MBaaS enterprise provider AnyPresence today has released a new product, JustAPIs, aimed at helping developers within the enterprise to quickly build new APIs. The API entry-level service is also suited to independent developers who want to get an API up and running quickly, says Richard Mendis, chief marketing and product officer at AnyPresence.
“When we are out there selling our MBaaS solution, we often run across app developers who need to build a few RESTful APIs for their apps,” says Mendis. He says these are app developers working behind the corporate firewall who want to test a solution, connect a data set via API into an existing app, use a RESTful API as a proxy access to a SOAP legacy system or create APIs to build a prototype app.
“At the moment they have three options,” says Mendis. He continues:
- They can build them on their own, but this requires a level of complexity for API creation, having the time available and being skilled in back-end development;
- They can use an MBaaS solution, but then they have no control over routes and signatures, and cloud-based MBaaS solutions can’t connect behind the firewall; or
- They can use an API management solution, but this is often complex and is suited as a large deployment solution, not really for five or six APIs being built for an app or a prototype.
Responding to these needs, AnyPresence then built this as a feature in its enterprise mobile back-end-as-a-service solution. “Then we realized this could be a solution that could be carved out and used by any developer,” Mendis says.
Mendis lists a number of use cases that he sees JustAPIs will be able to fill:
- To build new APIs from scratch
- To define APIs and write the business logic for an enterprise use case
- To convert legacy APIs into modern RESTful JSON APIs (where the JustAPIs-created API is then used as a proxy)
- To enable hackathons to create competition API sandboxes that can simulate production APIs, but pointing to a sample database instance
- To migrate apps with a legacy back end into an MBaaS server; users can create API endpoints that match the legacy systems and then route these to new cloud service infrastructure
The service can also group API endpoints from multiple APIs and deliver through a single API. This could be useful for new business partners who want to provide a singular access point to their shared customers. Mendis talks about how two AnyPresence customers — MasterCard and Citi — are both involved in the Citi Mobile Challenge.
Mendis believes their partnership, which came about without any behind-the-scenes urging from AnyPresence itself, shows the dynamism of the AnyPresence ecosystem, where now customers are creating their own relationships with each other, a sign of a strong network effect. Mendis imagines the possibility where Citi and MasterCard could route credit card transactional data users from each of the company’s products into a single composite API accessible by the one API endpoint. End customers or third-party developers could then integrate this one API into products that allow customers to manage their separate accounts in a singular view.
This points to two further potential use cases for the JustAPIs product:
- As a way to foster business partnerships to communicate with each other via API as an initial foray into automating data sharing and improving cooperative processes
- To capitalize on this idea of building composite APIs, whether that be between partners or even within the one enterprise by compositing their APIs from across business units into a singular API endpoint
JustAPIs runs as a package installation on Linux, Windows and OS X, meaning it is also ideally suited for independent app developers who want to start creating APIs for their apps.
Documentation for JustAPIs looks clear and user-friendly, built using the HelpiQ knowledge base tool. In particular, an overview section shows the API creation process in a clear workflow:
Mendis thinks the product will be most often compared with an API management solution, but he is quick to point out that this is not really the competitive space the company is entering.
There is a difference. API management solutions are generally companywide. JustAPIs are targeting individual API developers that have an app usage need. Also, JustAPIs starts at $50 a month. It is one binary file that literally installs instantly. You should be able to start writing APIs in minutes. So if you used JustAPIs, you are ready to build apps on top of that. We offer a best-of-breed enterprise back-end server, test kits and dynamic smart SDKs. We’re not looking to compete with API management providers; we are targeting the need of the individual app developer who needs a few APIs for their app.
JustAPIs offers a free 30-day trial to test the product.