Which Financial Data Access Method is Right for You?

Chelsea Caltuna
October 13, 2020

Streaming or snap? Real-time or historical data? There are several questions to ask when choosing the right access method for your financial data. Intrinio offers four main access methods:

  • Web API
  • WebSocket API
  • Direct Database Access
  • Bulk File Downloads

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

Web API

Built for: developers

Use if: you need to pull market data or fundamental data programmatically

Works with: all data feeds

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

Our Web 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 associated data, 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 API

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 Web 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 Web 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. 

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.

Bulk File Downloads

Built for: everyone

Use if: you need large flat files of data

Works with: historical data

Our historical fundamentals and market data are available for download in comma-separated values (CSV) format. Bulk file downloads are ideal for users who need to download large amounts of data at one time, such as decades of stock price data.

When you subscribe to Intrinio data, you will automatically receive access to any bulk download files that correspond to your subscription.

We also provide other access methods, such as FTP, for select use cases. 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!

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