The Future of APIs: 5 Emerging Trends That’ll Change Your Plans and Expectations

72

A young developer working hard on his laptop

The API ecosystem is rapidly evolving—are you catching up well?

A myriad of new data sources have opened up, and the accelerating demand for real-time data is pushing the adoption of necessary protocols and event-driven APIs. Even REST’s throne is being challenged by AsyncAPI for efficient microservices, increasing the complexity of the ecosystem to unchartered heights. 

But we must unceasingly keep up with emerging API trends to reap benefits—continuous development, efficient IT architectures, stronger security postures, and more. 

So we’ve listed the crucial trends in API evolution below to help tech leaders proactively meet incoming challenges with strategic planning.

1. Expectations: API-First is the New Normal

The modern enterprise is adopting an API-first approach to its business and product strategies—and for a good reason. 

Postman’s report even found that more than a third (39.2%) of teams designed and defined their APIs before development, enabling them to create APIs that serve all applications, gain significant efficiencies, and are governed by a contract among services.

API-first strategies help teams confidently mockup APIs, work in parallel, and test dependencies aligned with the agreed API definitions, reducing the time it takes to complete the project. Moreover, these well-designed and documented APIs mitigate the risk of failure and time wasted, as consistent mockups allow the identification and resolution of issues before coding.

2. Automations: API Standards, Governance, and Control

Tech companies often go through a series of acquisitions, resulting in a haphazard group of development teams with their own legacy code and processes. These teams create data streams from several data lakes and quality monitoring systems, where streaming is done within group-owned security.

As systems increasingly integrate into the business, these streams go from having a single producer and consumer to millions of consumers beyond security boundaries. As a result, they have trouble controlling access to message brokers and management data access permission—one that doesn’t have a predefined endpoint and requires a tight seal between API Gateway and Access Management (IAM).

With that, API Gateways with integrated Identity and IAM are becoming crucial infrastructure elements for the API curation, consistency, and governance needed to secure API integration across boundaries. 

Consistency of schemas and schema registry is essential to streaming technologies’ efficiency, especially with tweaking latency performance. Control, collaboration, and automation are necessary milestones to maintain development velocity.

3. Machine Learning: API Consumer to API Controller and Security Enforcer

APIs enable data pipelines to feed most machine learning systems, where the algorithms increasingly involve direct help from APIs. In fact, we expect machine learning systems to drive resilience by enabling self-healing systems to figure out bottlenecks and unusual outcomes.

Moreover, we see that applying machine learning for API provisioning, controlling, and managing. For example, using it to identify anomalous connections and working with the API gateway and IAM to throttle API access, trigger alerts, and investigate the behavior. Decomposed federated architectures are mudding everything up, but machine learning can help us go through it.

4. Security Measures: API Key is Now Obsolete

Even with well-established protocols for authentication and authorization, API security is increasingly being targeted as one of the main fault points around APIs. Unfortunately, reports from Gartner predicted that API security issues will become the most popular vector for enterprise web application breaches.

As the API ecosystem grows in complexity, the problem may be put in the spotlight and demand nuanced security measures. API keys as a simple text string won’t cut it—being notoriously accident prone, left in comments to source code, accidentally emailed, embedded in firmware, and simply left active for years. 

Therefore, the adoption of fully integrating Identity and IAM with API management (APIM) and API design tools are emerging as essential elements. Merging IAM and APIM allows token generation for API access based on permissions, flexible durations, and extreme control over data flows based on role—providing security and usability that is compelling enough to consin API keys to history.

5. Monetization: Aspiration to Implementation

As API Gateway technology matures, monetization of APIs is now charging ahead. With visibility into API consumption, the latest generation of gateways enables developers to evaluate APIs in terms of the ROI that they deliver, all through the data they consume and business cases they deliver. 

All these justify investments in API development.

Moreover, combined with IAM to control access, advanced API gateways can also enable APIs to generate revenue directly instead of relying on traditional and logical flows via applications. APIs can be monetized through monitoring, raising awareness for businesses to see their value, wrapping up data, creating data marts, and more. 

An example to check out is Vatcheckapi, which is software that automates VAT validation via API. The system uses a range of leading data sources and an unlimited amount of API connections, cutting down the time needed to validate VAT numbers by 40%. More than 10,000 companies already use this software to automate VAT number validation, leveraging the software’s API system.

Full Control of Your API Ecosystem for Continuous Success

The API management space is heating up with the introduction of new features and capabilities. From IAM to machine learning, these new advancements in the API ecosystem are bringing a whole new set of capabilities to help enterprises succeed in their digital transformation journeys.

What’s important to remember is that as the API ecosystem grows in complexity, so does the need for comprehensive solutions that can provide the full control needed to ensure continuous success. Stay proactive, stay ahead of the competition, stay updated with the advancement of technology.