Managing API use case complexity

Will API adoption collapse as vendors push organizations towards managing API use case complexity?  REST and API simplicity has driven interest in the emerging API management market.  API management infrastructure smartly delivers RESTful interfaces, on-demand proxy provisioning, self-service key management, embedded usage tracking, and business focused API monetization    But as vendors search for market messages and competitive advantage, and as customers search for a next-generation SOA middleware to drive legacy service adoption, will the original REST way be lost in use case complexity?

During the WSO2 API Manager Beta Program,  many customers outlined their enterprise use cases; integration with Role Based Access Control (RBAC) infrastructure, user identity management (instead of application keys), message format transformation, lifecycle approval processes, and protocol mediation.  The market landscape is quickly bifurcating between ‘free API management offerings‘ and ‘enterprise API management offerings’.   Vendors are adjusting product composition to match enterprise use cases.  A vendor message adjustment example is Vordel using a reference architecture approach.  Vordel describes how multiple product and component relationships may implement the API Facade Pattern.  Vordel encourages customers to compose an API Gateway with an API Broker to layer API message transformation behind API security.

Paul Fremantle and I had an interesting conversation with Jay Lyman of 451 Group about API mediation and how to properly architect a solution.   We described how developers desire to rapidly integrate mobile applications, partners, and internal services.   When using an Enterprise Service Bus, teams have rich mediation capabilities, but often encounter complex and time consuming integration requirements. By separating mediation from interface, a layered architectural approach retains needed agility.

An API Façade Pattern extends ESB mediation capabilities, preserves existing ESB investment, and delivers a productive, self-service integration environment.  In an upcoming webinar presentation, Asanka Abeysinghe, WSO2’s Director of Solution Architecture, will describe

  • Why separating mediation and security services from API improves architecture quality
  • How a team may expose data services, business process services, application services, and ESB endpoints as business APIs and maintain architectural integrity
  • When capacity planning decisions mandate specific deployment patterns

When crafting your API strategy, don’t fall into the enterprise complexity trap.  Managing API complexity requires you to:

  • Decouple mediation from interface and expose simple RESTful APIs
  • Support only the current version and N-1 versions, aggressively deprecating and retiring older interface versions
  • Review published APIs and consolidate APIs that duplicate business functions

Join us for the API Webinar Series to learn more about API practices, API processes, and API patterns.

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