The Future Of APIs Is Here…
Application Programming Interface (APIs) — the rules governing how software programs interact with each other — not user interfaces, will upend software for years to come.
When Intel CEO Brian Krzanich doubled down on the Internet of Things at the company’s annual Developer Forum in August, he emphasized what many of us have already known — the dawn of a new era in software engineering. It’s called API-first design, and it presents a tremendous opportunity for developers who adapt — not to mention a major risk for developers (and companies) who don’t.
Typically, when people design new products and capabilities, they’re asked to design the user interface screens and show how the user experience will look. […]. Touchscreens unleashed a new generation of computing, and fundamentally changed the ways we interact with hardware. But as devices proliferate, system-to-system interactions will dominate people-to-system interactions. Systems don’t need pretty interfaces, they need well-defined contracts. They need APIs.
Just in mobile, one can think of 10 different interfaces. Then there are web, client-server and thin client — it can be overwhelming. The only way to gain control is to focus on the API layer; it’s not even worth thinking through the fragmentation of the interface layer, especially if one is providing a service. Take Netflix, for example. How can a video streaming service with such a simplistic user interface scale to more than 63 million users accessing their video library from hundreds of device types from all across the globe? Excellent APIs.
As devices have outnumbered people, the systems we use to connect them have become incredibly complex. APIs are the foundation of these connections: the mortar between our digital hardware […].The consequences of failing to move to API-centric development are as real for individuals as they are for the companies that employ them. Developers who fail to adapt their talent around APIs run the risk of rapidly devaluing their skills and decreasing their job security.
For companies, the consequences may be magnified. Startups that fail to embrace this technological revolution could become less competitive. They could make inferior products. Some startups could wither away, altogether. Companies that don’t live on the edge of innovation will become pieces of a shrinking pie.
As we move into a more interconnected world, amazing new possibilities emerge. Developers like to consume “bite-sized” stuff. Connected devices, driverless cars and advanced health tech are just a handful of the new technologies API-first design will enable. For these innovations to happen, they must be built on a solid foundation. That means starting system design at the foundational layer — APIs.
Posted by Chet Kapoor on TechCrunchon under: