Open Source Apigility Project from Zend Aims to Standardize API Development

Michael Vizard
Nov. 05 2013, 01:00PM EST

Building APIs not only requires discipline; ideally, the process also should be incorporated within the actual development process of the application. With that goal in mind, Zend, a provider of application development tools for building PHP applications, is promoting the adoption of a new open-source Apigility project that provides a standardized way to build and maintain multiple versions of an API.

With PHP being widely deployed to build Web and mobile applications that rely heavily on APIs for integration, it became apparent that developers needed a method for building APIs in a consistent way that not only makes them easier to create, but also provides a level of quality that other developers can count on when they invoke that API, according to Zend CEO Andi Gutmans.

While modeling languages are a step in the right direction, Gutmans says integrating API development at a more fundamental level means developers won’t have to step out of their existing development environment to create APIs for their applications. As part of a larger effort to increase the quality of PHP applications, Zend has also released a Blueprint for Continuous Delivery that provides a more structured framework for building and then deploying PHP applications on a Zend server.

In addition, Zend has announced its intention to deliver Zend Server on top of the Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering being developed by Pivotal, a unit of EMC. Zend Server is already available on the IBM Smart Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Red Hat OpenShift, RightScale and several other cloud platforms.

On one level, Gutmans is really promoting known best application development practices. But in a mobile era where more presentation logic than ever is running on the client, Gutmans says it’s become critically important to pay attention to where business logic needs to run within any given application. In the case of mobile applications, for example, dynamic programming languages such as PHP make it possible to leverage business logic on the client to personalize the presentation level for different users based on how they interact with the back-end application server via an API.

With organizations developing more applications than ever, a more structured approach to the process associated with launching and updating the application is vital, and the APIs that are used to integrate those applications must be just as proactively managed. Whether that occurs within the development environment or using some third-party tool may not be as significant as the fact that vendors are finally starting to make it easier for developers to both build and, just as importantly, maintain APIs over an extend period of time.

Michael Vizard

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