API Changes

Not the best API documentation

There’s an interesting set of predictions about the possible new APIs (application programming interfaces) that we may see in the future. It’s a look forward into 2012, and a guess that setting standard ways in which we can build systems will become more important in the future. There were two items that I found of particular interest to the data professional.

The first was the idea that we might have more data APIs in the future, designed to make the exchange of data easier. The people that work with data imports and exports have probably been hoping for his to become more prevalent, and it has gotten better. However I do think that data is becoming the most important part of the technology world. It isn’t the software, or the platform, or the device, but the data that’s available that is the most valuable part of a technology system.

It isn’t likely that any company can create and manage all this data themselves, especially in a rapidly evolving world where so much of it changes from day to day. A successful business will need to acquire data from other sources and easily integrate the information into its systems,, and an API will make this process smoother. I expect that standards like OData will become something that we work with more in the future.

The second interesting part of the article talked about the possibility of us seeing more Enterprise APIs, developed and built by individual customers so that their systems can be more easily integrated with others. That would seem to be counterintuitive, but with so much knowledge and talent available outside your company from others that want to build apps to interact with you, I expect this may catch on, at least for those companies that see a demand from partners and customers. One very valuable effect of building an API? You get more data on how your customers use your API, allowing you to better understand how your company might change to enhance its performance.

Building an API means setting a standard, one you have to support and maintain for years. It can evolve, but the core elements of it will live for a long time, so it helps to gain experience here. Think about providing APIs as you develop software inside yout company, rather than just assuming you’ll build all the functionality needed.

Steve Jones

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About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
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