DZone Research: How APIs Have Changed Application Development
APIs have made the creation of applications faster, resulting in more flexible applications, while giving developers the opportunity to reuse code.
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To gather insights on the current and future state of API management, we talked to 17 executives who are using APIs in their own organization, as well as helping clients use APIs to accelerate their digital transformation and the development of quality applications. We asked them "How have APIs changed application development?"
Here's what they told us:
- Fundamentally easier and faster to create composite applications that pull in data capabilities from a wide range of sources. APIs enable your apps to deliver value to more people.
- Tremendously. Build software on Linux and Windows with APIs less time to hook into the system. They allow developers to work across different platforms.
- We no longer think about APIs as afterthoughts. They’re first-class citizens of your application strategy. APIs have driven social media growth. They help move faster with microservices architecture decoupling and brought together with APIs. Easier to identify where there are problems.
- Beyond enabling efficient remote communications across the internet, web APIs and especially REST APIs have radically changed the way modern software is delivered, thanks to the emergence of API-First workflow, wherein you start by collaborating on the API contract design, then mock it to support parallel development of the client code, the server code, the automated test suite or the documentation. This enables true continuous development, integration, and delivery of software.
- It’s an exciting time in terms of application development rather than address every conceivable possibility with multiple iterations, you can expose discrete services like a credit score or credit decision, risk decision, fraud decision, credit scoring scorecard as an API to be called when appropriate at any given time.
- The mentality of application development in an API world means you cannot assume your application is the end all be all. Data is going somewhere, to another application or from. Your application needs to be viewed as a conduit. APIs open each application to the extend where the product team can integrate by using available APIs.
- 1) Enabler for the microservices pattern from monolithic application to components each individual element uses APIs to call between and enable in the microservices world. 2) Enables more reuse. Most have APIs being used by 10’s internally and hundreds and thousands externally.
- Zero code development. Same level of modularity and usability is enabled by APIs. Rich applications that allow the consumer to do a lot more. The complexity abstracted away in underlying APIs. The number of combinations and permutations you need to test for go through the roof. Abstract away the complexity of building from developers. Reusing APIs. Available to billions of consumers. The number of digital consumers is exploding, and the applications are becoming more complex and being abstracted away by APIs. The amount of security risk will magnify.
- Goes along with similar trends like distributed microservices. The API is the application. API-first mentality more prevalent. Serverless and containers. The notion of API UX is more important, developer CX is more important. What is the application as you log in and look at the browser is what APIs are really what looking for? A lot more third-party gateways and consolidation in that space. Abstractions lead to less control and you have to hack around use cases.
- The cloud has really changed application development. APIs have existed since the dawn of the computing era. We had an API for the mainframe. They’ve become consumable with the introduction of the public cloud. APIs are building blocks available to developers without having to install software. APIs bring developers to the edge of IoT. Multicell organisms are available to build APIs as a service on the cloud building within weeks and days. Making the same effort on the edge.
- A significant focus on the outcome of APIs really has an impact on business. Apps successful in the marketplace. APIs bring a new way of thinking to developers filling the gap between business and IT to focus on the end user. There are three buckets: 1) the life of CX – chatbots or mobile experience, 2) operational efficiency attributes and signatures for integration of various applications seamless integration between; 3) APIs are becoming products themselves delivering an application themselves. Supporting new trends like blockchain smart contracts, transactions, expose how to interface with AI-based applications.
- The ability to dynamically generate content. APIs make it easier to populate on the fly for an increased level of personalization and customization. Dynamic APIs are more complex.
- Let teams and companies focus on what they are good at and outsource everything else – security, text messages.
- API-led integration is the foundational glue for modern distributed application architectures. Hybrid and multi-cloud deployment, paired with microservices and event-driven patterns have fundamentally changed the way the enterprise builds and runs applications. Properly managed APIs, with an API Platform that operates well within hybrid architectures, is the key to unlocking next-generation business use cases while simultaneously minimizing TCO.
- APIs make it easier to focus on defining the data and methods needed for an operation in a way that both first and third-party applications can be used. Thinking about your contracts and interfaces – how do you need to expose data? What data does your application need? What information would a third-party need? It’s more of a data-first approach.
- APIs have become the key integration point for modern architectures that are fully distributed across on-premises and cloud-based applications. These include everything from SaaS services to packaged applications, and from legacy monoliths and brand new microservices. APIs provide interfaces for leveraging these application and data assets to build delightful user experiences across various channels including mobile and IoT. APIs are the public face of some companies, business development for others, and internal integration points for many. They’re the well-defined interface to the black box of a SaaS service, or an independent microservice, or a carefully-protected data repository. They’re the invisible foundation of most mobile applications, web applications, and connected devices. APIs are key to every digital interaction that a consumer has, yet unknown to most.
Here's who we talked to:
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.