More Mobile APIs Coming With Usergrid Acquisition

Roll-your-own API service Usergrid has been acquired by API management company Apigee. Usergrid could potentially help Apigee reach out to mobile developers increasingly finding themselves needing APIs to interact with their apps. It's part of a trend of developers not only being API consumers, but also API providers--at least privately to their own apps.

"Usergrid has been in development for over 18 months and already has tremendous momentum," Usergrid founder Ed Anuff, who joins Apigee with the acquisition, said. "I anticipate that it will really take off as part of Apigee's line-up of API offerings."

The developer-focused nature of the service has a certain appeal. Last year we thanked mobile for the APIs. Any app that stores and retrieves data needs an API to do it. We believe the most interesting things happen when that API is also opened up to developers, though public APIs are just the tip of the private API iceberg. Popular apps have found themselves uncertain about how to handle a developer program, such as with FoodSpotting's semi-public API. Others found their APIs reverse engineered and used without permission, such as Instagram's once-unpublished API.

Regardless of whether an API is public or not, it's clear that developers are finding themselves more likely to create APIs. VentureBeat recently pointed out a developer survey that shows nearly half of over 3,000 respondents plan to produce APIs in 2012. The full report (PDF) includes a number of developer-oriented topics, not only APIs. However, it's interesting to note that fewer respondents plan to use a public cloud service (39%) than create an API. That's hard to believe since so many APIs run exclusively from the cloud.

Usergrid is not alone in addressing the need for mobile APIs. We list 7 backend mobile APIs in our directory, including one that may be making developers obsolete.

Be sure to read the next Mobile article: APIs Enables Alaska Airlines to Fly Higher and Grow Faster