One of the issues that tends to hamper the overall growth rate of the API economy is how challenging it can be to create a REST API.
To help simplify that process, Mashape has partnered with Paw to enable users of the latter company’s software running on an Apple Macintosh to open any public API in Paw, customize it and generate client code in 15 languages. Under the terms of the alliance, the REST APIs created using Paw can now be more directly integrated with the Mashape API management platform.
Ahmad Nassri, vice president of engineering for Mashape, says that Mashape decided to partner with Paw to help democratize the development of REST APIs with an eye toward increasing the number of APIs published in the Mashape online marketplace.
Nassri says the end goal is to automate as much of the API life cycle as possible, regardless of the development environment being used.
Mashape and Paw together are clearly trying to push API creation beyond the realm of the developer. Millions of power users inside organizations could use a relatively simple graphical tool to generate an API, although it's still not something the average business user could pick up. While that may create IT operational and governance issues, from the perspective of the business, it would accelerate any number of projects that are backlogged because there are not enough application development resources available.
Several efforts are already underway to simplify the development of APIs using any number of modeling standards. But Nassri says one of the things that distinguishes Paw is that as a Macintosh application, the REST development process is intuitive enough for a power user to master.
Most business users are still only vaguely aware of the power of REST APIs. If they are given the freedom to create and ultimately invoke their own APIs, it’s probable that the size of API economy would increase by several orders of magnitude. In fact, like it or not, it’s arguable that the very developers that enabled the API economy have become the single biggest limiting factor in terms of spurring its continued growth. The simple truth is that when IT organizations can’t free up developer resources to create and manage APIs, many organizations would rather table projects altogether than allow the size of their application development backlog to get any larger than it already is.
Disclosure: MuleSoft, parent company to ProgrammableWeb, is a competitor to the company(s) mentioned in this article.