The State of API Integration: SOAP vs. REST, public APIs and more
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API integration is one of the most critical aspects of application development today, according to The State of the API Integration report 2017. Even if you agree or not, you can’t deny that there has been an explosion of APIs recently. Let’s have a look at the trends that are set to affect APIs and application integration.
Cloud Elements’ report on The State of the API Integration is here — it looks at the trends that are set to affect APIs and application integration, takes a snapshot across API consumption in various categories over the past year and teaches developers how to navigate the implications of API integrations to work more efficiently in 2017 and beyond.
According to this year’s report, one area that continues to come up year after year is the balance of power between SOAP and REST. Although REST dominates the scene, there is still a decent percentage SOAP APIs out there that can’t be ignored – at least 15% based on Cloud Elements’ experience.
According to ProgrammableWeb, in just six years (from 2010-2016), web API counts increased 758 percent. However, the other side of the coin is that the accelerating pace leads to new challenges for developers, especially since each API is unique.
API Management vendors have conditoned us to believe that our APIs are living on their own litle island, and we must self-develop and publish each in order to monetze the results for company’s sake. In reality, apps are increasingly combining your services with APIs purchased from vendors. Your APIs, in combinaton with the APIs of SaaS, PaaS, IaaS and IoT services, are building the next generaton of Web, SaaS, Mobile and Internet of Things (IoT).
It’s no secret that the demand for integration between cloud categories is growing, which means that the need for accompanying APIs spanning across all categories of cloud service will also increase. According to the report, even though most of the demand for APIs falls under the Cloud Storage category, in mid-2015, the industry saw a spike in demand for CRM API use, creating the need for APIs across several cloud service categories (see above). Finance and helpdesk applications have seen dramatic growth in the second half of last year.
How can we get the most out of the API economy?
Even though API integration has made considerable progress, there are still challenges that prevent developers from getting the most out of the API economy. According to research by SmartBear presented in their State of APIs Report 2016, 39 percent of enterprises want easier integration between the tools they use, and they wanted it yesterday.
Developers all too often are left to deal with various aspects of API complexity themselves, such as authentication and authorization, metadata discovery, bulk support, and event synchronization. By addressing these four challenges that cause friction around API integration, enterprises, app providers and developers can take advantage of the efficiency and opportunity offered by a seamless, fully connected application ecosystem.
Authentication is the key
One of the highlights of this report is that authentication is the key. This aspect (along with authorization) is an essential part of exposing data and services via APIs, providing not only simple authentication, but also identity-based access control.
Data security is one of the most important aspects nowadays, so it’s no wonder that a lot of application providers prefer to distance themselves from simple single-factor authentication methods and require an additional step to verify the identity of the client, which usually means obtaining and submitting an additional code after the simple username and password have been accepted.
Although the market is moving to multi-factor and delegated auth mechanisms based on OAuth, there are still a lot of APIs that rely on Basic Auth (17 percent), API Keys (1 percent) or some custom implementation of API Key & Secret (33 percent). Cloud Elements’ statistics show that the unloved and complicated OAuth 1.0 (and 1.0a) is used by only eight percent of providers today compared with the more ubiquitous OAuth 2.0 at over 41 percent.
The report states that the level of flexibility of OAuth 2.0 makes it the ideal choice for authentication and authorization of clients.
See the entire report here.
The data presented in this report had been collected and analyzed between September 2016 to March 2017 and comes from Cloud Elements API Integration platform. Over 107 public endpoints, 58 beta endpoints, 28,000 individual instances, and 1.6 Billion+ API Calls were surveyed to extract the results.
The report also contains research provided by ProgrammableWeb API Directory ‘Growth in Web APIs Since 2005’, the Datanyze Market Share Report of 2016, and SmartBear State of API Report 2016.