5 ways APIs will be the workhorses of 2015

This year, Web APIs will be an important part of many emerging scenarios -- from the Internet of Things to data analytics to integration.

Web APIs are opening up many new vistas for today's enterprises, and the people who are charged with building the technology to move things forward.

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Photo: Joe McKendrick

Application programming interfaces (APIs) have been part of the developer's toolkit for years for helping to build and link applications. Now, Web APIs, or interfaces to services that can be invoked over the internet, will be a part of any emerging scenario one can think of -- from the Internet of Things to data analytics to integration to end-user tracking. SOA Software's Roberto Medrano has issued his thoughts on what APIs will be doing for us for the coming year, and it appears there is no end to the many jobs APIs will help perform:

1. APIs will pull together the Internet of Things (IoT): "At its core, IoT is really nothing more than an API-enabled platform for extending data to the things that are being used to deliver value to users," Medrano states. "There is no IoT without APIs, and just about every piece of data that gets moved into a device will get there with an API." In addition, Medrano adds, APIs are providing the taxonomy of IoT, enabling "data transactions at the device level, without having to wait for back-end processing to do the work needed to deliver outcomes to the user."

2. APIs will enable greater cloud integration: Cloud and SaaS applications need to be integrated in Internet time, and APIs provide the agility to get that integration in rapid order, Medrano says. In addition, expect to see more emphasis on identifying, integrating, orchestrating, and managing the APIs that will help pull together applications and data.

3. APIs will provide access to more big data analysis: In the year ahead, APIs won't just facilitate the transmission and communication of data, "but actually apply analytics to understand how that data is being used," Medrano predicts. "APIs deliver tons of data and insights about customer behavior that cannot be pulled from any other source," Medrano points out. Such insights include who is using data, how it's being consumed, and when modifications and changes are required.

4. APIs will open doors to innovation: APIs will help drive innovation in two ways. First, "enterprises are opening up their data through APIs to unleash the creativity of partner and third-party developers," Medrano states. Second, "API-enabled products and services are giving developers tools that allow them to focus on building something new, innovative and usable, and in a way that they don't have to worry about managing back-end and server-side administrative tasks." Such built-in features include security and orchestration capabilities.

5. APIs will boost the use of microservices: APIs are highly componentized specifications, and this lends itself naturally to the breaking down of enterprise applications into microservices. "APIs are brokering different and varied types of data and apps, while microservices help construct these apps as a mix of necessary services rather than as a huge, tightly-coupled, singularly focused conglomeration of software," Medrano explains.

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