I work with a business unit at CA that’s all about APIs. Yet, so many people I talk to don’t really understand why APIs matter.APIs matter less because they enable integration and more because they simplify it. Click To Tweet
I’ve been doing this ‘integration thing’ for a long time, at premier companies — TIBCO, Progress (Sonic ESB), and Software AG (Webmethods). At HIMSS the other day, I saw a lot of companies doing “work flow” and seamless integration… things I’ve seen for a long time in premier products. I mean, the stuff I was seeing at HIMSS was childish compared to what I’ve seen for a long time.
And, that’s exactly the point.
Anyone who’s been doing integration for a long time would look at a REST API and say/think — “We’ve been doing integration like that for a long time.”
They probably have.
So it can’t be that API integration is interesting, integration has been happening for a long time.
Then what’s interesting about APIs?
What’s interesting about APIs is the simplicity of API integration and the implications derived from that simplicity. Click To Tweet
It’s not just “faster time to market” or “lower cost integration” but API simplicity affords people with less skill to do complex integration. While that’s scary it’s also an opportunity.
Each computing gen expands utility for normal users by abstracting away control for power users. Already seeing signs of that in ML-based UX
— Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans) February 22, 2017
As Benedict says, the simplicity expands utility.
If integration can be done by more people, more can get done… and the bottlenecks to development shift from the skills needed to do the integration to the skills needed to govern the results of all the development using APIs that’s going to happen.
That’s where API Management comes in… API Management enables, for example, security policy to be defined (by the security or compliance officer) and then implemented in the infrastructure further simplifying the developer experience to expand utility.
Similarly, developer management and analytics becomes important. Who’s doing what, where, and what SLA’s are they getting?
When you realize the power that APIs being used by the “masses” brings, you’ll want to create more APIs faster, and create those APIs consistently (and again, perhaps with less skill needed by the developer creating the API). To address this, CA offers Live API Creator.
A great, if trivial, example of the benefits of looking at integration through this new lens of simplicity can be shared with something we and a partner did using the CA FHIR Developer Portal. A partner wished to highlight their healthcare expertise at CA World.
We have the platform in the developer portal so the partner created a mobile app that shows off their expertise, without needing to build (or maintain) a healthcare platform. CA manages the platform so the partner didn’t need to build a whole back end just to show off a mobile app. We manage the SLA’s, the security, etc. But we didn’t have to write the app. They developed some business use cases that show off their healthcare expertise in a meaningful way, but didn’t have to sweat the details of policy based security, rapid API integration, or secure document sharing and collaboration (that’s built into the app with just ~30 days of development!).
Prior to APIs, this sort of integration was possible, but we (CA) would have had to be way more hands on with the partner’s developer (and there would likely have been more than one developer). We would have had to build a silo to the patient record system, and we couldn’t reuse a lot of that work. Now, any partner that wants to create a mobile healthcare app can start the way the partner did — with our healthcare developer portal.
Everyone wins and the utility of what’s delivered to the customer expands, just as Benedict so clearly articulated in a simple tweet.