API innovation through management tools

Editor Jan Stafford presents the API handbook with insight on API innovations.

When CEOs, CIOs, CTOs and DevOps pros start talking about managing a technology, it means that technology has become a valuable asset. Application programming interface (API) management has been the talk of IT town for over a year, and will be for years to come.

The combined API innovation and API management tools market is growing by over $100 million a year, a pattern that will continue for at least five more years, according to Jeffrey  Hammond, analyst for Forrester Research.

What's so hot about APIs? Essentially, APIs simplify connecting applications and platforms, adding features to applications and more by providing a user interface to an application and its parts. Some liken APIs to a restaurant menu or a TV remote control. The restaurant’s kitchen and the TV are the applications, and the menu and remote control are the APIs.

Provided with a way to innovate, software developers are attacking some chronic problems in application connectivity. APIs are fostering integration and interoperability of enterprise applications and Web and cloud services, which have been a barrier to software collaboration for years, says IT journalist Crystal Bedell. Businesses, ISVs and cloud providers who are sharing their APIs are growing significantly, simply by making their solutions easier for their customers to integrate into a multi-vendor or hybrid environment.

When it comes to user-friendliness, API innovation is a benefit and a problem for businesses today and a driver for adoption of application management solutions. In part two, enterprise architect Todd Biske offers advice on types of management tools businesses should use and describes analytics and reporting tools in depth.

This handbook's exploration of APIs ends with some cautionary advice on APIs' ease of use from enterprise architect Michael Ogrinz. Knowing several programming languages is a boon and sometimes a must for building and using APIs, says Ogrinz. Most often, developers need to find APIs written in the same language as their applications are. Also, language compatibility is an issue when integration apps with APIs. His advice can help developers and architects learn about skills needed and workarounds.

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