APIs in 2012: Predictions From the Experts

Adam DuVander
Jan. 03 2012, 10:29AM EST

The web API as we know it will turn 13 years old this year. Will we see more maturity, or are we still looking at a gangly teenager? We asked those same experts who identified 2011 API trends to look into their crystal balls. How will APIs change in 2012 and what future trends can you prepare for now? Will Mobile and Devices Influence API Strategies? Daniel Jacobson, Netflix: "As the number of connected devices grow in 2012, so will the API strategies for companies who seek to reach audiences on those devices. This will be part of the overall trend of companies putting greater emphasis into their private API strategies." Romin Irani, ProgrammableWeb blogger: "Mobile Apps using APIs increasing vis-a-vis Web Mashups." Will API Commerce Finally Prosper? Marc Mezzacca, NextGen Shopping: "ROI Realization for Open Data APIs within E-Commerce -- The more information that is easily accessible and able to be gathered, the more data mining and research can occur in an efficient manner, which ultimately leads to increased ROI for both the API consumer and provider. Simple access to robust data paves the way for creativity! This is particularly true in e-commerce, which Amazon and eBay have known for some time, and large retailers like Best Buy and Zappos are realizing now. Should continue to see an increase in API offerings from retailers, and hopefully further enhancements among the larger affiliate networks." Guillaume Balas, 3Scale: "We'd expect some new segments to show strong growth. Media and content and eCommerce are both seeing a groundswell of API plans underway. Social will likely continue to be a growth area since the sector defacto requires integration." Randi Barshack, Mashery: "We see a major drive for adoption of APIs by partners particularly in B2B environments and to power affiliate-type relationships in retail or other commerce related industries (like travel). Travel and hospitality, as well, seemed to have boomed as an industry in 2011 and we expect that to continue in 2012. "As well, APIs in retail (including even luxury brands) has gained significant traction in 2011- initially spurred by a need for rapid development of mobile, in-store kiosk and other shopping assistance apps in time for holiday shopping. With the holidays behind them and APIs in place, we expect to see retailers use APIs to enable partner networks as well as to experiment and foster innovation." Will 'API as Product' Become an Accepted Business Model? Romin Irani, ProgrammableWeb blogger: "More APIs either shutting down or going to a paid model to make economic sense and also to guarantee some SLA to the end developer" Marc Mezzacca, NextGen Shopping: "Continued increase in companies focusing their entire business model on being a data/API provider (eg. Sqoot offering Daily Deals API with no front-end website)." Will Large APIs Give REST a Rest? Daniel Jacobson, Netflix: "With even more devices expected to enter the market throughout 2012, the need to support a wide range of user experiences will continue to grow. As a result, the 'one-size-fits-all' model for API design will be called into question by some, particularly with respect to private APIs. I expect that some of the more progressive API providers will investigate strategies to embrace the differences of these devices in 2012, if they have not already done so. Some of these companies will likely break REST conventions in significant ways to solve scaling challenges in serving the growing needs and capabilities of these devices." Will the API Go Mainstream? Guillaume Balas, 3Scale: "Until now APIs have been mainly launched by technology companies or companies with a strong background and long history of presence on the Internet. We believe that in 2012 this won't be any longer the case: more 'traditional' companies such as Insurance companies or car manufacturers will appear on the API business scene." Will We See an API Trillionaire? Daniel Jacobson, Netflix: "ProgrammableWeb's API Billionaire's club is going to become obsolete in 2012 as the number of companies that will reach such milestones will be too large to track and too large to have any meaning." For more API predictions, be sure to see O'Reilly's excellent post on the topic.

Adam DuVander -- Adam heads developer relations at Orchestrate, a database-as-a-service company. He's spent many years analyzing APIs and developer tools. Previously he worked at SendGrid, edited ProgrammableWeb and wrote for Wired and Webmonkey. Adam is also the author of mapping API cookbook Map Scripting 101.

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