I first heard the term API during 1996-97, when I was programming in VB (Win32 APIs). Hence this is not a new term for sure. But you can hear this term quite frequently these days. What is happening? What has changed? Let us take couple of traditional businesses and see how they have operated.
|Before 1990||During 1990-2010||Now|
|A bank used to transact only between certain business hours till some time back.||Internet Banking Came into Picture. One needed a Desktop to operate. Center and Web as Channels.||Internet and Mobile Banking All one need is some form of mobile device to operate. Operations are 24/7 and the channels are multiple.|
|The business model for an University to run courses on-premise between certain business hours.||Universities started providing online courses.||Online, Offline Courses available. Courses are provided via Web , Mobile and Tablet channels Newer models like MooC coming into picture|
|A Book store selling books in their stores/chain of stores between certain business hours||Internet Shopping via Browsers||Store still exist. Most of the shopping happens via Tablets, Mobile and Web. Price Comparison Sites/Applications. Sell via Blogs and other websites (Widgets). Retargeting|
What is the underlying trend? Internet Explosion and growth of Smart Phones/Devices has forced companies to rethink the way they have done business. The disruption has made companies to rethink their business models. Newer Digital Business Models are evolving which is enabling companies to reach to newer markets, global customers and gain competitive advantage. Few examples You can pay utility bills via the popular chat application you are using http://www.innovativechina.com/2013/07/china-merchants-bank-launches-its-own-wechat-bank/ http://www.opptrends.com/2014/04/after-alibaba-tencent-now-baidu-inc-bidu-comes-with-mobile-wallet/ Internet companies are providing interest for your deposits. http://qz.com/160589/alibaba-yu-e-bao-money-market-account-serious-threat-to-chinese-banks/ It’s a great thing for a consumer and definitely a great opportunity for companies. To address this increasing number of channels and look at newer business opportunities and models, companies needed a way to expose and consume data. APIs have become the common way to expose, consume and communicate to the various channels and fuel innovation.
An API — Application Programming Interface — at its most basic level, allows your product or service to talk to other products or services. Via What is an API?
To see an API in action, check this https://developer.pearson.com/apis/topten-travel-guides/#!/travel/listCategories_get_0 . Portal shows all the APIs that are available. Good one. This is one of my favorite example. Is this happening in just one industry? No, the changes are across the industries (Banking, Retail, Healthcare, Energy, Transportation, Automotive) to name a few. Check this link to see the fastest growing API Categories http://www.slideshare.net/programmableweb/fastest-growing-web-api-categories-last-6-months/ Different types of APIs
- Open APIs (Public, Web APIs – Open to All)
- Partner APIs (Protected, Open to Select Few)
- Enterprise APIs (Private, Your traditional SOA Based mostly, Open to Employees only)
In a nutshell, APIs are a must-have in any technology strategy today. APIs power the Digital Business and acts as the Glue in SMAC stack. References: http://apievangelist.com/index.html http://www.cutter.com/content-and-analysis/resource-centers/agile-project-management/sample-our-research/apmu1306.html Happy Learning!!!