Java APIs to bridge the gap between today and future development efforts

At JavaOne 2015, a big topic of conversation was APIs and API development. In the IBM keynote, the promise was that an evolutionary approach to API development will help modern day developers pass the torch to those doing development in the future.

Are APIs revolutionizing the way software develops wrote code? At JavaOne 2015, John Duimovich, Distinguished Engineer and Java CTO, along with Tim Vanderham, VP of Cloud Platform Service Development, took to the stage and offered a convivial overview of what's next for Java, and a big part of that discussion centered around the way APIs have evolved over the past twenty years, how they will continue to evolve into the future.

John kicked the presentation off with a look at the challenges developers face in app development for the enterprise. He correctly observed that developers today are being pressured to perform on two fronts: innovation and speed. They cannot afford to slow their pace at any time, since the competition is moving swiftly forward. In fact, end users are also feeling the pressure as these frontline decision makers are being asked to take a more active role in responding immediately to opportunities and threats. For developers seeking to enable these folks on the edge, solutions are geared toward the mobile space with a strong reliance on data and analytics. And all this continuous chain of design, development, delivery, and decision-making is reliant on the cloud.

APIs continue to revolutionize

Tim took his turn on the stage to put the spotlight squarely on the piece of the puzzle that makes progress possible. In his opinion, it is APIs that will revolutionize the industry, providing enterprises with a pathway to serving more clients in today's multi-channel marketplace. Of course, he did mention that not just any APIs will do. They must be well-designed, useful, properly documented, simple, and not prone to change. These APIs will serve as the bridge between today's developers and the next generation, enabling collaboration across the years.

APIs will serve as the bridge between today's developers and the next generation.

What will APIs accomplish for businesses? Vanderham likens these interfaces to a digital supply chain. The new application economy is based on the ability of developers to reuse, extend, enhance, and collaborate with APIs inside and outside the enterprise. Of course, this entails exposing more APIs to drive evolution. Apparently, that's not a problem since even giant financial institutions like CitiBank have done just this. The corporation recently made the news for crowdsourcing mobile banking innovation with a hackathon that drew hundreds of participants. A number of big businesses are ready to trust at least some of their development to programmers they may never even meet. More are sure to follow.

Another key benefit of collaborating with external partners of all stripes is the ability to reach new customers. Many organizations are finding that all kinds of end users want to interact with the data and services they offer. But instead of investing their own R&D money into pursuing these new customer bases, they let the development community take on this task—and still benefit from the results. Of course, all of this collaboration is made more effective with the use of enterprise app development platforms like IBM's Bluemix and Oracle's own Developer Cloud Service.

The future of Java APIs is bright, and it's definitely in the cloud, at least for the next 20 years.

How have APIs changed the way your organization does development? Let us know.

This was last published in January 2016

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