APIs are the ‘glue of the connected web’ and all its IoT extensions, but their own interoperability is key to their existence…

Use of so-called Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) is on the rise. Discussion surrounding API technology is no longer the sole preserve of the developer community and APIs are now entering business-tech language conversations.

But what are APIs and why is their interoperability so important and who is responsible for the connection factor?

Application Programming Interfaces for dummies

Every IoT device has a degree of software ascribed to it. In order to connect to central IT systems, other devices and various other management controllers these devices use APIs.

As clarified here, APIs exist to form an irreplaceable communications bond between different software program elements and data streams. APIs describe and demarcate the route for a developer to code a program (or program component) so that it is able to request services from an operating system (OS) or other application.

As explained at the above link, “APIs have the ability to ‘speak’ to and ‘glue’ together any required information components around a system. They are often ‘released’ to third-party programmers who will want to connect application elements and services together. APIs have a required syntax and are implemented by function calls composed of verbs and nouns — simple, well mostly.”

The API is the backbone of the IoT

The ProgrammableWeb.com writes this week to say that the API in now the backbone of the IoT.

“If you work with Application Programming Interfaces (and if you’re reading this you probably do), beyond the dollar signs, there is one more staggering number you should be thinking about: McKinsey finds that forty percent of the whole value of IoT hinges on its interoperability. For the IoT to reach its full potential, privacy and security concerns will have to be addressed, but they won’t even matter if the devices can’t even connect,” writes Jennifer Riggins.

So who is managing all the APIs?

TIBCO isn’t the only company in the API management space (the aptly named Apigee is a key player, IBM is strong, Intel and MuleSoft do a good job and we also have to mention 3scale, Axway, CA Technologies, Informatica, Intel Services, SOA Software and WSO2… but it’s TIBCO that we will mention here due a new product release.

The firm validates its claim for a CAPS name moniker by explaining that TIBCO stands for The Information Bus COmpany … and the firm has just released Mashery Enterprise API as a piece of API management software supplied as a SaaS subscription.

What is API management?

TIBCO’s approach to API management is to explain that APIs need to be created, published, integrated, secured and ‘choreographed’ such that they are in the right place for the right IoT device at the right time.

“API usage is evolving and becoming increasingly sophisticated; hence the need to evolve the API management platform to offer all necessary capabilities such as API creation, integration and management, within a single cloud-based service,” said Matt Quinn executive vice president, products and technology and chief technology officer, TIBCO. “To deliver the diverse and growing needs of digital business, an API management platform now needs to provide capabilities, such as advanced routing and transformation, that have historically been the domain of API development and integration middleware. Mashery Enterprise brings these capabilities together to provide a single, modern API platform.”

TIBCO Mashery Enterprise users can build and test APIs, define run-time governance policies, migrate APIs between environments, and monitor and report on API usage.

The firm says that Mashery Enterprise platform allows users to expose data and services for sharing with developers to expand market reach and generate new revenue streams.

APIs will eventually (very soon) enter the public consciousness at a business-tech level if they haven’t done so already. If you know what an ‘app’ is, then you should know what an API is.

 

 


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I am a technology journalist with over two decades of press experience. Primarily I work as a news analysis writer dedicated to a software application development ‘beat’; but, in a fluid media world, I am also an analyst, technology evangelist and content consultant. As the previously narrow discipline of programming now extends across a wider transept of the enterprise IT landscape, my own editorial purview has also broadened. I have spent much of the last ten years also focusing on open source, data analytics and intelligence, cloud computing, mobile devices and data management. I have an extensive background in communications starting in print media, newspapers and also television. If anything, this gives me enough man-hours of cynical world-weary experience to separate the spin from the substance, even when the products are shiny and new.