The API ecosystem has doubled in a year, but there are many companies yet to embrace the movement. A new open source management service, apiGrove, aims to ease these businesses into the future. The software is available on GitHub with Alcatel-Lucent (ProgrammableWeb's parent company) as lead contributor, with support from other influential organizations.
“There’s a collective momentum around open source in cloud computing," said Olliance Group's Andrew Aitken. "This move is effectively doing to the enterprise API market what RedHat did to the enterprise server market."
While Alcatel-Lucent is taking a similar service and customization approach as RedHat, the API management platform appears fully functional. Providers are able to scale, meter and secure their APIs from code that can be downloaded on GitHub. Companies that want to move up to commercial products are not stuck with apiGrove, which gives them the option to manage their API with any vendor.
The company went deeper into the reason for openness in the announcement post:
While we are proud of apiGrove, we know no software product is ever truly complete. There is always more work to be done, more improvements to be made, more capabilities to be added. One of the reasons we decided to open source apiGrove is that we wanted to obtain the kind of direct feedback and improvement that is only possible with an open sourced project. We are committed to building a robust community of users and developers, so we can all create the best possible API management tools.
"The future of the API ecosystem lies in building on an open industry foundation and a holistic approach that spans the network, cloud and enterprise/IT spaces," said Alcatel-Lucent's Laura Merling.
The platform allows either REST or SOAP calls, the latter of which may make many developers wince. RESTful APIs are loved by most, but within many enterprises SOAP is still king. And since those same companies are the ones who badly need to open up, it makes sense to approach it in a way that makes them comfortable. Anecdotally, enterprises are warming to REST, the latest sign of which is that e-signature company DocuSign boarded the REST train. But it makes sense to go where these companies are and ease them where they need to go.
For Alcatel-Lucent, releasing an API management solution as open source goes hand-in-hand with the recent repeatable innovation methodology, which the company recently put into Creative Commons.
ApiGrove joins a new collection of tools enabling the hard part of APIs, such as rate limiting and authentication. From the 42 backend-as-a-service APIs to the open source API manager from WSO2, democratization of API creation is great for developer and provider alike.