All eyes on the API

Once a humble backdrop to real software development, API design is coming into its own

InfoWorld blogger Andrew Oliver observed in September 2014 that APIs are the glue that will hold together not just web services, but the Internet of Things. If IoT is about what multiple devices can do together, then it is ultimately about the data, and how well, securely, and consistently the API exposes it.

In "The Modern API," Josh Begleiter notes that the while the "concept of the API is as old as programming itself," advances in infrastructure, type and variety of programming languages, and abundant computing resources have created new opportunities. They have also put new demands on developers to design and deploy APIs to a clear and maintainable standard. "[I]magine what would happen if Facebook released a new version of the API with a new definition of their 'friend' service, or if Twitter decided to change the definition of their 'tweet' services; overnight many thousands of applications would be broken."

For developers new to API design, an initial challenge is to navigate the explosion of API specifications and tools, including Slate, Swagger, RAML, and Apiary. Developers must also decide which comes first: the API specification or the source code. Read that debate on Hacker News...

This story, "All eyes on the API" was originally published by Java Everywhere.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.