures and documents. However, its developer API elevates the platform to the next level.
Before wrapping up, let’s quickly review the key benefits of signNow’s API:
- Reliable uptime and monitoring, plus 24/7 tech support
- Extensive, clear, and user-friendly documentation
- You can create your application for free in its sandbox test environment and get the first 250 signature requests at no cost.
- It supports five programming languages, as well as REST and SOAP implementations.
All in all, I think signNow’s API has the potential to significantly help you speed up and scale your document-related workflows. Best of all, I think you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by taking its free trial offer for a spin to see what you make of it.
That’s all from me, don’t forget to let us know about your experience with signNow’s API in the comments below!