Thanks to the rise of application programming interfaces (APIs), an API economy that is projected to be worth trillions of dollars is rapidly growing. Moving to accelerate that process, IBM today announced that it is making available API management software that can be deployed on premise or in the cloud, at the same time unfurling an API matchmaking service, dubbed API Harmony, via its Bluemix cloud service for developing applications.
In addition, IBM announced that it is throwing its weight behind a new Open API Initiative being led by The Linux Foundation to create a set of interoperable standards around the Swagger specification for consistently invoking the metadata that surrounds REST APIs. Other vendors participating in this project include 3Scale, Apigee, Capital One, Google, Intuit, Microsoft, PayPal, Restlet and SmartBear. In the case of IBM, participation in the Open API Initiative is mainly being driven by the management team from StrongLoop, a provider of Node.js tools that IBM acquired earlier this year.
Finally, IBM announced today its participation in an effort to define APIs via a Banking Industry Architecture Network (BIAN) and a HL7 standards organization that is working on a Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) API standard.
Arjun Natarajan, distinguished engineer for API Economy and Solutions Ecosystems at IBM, says IBM expects there will be over one million publicly exposed APIs by the end of the decade. The challenge organizations will face is discovering and then navigating all the potential APIs they could invoke. API Harmony makes use of cognitive technologies that IBM has been investing in to create an ecosystem around the IBM Watson platform to discover APIs that match a set of parameters defined with API Harmony running on the IBM Bluemix cloud service.
IBM already makes available API management software in the cloud. But with so many organizations now making use of APIs to connect internal applications and services, Natarajan says there is also a need to deploy API management software in premise. To help facilitate those efforts, IBM today announced an API Economy Journey Map service through which it will provide access to consultants to help organizations manage the creation, deployment and management of APIs.
IT organizations of all sizes are now making routine use of APIs to connect almost everything and anything. The challenge they face is not only building those APIs as rapidly as possible, but also making sure those APIs are actually discovered by the organizations that are expected to consume them. Without some capability for automating the discovery of those APIs, chances are all the work that went into developing them in the first place will be for naught.