API Platform Landscape: The latest Trends & Challenges (2022)
We all are aware that API (Application Programming Interface ) enables intercommunication between two applications. And that API is at the heart of all digital ecosystems.
What pumps blood through the heart of a digital ecosystem is the API landscape. An API landscape is a comprehensive set of all the tools and services published by your organization. It connects all the APIs (internal and external), creating an environment to foster quicker product cycles. API landscapes vary according to your audience (public/private/partner).
Before unraveling the latest trends in the API platform landscape, let us give you a little clue about the global market insights of the API industry. According to the statistics given by Mordor Intelligence, the global API market is to generate USD 12.45 billion in revenue by 2026, growing at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 7.5% from 2019 to 2026.
Now coming to the point,
What are the 2022 trends in the API Platform landscape?
API-first is the latest trend in the IT industry. This trending software development model puts APIs at the front & center of the product cycle. API-first creates a platform to incubate and foster innovations.
Benefits of API-first:
- Enables parallel software development
- Accelerates development process
- Lowers risk of failure
- Improves developer experience
- Reduces development cost.
More and more companies are approaching towards API-first model. However, we should also consider that API-first is a concept that varies from organization to organization. A developer might consider it a product-centric approach, whereas a CEO might consider it an organizational approach. Moreover, the concept may change, yet the context remains the same. APIs are vital for the business to thrive.
2) Cloud Architectures: multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud
According to Coherent market insights, the global cloud API market is gaining traction and is expected to reach USD 2.94 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 9.5% from 2022 to 2030.
Also, more than 90% of global enterprises are using multi-cloud environments. Multi-cloud architecture involves services provided by multiple public cloud vendors. The hybrid cloud architecture involves a combination of at least one public cloud vendor with one/multiple private cloud vendors.
The benefits of multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud architectures are:
- Flexibility and agility
- Reduced risk of vendor lock-in
- Optimal cloud performance
- Enables geographical distribution of apps and services
- Cost efficacy
3) Monetize API-as-a-Product
The trend of monetizing API-as-a-product is gaining momentum in the IT industry. API-as-a-Product model does not limit to the delivery of APIs. It brings a brand-new paradigm to offer API as a product itself (in B2B).
The business logic is to treat API as an asset instead of considering it just a codebase. Besides, it is highly beneficial to devise roadmaps and product lifecycles to monetize APIs as products.
While marketing API as a product, it is very important to serve both consumer segments (external and internal). Only then it is possible to improve user experience and generate revenue.
USPs required to monetize APIs as products:
- APIs must be customer friendly
- APIs must be simply structured; easy to describe, onboard, and consume.
- APIs must be unique and secure
Organizations have started recognizing API lifecycles as a long-term process. Traditionally, the company’s services ended with API delivery. However, by monetizing the API-as-a-product model, businesses are adding along with development costs, the cost of maintenance, upgrades, and support services.
4). Opensource API gateways
API gateway is a front-facing service for all microservices. It acts as an entry point for the application. This also means that it has information about all the endpoints. API gateway is vital for:
- authentication & authorization
- traffic control
- fault tolerance
- schema specification
- load balancing and routing
- reverse proxy and insulation
- analytics and caching
- monetization and subscription support
There is a rising trend with an upsurge in the number of vendors offering open-source API gateways and management tools. This leaves the developers with a lot of options to choose from.
Some well-known open-source gateways are Kong Gateway, Kraken, Tyk, Apache APISIX, Ocelot, Goku, Fusio, Apigee, Amazon API Gateway, and many more.
5). Trending Protocols:
HTTP and REST-based protocol services are already dominating the global market. However, there is traction in the newer version of protocols like gRPC, GraphQL, and WebSockets. Where gRPC supports internal microservices, GraphQL keeps together unlike data sources, and WebSockets support asynchronous communication. The API lifecycles are different for different APIs. These rising trends are giving developers more options for development.
6). Shifting left on the API security:
According to a survey by Salt Security on ‘API security trends,’ more than 40% of its respondents were concerned about security threats caused by zombie (outdated) APIs.
Shifting left on security means considering security in the very first stage of the development cycle. APIs are entry points of applications. Hence, they are susceptible to higher risks of security breaches. However, while talking of an entire API platform landscape, emphasizing the security of only one API is useless. We recommend a shifting-left on security approach along with runtime infrastructures like firewalls.
While shifting left on API security, the developers must consider:
- The number of APIs across the code repositories
- Which APIs are in direct interface with the internet?
- Which APIs are more susceptible to security breaches?
- Which APIs lack authorization or input validation?
- How many APIs are carrying sensitive data and which are they?
Challenges faced by organizations with the API platform Landscapes:
- Clear Alignment: In the initial phase of the API lifecycles, organizations struggle with clear alignment, as it takes longer to get their team of developers aligned.
- Centralized API documents can be a big challenge. For improving user experience developers need to maintain UpToDate documents. Poorly maintained documents are surely a disadvantage.
- API service catalogs are most underrated and neglected. API service catalogs often turn into static pages that are neither updated nor integrated with the API lifecycles. This can be a drawback.
- Many companies have an efficient team of developers, yet they struggle in getting the perfect design for the API landscape. This is because of skill gaps.
- Developers find it a struggle to choose from too many options of microservices. Microservices demand micro-teams for development and support. Also, thin teams are engaged in the maintenance of these services. This increases the consumption and cost of resources.
- Hiring and onboarding efficient developers are difficult. However, retaining resources in this highly competitive market is a real challenge.
Emerging organizational roles in the API first world
- Chief Information Officer (CIO)s for Quality Analysis and reliability engineering.
- Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)s to actively track APIs and ensure potential security.
- The Head of the API Platform manages the API platform landscape for an organization. This role is emerging in the internal APIs as well as in the public and private API landscapes.
- The Head of Developer Experience ensures end-to-end developer experience (from onboarding to retention). The Head of Developer Experience take care of the developers and make sure that they are provided with the proper resources and tools required for the development.
- API Product Managers manage the entire skill set, handle user requirements, and ensure the success of API lifecycles
The API industry is vast, dynamic, and ubiquitous. To back it up with stats and facts
- GitHub has more than 2 million API repositories
- More than 80% of internet traffic comes from API services
- Programmable Web lists more than 24,000 public APIs, in its directory
- More than 90% of developers are using APIs
- 56% of developers claim to have built better products using APIs
This blog is to give you an insight into the API market and define the latest trends & challenges driving the API Platform Landscape.
The IT Industry is growing at a rapid pace. Here technologies update within a blink. Keeping up pace with development is the only way to survive in this highly competitive industry. To get more updates on the latest technologies and trends in the market, stay connected with us.