January 16, 2017

The Arc-E-Tect's Predictions for 2017 - API's and Webservices [2/10]

The Arc-E-Tect's Prediction on API's

It's 2017, meaning 2016 is a done deal, and most of my predictions for 2016 (I predicted them about a year ago, but never got around documenting them in any form) have proven to be absolutely bogus. Which leads me to come up with my predictions for 2017 and properly document them. So continue your effort reading this post and hopefully you'll enjoy reading them. Unfortunately we'll have to wait for about a year to find out to what extent I got it all right, but for now, ... API's!

Why API's? Well, API's are all the rage and everybody and their mother is working on platforms, and as we all know; Without API's there is no platform.

API's in, Webservices out

Okay, in 2017 we'll feel ashamed when we talk about web-services and SOA. Instead we'll talk about API's. This is closely related to my first prediction on Microservices, which you can read here.

API's are basically another word for webservice to many people. So there's not much different here. Just as with the Microservices, we'll see mentioning of API's more and more where in the past we talked about webservices. Until people are referring to platforms, something that is really picking traction. Still I'm not talking about platforms, but about API's instead.

The reason for this is their strong relationship with Microservices. Delivery of a platform is a strategic decision that defines the direction in which an organisation is thinking about products. API's, which expose the functionality of a platform, are products. You can read all about this in my series on API Management on Azure, which you can find here. Other than web-services, which are pieces of functionality and/or data exposed via a well defined interface, API's are always targeted at an external consumer of the service. In other words, an API never knows who's calling nor does it make any assumptions about who's calling. Web-services on the other hand might very well be limited to a known set of consumers and make assumptions about their consumers.

The promise of web-services, predominantly a decoupling between functionalities in an IT landscape, is limited to those case where the web-service, or rather it's interface is treated as an API. API's, almost by definition, are bound to deliver on the promise of decoupling. When developed properly, taken care of and fronting independent pieces of software, API's are the closest thing to silver bullets in software we've come across so far. And since we love silver bullets, API's are in, web-services turned out to be just plain old regular bullets, so they're out.

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