As the shambles of 2020 rolls forward into 2021, hope springs just around the corner, and the software development industry continues to innovate. More and more workspaces continue to move online, particularly with remote work becoming a major trend, and businesses are forced to invest in digital infrastructure to carry on trading.
This rapid pace of transformation could not have been predicted in early 2020, when COVID-19 was largely limited to China and nobody really understood how devastating the virus would be. As a result, the top APIs of 2021 may focus heavily on the following.
The cloud has been growing like a giant thunderstorm, waiting to take over from local storage — and it has for the most part. Yet, 2020 accelerated the growth of cloud infrastructure. It benefits those who need to scale rapidly and those who need to downsize. This was apparent in the transportation and tourism industries — those who relied on local servers ended up having to pay out to maintain them, while those who utilized cloud servers could more easily downsize to cope with the reduced demand.
The top APIs will likely be those that can integrate seamlessly with cloud services, such as AWS, Google Cloud, and similar services.
The issue of latency isn’t usually a problem, except for certain industries. Banking is one such industry that has latency requirements in some markets (although not the United States), and there are a few others.
Yet latency worries and decentralization are decidedly niche compared to the huge push towards cloud services. There are some options, such as hybrid solutions like RedHat and a push toward making open standards for edge computing, such as State of the Edge, that provide options for those needing high-bandwidth, low-latency computing.
Developers frequently dislike Kubernetes, particularly for its early issues with automation and load balancing. However, there’s no doubt that it has come out on top in the fight with Docker. Containerization makes it easy to quickly package applications with the required infrastructure, and the Kubernetes API is a pretty solid one.
Virtually all major public cloud providers now provide managed Kubernetes services, and there are also a number of managed private cloud options. As a result, those who don’t support Kubernetes will likely lose out.
Blockchain is a useful technology, creating a distributed ledger that is extremely hard to forge. Innovative APIs can take advantage of it, creating highly secure ledgers to ensure unauthorized modifications cannot be made and that records can easily be tracked.
In addition, more innovative APIs may allow integration with various forms of cryptocurrency, and although that bubble may be about to burst — particularly for bitcoin — cryptocurrency still has its advantages. The anti-establishment tool may well still become the currency of choice of the future.
Automation is one of those words that simply won’t go away — and for good reason. It saves businesses millions of dollars every year, allowing companies to concentrate on their core activities rather than easily repeatable tasks.
Solid APIs must be able to handle significant automation, and automation APIs must be easy to handle. This will drive scaling, whether it’s scaling functionality, access to data, or other essential parts of the system.
API security is crucial. Bugs in APIs are a potential source of the intrusion, and systems must be able to cope with a wide range of malicious users. Zoom, for example, received criticism in 2019 because its API allows a very simple enumeration attack to take place, reducing meeting security significantly.
The most innovative APIs must be secure but still be easy for users to use. This means encrypting traffic using TLS, validating inputs, eliminating any information that is necessary, and carefully managing updates — all the usual good security practices.
While it’s hard to select the most innovative APIs, it’s clear that there are many great options available. 2021 will bring further innovation, resulting in ever-more focused APIs that are simple to use and great to work with.
If you need an expert eye over your API choices, talk to us today. We can provide a comprehensive service, whether it’s building from scratch or deploying a ready-made solution.