In 2017 there seems to be an API for just about everything. You can make products available via an API, messaging, images, videos, and any of the digital bits that make up our lives. I still get excited by some new APIs, but APIs have to have real usage and deliver real value before I’ll get too worked up about them. I’m regularly looking down the list of my digital bits thinking about which are the most important to me, which ones I’ll keep around, and the services I’ll adopt to help me define and manage these bits.
This process has got me thinking really deeply about what I’d consider to be the three most important types of APIs in my life:
- Compute - In my world, compute is all about AWS EC2 instances, but when I think about it, GitHub really handles the majority of the compute for my front-end, but EC2 is the scalable compute for the backend of my world that is driving my APIs.
- Storage - Primarily, storage is all about Amazon S3, but I also depend on Dropbox and Google Drive, and I also put GitHub into the storage bucket because I store quite a bit of JSON, YAML, and other data there.
- DNS - apievangelist.com and kinlane.com are very important domains in my world–they are how I make my living and share my stories. CloudFlare is how I manage this frontline, making DNS an extremely important element in my world.
I leverage compute, storage, and DNS APIs regularly throughout each day–making them very important APIs in my existence. However, these are also the essential ingredients of my APIs as well. I consume these APIs, but I also deploy my APIs with these three elements. Each API has a compute and storage layer, with DNS as the naming, addressing, and discovery for these valuable resources in my world. This makes these three aspects of operating online the three most essential elements in my world–even beyond images, messaging, video, and other elements that are ubiquitous across my digital presence.
It is interesting for me to think about the importance of these elements in my world, as storage and compute were the first two APIs that turned on the lightbulb in my head when it came to the importance of web APIs. When Amazon launched Amazon S3 and Amazon EC2, that is when I knew APIs were going to be bigger than Flickr or Twitter. You could deploy global infrastructure with APIs–you could deploy APIs with APIs! I really enjoy thinking deeply about all my digital bits, and the role APIs are playing–regularly reassessing the value of API-driven resources in my world. It helps me think through what is important, and what isn’t–showing the 98% of all of this tech doesn’t matter, but there is a 2% that does make an actual difference in my digital existence.