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Steven is CEO and Co-founder of 3scale networks: one of the worlds leading providers of API Management Infrastructure (http://www.3scale.net). Steven is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 63 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Acquisitions and Investments – Towards a Future of APIs Everywhere

05.01.2013
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The API FutureAll Change in the API Space!

The last 10 days have seen an impressive amount of change in the API space with Mashery and Layer7 both getting acquired, Mulesoft acquiring ProgrammableWeb from Alcatel Lucent and also our own announcement of $4.2 Million of investment. The moves are exciting and show that APIs are now becoming increasingly important to many businesses.

Some great takes are already emerging on what it means for the space as a whole – see here, here and here and we figured we’d add some perspectives too. In addition to excitement about the space and great feedback we’ve had we also a had direct questions which we can happily answers! In particular, we had a couple of people already asked:

So given the acquisitions will you be raising your prices and changing your product?

The answers? Happily – No and No!

In our view it’s still very early in terms of the adoption of APIs and there is a huge amount for everybody to learn. There will always be competing solutions of many types and that’s a great thing for the customer. We’re committed to always supporting a free forever version of the product and always trying to deliver best, most cost effective solutions right into enterprise grade. We’re also committed to making API management technology as deployable as possible in many different scenarios – so no change there.

At the API Strategy and Practice conference in New York in February (if you weren’t able to attend – check out the videos now coming online – there are some fantastic talks(*)), what struck us most was the amazing array of technical approaches taken. The field is still nascent and as APIs get to scale, meet new use-cases, address varied audiences and see other diversity, there is a massive amount to learn (check out Stripe on versioning, Netflix on Scaling rest [or not] and many others for example). A vendor like ourselves works to provide the best tools and we’ll keep doing so, but we have a lot of interesting ground to cover!

As the number of APIs climbs into the 100′s of thousands and millions there will also be new challenges – service descriptions will become more important, as will trust associated with endpoints, search and automating consumption of endpoints. So we’re looking forward to these.

We’re seeing APIs emerging in spaces as diverse as building management, transport, in-home robotics, healthcare, high street retail, communication, social media, content and much more. Each space is a little different but the fundamental idea is the same: provide uniform, flexible interfaces to the core drivers of business – be it delivering content, controlling thermostats of filing prescriptions.

(*) Also see the twitter feed for the latest videos.

Broad adoption of APIs

So as stated at the beginning, we’re excited for the future – we’ll be publishing more on the plans we have for continual improvement of our products and new offerings. However, you can count on us to keep trying to push boundaries to enable broader API adoption. In so many cases we’re already seeing APIs provide new opportunities for innovation, new revenue and cost savings. We’re confident that enabling broader adoption and encouraging take up will unlock opportunities for many and help move the web forward as whole.

While it’s hard to predict how quickly API adoption will progress, many estimates already indicate there are as many as 50-100,000 APIs out on the web in various forms – many times the number declared as public in directories such as ProgrammableWeb. Incoming requests to 3scale for services also grow significantly each and every month – so we’re not expecting growth to slow down any time soon!

The API Ecosystem

In addition to management vendors such as ourselves, Mashery, Apigee and Layer7 there are also many other aspects to APIs growing healthily which we hope will continue. There are marketplaces such as Mashape, documentation tools such as Apiary, open source proxies such as APIAxle, Web Development environments such as Webshell, scripting environments such as IFTTT, Rules.io and many others.

Also and perhaps most importantly, critical to the API Ecosystem has been the part Programmable Web and in particular John Musser have played in telling the story of APIs, building the goto directory of APIs and charting progress. It’s difficult to overstake the importance of ProgrammableWeb for the API space, in many ways ProgrammableWeb “Made the API Space a Space”.

That’s why the Mulesoft acquisition of ProgrammableWeb this week is a critically important more – no doubt Mulesoft has great plans for ProgrammableWeb and we look forward to seeing things evolve. Hopefully ProgrammableWeb will keep being a valuable, neutral, goto place and we’re exciting about how all the different parts of the API world will co-evolve over time!

Looking ahead

So we’re looking forward to many good things to come and friendly competition in the field + innovations all around! Try out 3scale (it’s free) and tell us what we should be doing to move forward!

Alas, we’ve nnounced the next edition of the APIStrat conference on the 23-25th October, 2013 in San Francisco – follow @apistrat for more details soon!

Looking forward to an exciting and eye opening year!

Published at DZone with permission of Steven Willmott, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)