API Economy

Over the last few years we’ve witnessed the emergence and maturation of Mobile App Economy, Sharing Economy and now the API Economy. The convergence of these technologies has created new opportunities in the Enterprise space for software innovation.

Application programming interface (API) allows companies to expose business capabilities and services. These APIs can be invoked from a browser, mobile app, or any Internet-enabled endpoint. There are governance and security concerns that must be built to support security, performance and data transfer speeds.

The API Economy involves unlocking new business opportunities by innovating / re-architecting the enterprises’ internal existing silo-ed business services. The model is commonly knows as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), it enables companies to participate in mobile and social platforms, shared economy and the emerging wearables.

The following are the core features the API Economy:

  1. Externalized enterprise software capabilites
  2. API Management / Governance
  3. API Discovery

Externalized enterprise software capabilites
Companies leverage existing business software capabilities by wrapping them as REST endpoints. They create brand new APIs to compliment and complete the existing APIs.

API Management / Governance
Security is paramount. It must be implemented as inherent layer of the API endpoint. Authentication & Authorization, usage rate limiting, performance monitoring and lifecycle management of API versions are core features.

API Discovery
The API Disovery provides a protocol, machine-readable independent API for asynchronously discovering remote services. Registering new services to be discovered and subscribers to be asynchronously notified when service types and services are published.

It provides services for:

  1. Listing of RESTful API resource schemas based on JSON Schema.
  2. Listing of API methods and available parameters for each method.
  3. Listing of available Authentication methods.
  4. Documentation on how to invoke REST endpoints (i.e. methods, parameters and types.

The straightforward benefits are accelerated time and effort in developing new applications and services. Developers (Enterprise and outside independant) can build mashup apps and services. It exposes companies to new business opportunities, and makes them relevant to the current generation of end users.