Gazing into the Crystal Ball: GigaOm on APIs in 2011

We kicked off 2011 with our report on API growth. We list more than 2600+ APIs in our directory, with social and mobile APIs seeing major growth. APIs will continue to increase and 2011 should see the a move from simply providing an API to providing great APIs. The beginning of the year typically gives rise to several articles that tell us about what to expect in the year ahead and APIs are no different, with those below from GigaOm.

Here are the 5 Predictions for APIs in 2011:
1. APIs Go Real-time, Big-time
2. Developers Will Adopt HTML5
3. JSON Rises, XML Wanes
4. More Companies to Redo their APIs — The Right Way
5. API Frameworks Flourish

The article contains interesting points, some of which have come up in 2010 in our articles. We thought it useful to analyze this report and see how it relates to what our findings have been. This is an excellent list, one that truly captures the trends that we have been seeing of late. While HTML5 Adoption and Frameworks will continue to be adopted and developed, we'd like to throw more light on the other three predictions.

First, the prediction is for APIs to go real-time. Phil Leggetter has written an excellent article on Real Time Data Delivery, in which he covers the various options available.  If you are looking at introducing real-time data streams and want to deliver it over an API, definitely read his article and scan through the 20+ real-time APIs in our directory.

The prediction that JSON rises over XML mirrors the trend that we have observed in APIs getting listed in our directory and regular updates from API vendors where they drop support for XML. Developers have clearly spoken in favor of JSON, which is lighter and simpler. It seems that the JSON has definitely won the data format battle and it might get more pronounced in 2011.

The third prediction boldly states that that “More Companies to Redo their APIs – the Right Way." This stems from the fact that the most popular APIs have been through several versions and usage patterns have enabled the API providers to identify their own shortcomings and re-architecting significant portions of their API to make sure that they continue to widen their adoption base as well as making its heaviest consumers happy. We are likely to see an increasing amount of material on API best practices and lessons learned from API vendors. The collective sharing of API experiences is likely to lead to significant learning’s around public facing APIs and how to architect them.

2011 promises to be exciting for everyone watching the API space. In case you are still debating if you need an API, read up Why Every Brand needs an Open API for Developers from Mashable. What are the directions you see APIs moving towards in 2011? Please share your observations.