What's Changed With Integration and APIs?
We spoke with 19 executives about the accelerated adoption of APIs, the importance of containers and microservices, and REST APIs.
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To gather insights on the state of integration, API design, and API management, we spoke with 19 executives who are familiar with integration and APIs and asked them, "What are the most significant changes to integration in the past year?"
Here's what they told us:
Acceleration of Adoption
The proliferation of APIs. Integration is heterogeneous. As you go outside the bounds of the company, you run into all shapes and sizes of integration that are API-based. Shift from relational storage to NoSQL.
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The general adoption of APIs. Every service is an API-driven technology. It cannot be an afterthought if you’re going to have deep access to the platform. Business users are aware of integration as a tool – notifications and how to put data into the right place.
- More systems are being built with an API-first approach. Use an API key versus username and password. Build whatever client you want the user to interact with. A lot is being built where you just have to put your information in. Need to be able to integrate with other software out of the box.
- 1) The pace and pervasiveness have accelerated. Initial work was project based. The maturity around creating a shared service model has evolved with a consistent security layer. A more strategic approach enables the tactical to happen more quickly. Enforce corporate policy and increase developer productivity. 2) Shift toward moving outside for supporting mobile apps, SaaS integration is owned by the corporation. The trend is to expose data for others, outside your organization to build and innovate on. Look at the customer journey, partner with them, and publish stuff from outside developers. Expose APIs to build microbusinesses.
- With the prevalence of cloud and changes to integration, iPaaS is the center of the universe connecting with clouds, SaaS, and down to the business. Leverage what’s there. API’s are exploding because they are the solution to the integration problem.
- More and more enterprises and startups embrace DevOps as a practice, with integration becoming a key factor in their success. By connecting all the tools in the DevOps tool stack, teams can improve collaboration, increase efficiency and ship more reliable code - all while working in the tool where each member is most productive. The definition of business value is evolving to be much more than just number of users or profit. Now that a brand can be damaged with a single social media post, non-functional characteristics like reliability and supportability are becoming primary objectives. This is where integrations are key to keeping consumers happy. By connecting service desks to internal systems, teams can orient to business value by collecting valuable feedback and focusing on the right work.
Containers and Microservices
- A heightened focus on the containerization of applications. Adoption of DevOps. Leveraging Docker and AppFoundry. The need to support containerized deployment. Microservices. Leading edge companies are embracing IoT and realizing integration is the second biggest challenge after security (Gartner survey).
- The rise of the platform-centric approach to integration is a significant (and positive) change that can offer some of the flexibility, as well as the structure and maintainability to make it work for a large organization. With microservices hitting their stride, developers now have the tools to quickly build integrations with any system imaginable, and the challenges posed by legacy systems integration are diminished.
- There have been three main trends. The first has been the growing set of public services that are available, and developers are more than happy to use these rather than reimplementing work already done by others. The second has been the explosion of microservice architectures, making internal services available across the enterprise. The third trend has been the improvements to the hardware and software frameworks available to run an application’s frontend logic. These trends have all been pushing the core application functionality into the frontend, leaving the backend as a gatekeeper and integration point for the services on which they depend.
- Stream processing and providing visibility into different data centers by having analytics on top of the integration platform.
- The last 10 years the digital economy has been driving human needs and revenue as such we’ve been thinking about how to improve the developer experience. We’ve also become more customer focused. We focus on design and documentation. Swagger makes it easy for consumers to understand what an API does.
- In the recent past, REST-based interfaces and common authentication models so integration and authorization are common.
- Global adoption of REST. This is what people need to focus on since this is what developers are expecting.
- In earlier days, there were not many standards for integration, but we see great progress in the last few years, making integration among third-party applications seamless. Especially in the last 1–2 years, we have seen JSON becoming the most popular format for data exchange. Also, the case of OAUTH+SSH being the most popular mechanism for authentication. Then come the various libraries that could perform input data validation, filtering, and cleaning. The combination of such methods has led to people expecting a standard way of consuming API, which has been a significant change.
- Following the rest of the web tendencies: security. Not only from a purely technical point of view (for example: steps have been taken by browser vendors to push https, and authentication is now needed on almost every API), but also stricter access to users’ data. Recently Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram made drastic changes to permissions given to API consumers: some services previously given access to users’ data now need a valid justification, or sometimes they are now simply impossible.
- The means for your cloud and on-premises applications to coexist cloud platforms must enable customers to access their data wherever it resides – in the cloud and on-premises – delivering trustworthy data while meeting their company’s security and compliance standards. Cloud platforms differentiate themselves through a large set of capabilities, including 1) Comprehensive iPaaS supporting cloud to cloud, cloud to on-premises, and on-premises to on-premises for data, service and process integration scenarios and patterns. 2) Flexibility to choose any environment and move workloads from on-premises to cloud and vice versa, depending on the application, processing or other characteristics. 3) Shared metadata and definitions, and interoperable and reusable integrations across cloud and on-premises. 4) The flexibility of design environment so data and application integration designers can leverage the tooling of their choice: either cloud-based on on-premises. 5) Self-service consumption by lines of businesses and departments while still enabling centralized governance by integration competency centers. 6) Data management services including data replication, data quality, master data management, address validation, data masking and test data management. 7) Secure agent technology with auto-updates for secure access to on-premises applications and middleware platforms for cloud to on-premises integrations. 8) SDK and APIs to embed and extend the platform. 9) Broad, secure connectivity (on-premises and cloud), including SaaS, on-premises systems and database, message formats, B2B libraries, Big Data, Social Networks, unstructured data, devices, and so on.
- We have updated our API to add support for developers to present their own UI/widgets and added SDKs for node.js, Java, and Python.
What other changes have you observed with regards to integration, API design, or API management?
Here’s who we talked to:
- Murali Palanisamy, E.V.P., Chief Product Officer, AppViewX
- Kevin Fealey, Director of Automation and Integration Services, Aspect Security
- Max Mancini, VP of Ecosystem, Atlassian
- Shawn Ryan, V.P. Product Marketing, Digital as a Service, Axway
- Parthiv Patel, Technical Marketing Manager, Built.io
- Chaitanya Gupta, CTO, Flock
- Anwesa Chatterjee, Director of Product Marketing, Informatica Cloud
- Simon Peel, CMO, Jitterbit
- Keoki Andrus, VP of Products and Steve Bunch, Product Manager APIs and Integrations, Jive
- Rajesh Ganesan, Director of Product Management, ManageEngine
- Brooks Crichlow, Vice President, Product Marketing, MongoDB
- Derek Smith, CEO, Naveego
- Guillaume Lo Re, Senior Software Engineer, Netvibes
- Vikas Anand, V.P. Product Management and Strategy – Integration, Oracle
- Keshav Vasudevan, Product Marketing Manager, SmartBear
- Kevin Bohan, Director of Product Marketing, TIBCO
- Pete Chestna, Director of Developer Engagement, Veracode
- Milt Reder, V.P. of Engineering, Yet Analytics
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