API creation and microservices going mainstream

July 7, 2017 phschoene

Building API-based and sophisticated microservices is going more and more mainstream these days. As a consequence of addressing the full lifecycle of APIs, this topic was requiring some expert knowledge from developers. API Management vendors like CA, IBM, Axway have understood this pain for a while and added capabilities to their offerings – e.g. Axway API Builder – in order to support non-tech people to rapidly create and run APIs. The most recent one is Tibco Mashery, acquiring nanoscale.io

According to Tibco’s press release, “Nanoscale.io tooling accelerates development and provides the fastest way to build microservices and assemble them into APIs. Once created, the microservices can then be quickly deployed to almost any environment, including on-premises, mobile, in the cloud, or even on an IoT edge device, delivering enhanced agility and speed.”

But it does not stop with just building APIs. Once these APIs are designed, they need to be integrated and backed by datasources which can be either existing systems – that need to be plugged to the API via data connectors to transform the data e.g. MySQL, OData, SOAP – or new data sources which often are based on NoSQL databases or SaaS applications. Further support is provided by caching the querys to those sources to help with not overloading the backends, as they are usually not designed for the newly added volume of calls that might appear.

On top of building APIs, you need the necessary feature set to proxy APIs, secure APIs and monitor API calls that are made but also helping with promoting them to a larger audience through an API Portal. Adding such additional capabilities is essential to provide a holistic and complete solution.

Mobile projects require APIs at a early stage and usually can start with a standard set of APIs like location-based services, users, social, geo-location, photos, media. In addition to that, push notifications are also important. These APIs and Services are usually bundled and provided out of the box via MBaaS Services on such Platforms.

mobile backend services
Source: Axway Appcelerator

To take away further pain even from developers, a lot of these solutions allow to further extend the APIs and code functions and processing behind it. Usually, a language such as Node.js the programming language of choice here. This concept can be further developed into “Function as a Service” based on one or multiple microservices. A certain function being isolated and provided via an API without worrying about the underlying infrastructure setup as well as scalability and operations aspects. This is a big value of these platforms that provide an instant way of jump starting with API runtime rather than requesting IT to set up servers, installing applications etc.

It’s very likely API Management and API Building tools are going to even further merge together into API Platforms, part of larger digital platforms, to lower the bar for people in business departments to start with APIs creating their own services and APIs.

 

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