Apr 24, 2016

API First approach and Why Should You Care?

What is an API?

An application-programming interface (API) is a set of programming instructions and standards for accessing a Web-based software application or Web tool. A software company releases its API to the public so that other software developers can design products that are powered by its service.

The paradigm shift in software design thinking from User Interface design to API first design. The plethora of devices, Web, Thin clients, thick clients, varied mobile screens, smart watches, IOTs, touch screens- which produce and consume lot of data to/from the back-end systems, demands diversified User interfaces and user experiences, however the interaction with back system remains same. Due to proliferation of devices, so the user interaction with the system, the only way to gain control is from API first design approach.  
Abstraction of API interface is critical to orchestrate the back-end interaction, which allows dynamic adoption of User offerings and allows UI developers think without worrying the back-end access mechanisms. API First approach is emerging as the next big thing when it comes to APIs. But what does API First really mean?

1.   The API is the Contract

It starts with the idea that the API itself is in the driver seat. Whatever your backend service may be, whatever core functionality your organization provides, whatever systems you have in place, players in the API Economy really don't care how those systems work, and they certainly don't want to consume them based on your enterprise rules. Yes, these consumers recognize the need for what you have to offer, but they want to consume it based on their business, not yours.

This leads to a fundamental shift from SOA thought: the API is the contract. SOA contracts (think WSDLs) encapsulate traditional enterprise services thinking:
“ Here is what I have to offer you, and here is the exact way you need to work with me to get it."
A good API initiative works the other way:
This is what I need, and I want it exactly the way I need it."
Also implicit in the concept that the API is the contract is the ever-changing nature of APIs. A good API is Agile - it changes as often as necessary to meet API consumer requirements and to offer new functionality. By following best practices of API design, these changes can be introduced without breaking existing apps that consume the API.

2.   APIs are a Product

In the API Economy, it is the API itself that is the product. Sure, without backend services providing the actual data and functionality that are required, the API would be pretty much useless. But the point of interaction, the place where the transaction occurs, is the API. Apps are built on APIs (and often from different providers). Developers work with APIs. Business partners want to interact through APIs.
It is important that you invest the same type of efforts in your APIs as you do in any other product. This is true even if you are not planning on monetizing your APIs. Ideally, this means a separate product owner for the API.

3.   Adding it up

There is a lot more to the API First philosophy, but these two elements are the essential building blocks. Recognize that your approach needs to be API-driven and not SOA-driven. And treat your APIs as a product
 How PCS Digital Business HUB helps you joining the API Revolution? 
The PCS Digital Business HUB is a ground breaking digital enablement platform, which is designed to enable enterprises, MNOs, government and individuals to transform the way they engage and partner in digital ecosystem by removing many of the barriers by providing API and Identity as a servicehence positively affect an organizations profitability (API Economy). This paltform provides a single point of integration, creating a simple, agile, monetizable digital service echo system aimed at connecting government services, enterprises and consumers across Middle East Region.
Key features and benefits of Digital Business HUB

  • Rapid on-boarding of services and publishing of APIs
  • API based services will be launched in quick time
  • Highly secured API manager
  • Single point of integration exposing simple REST APIs
  • Secure layer independent of your core business systems
  • Choose to publish APIs privately (for internal use), for trusted partnerships or for wider public developer ecosystem
  • Cost effective Opex model using PCS' end-to-end managed cloud delivery infrastructure
  • Easy future migration to dedicated instance with no re-engineering
  • New revenue opportunities for the government and other ecosystem partners/players
  • Governance and policy framework with government engagement to a wider and global audience


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