This blog post is intended to provide an introduction to APIs and the best practices surrounding their use. It is the first post in a multi-post series that covers the basics of APIs, as well as more advanced topics like API security and monetization.
What are APIs?
APIs are defined/predictable ways to interact with a computer system.
- Technically they are “Application Programming Interfaces” o APIs allow a product or service to talk to another product or service o APIs gives access to people/developers to Enterprise data/resources from outside an Enterprise security circle (firewall).
- Opening one’s product’s data and functionality to other developers, either internal or external.
- APIs can help Enterprises generate direct and indirect revenue.
- Direct – An API usage policy in which the developer pays to utilize that functionality.
- Indirect – The developer does not directly pay to use the API, but the usage itself brings in more traffic and benefit the Enterprise. (potential sale, getting data, etc.)
API and SOA
APIs are always designed to be attractive to the intended consumer and change as the needs of the consumer changes. Services (SOA), in contrast, are generally designed with global cost and stability as the most important concerns.
Services are the means by which providers codify the base capabilities of their domains. APIs are the way in which those capabilities (services) are repackaged, productized, and shared in an easy-to-use form.
APIs and services are complementary rather than contradictory, and when applied together, they dramatically increase the overall effectiveness of enterprise innovation.