An API is an application programming interface, essentially a software module constructed with an interface that allows other software to integrate with it. With APIs, software functionality becomes like Lego bricks – stacking software modules together becomes easy, enabling you to quickly build new software solutions. APIs allow you to effortlessly continue to develop your solution by adding, changing, or removing bricks. This gives you much more agility and productivity than traditional, monolithic applications have provided. APIs are as old as computing, so there is nothing new about the API as a concept. What is interesting are recent advances that are giving APIs a more powerful role.
I have always been interested in the API’s. Primarily because it gives a more modular control over data streams where you can build compelling products. Twitter had long offered its API’s to spur on ecosystem but once they acquired scale, they shut them down. However, API for modular system of enterprise data is more appealing where decentralised systems are connected via API’s for promotion of “health-exchange”. These open standards, if fostered by the governments and regulators, can scale up healthcare data while pushing forward the idea of federation-open stacks where anyone can build products on the derivatives.
It is a simple idea and has multiple redundancies built in so that no single point of failure can measurably impact the services.
Again from the blog:
As all of these trends came together, suddenly companies were able to build their software in a much more modular way – each Lego brick worked well with other Lego bricks, and everything integrated together. In addition, the growing demand for APIs is fueling growth in supply, with an ever-increasing selection of different kinds of Lego bricks being offered by API-first SaaS companies. The most well-known example is probably Amazon Web Services, which was a result of a mandate to publish APIs that others could use, reducing the need for coordination. There are other companies that have done this as well, for example, Ant Financial, which has published all of their foundational business capabilities as APIs.
The author of the blog provides a compelling use case scenario:
Anyone can set up an online shop using Shopify, accepting payments through Stripe, providing customer service through APIs, selling and marketing through Facebook, and shipping through a logistics provider that offers APIs. Because of APIs, all of these capabilities can be integrated so that they look seamless to the customer while optimizing internal efficiencies at the same time
I will iterate on this idea further, because it represents internal data migration, and building/scaling products becomes possible without hierarchical roles. Internally, companies and enterprises need to understand the ideas for rapid scaling and adoption of these technologies trends because they promote efficiency at scale.