2016 has been an eventful year on many fronts and not least for APIs. We’ve see the emergence of Microservices as a big new driver for API adoption, numerous high profile security breaches (being DDOSed by your own webcam hurts!), vendor acquisitions, the growth of the Open API Initiative and some more industry events. Some of these trends we already had inklings of at the beginning of the year, but others came very much out of left field.
As is traditional at this time of the year, we’ve been reflecting on 2016 and looking ahead to 2017. Each year we make a set of wild predictions to see what we can guess of the year to come. So, first it’s time to see how we did with our 2016 predictions (look out for our 2017 thoughts early next week!). You can see our original 2016 predictions here.
1. Security will remain a key issue [1 point]: It’s now the second year where security (and especially API Security) has been in limelight and unfortunately there were numerous new serious incidents: Disqus, Qualcomm and numerous vehicles including the Nissan Leaf. There is growing awareness of the types of threats to APIs and incidents have slowed a little but we’d be surprised if this abates any time soon.
2. Automation, Microservices and APIs will become a driving force in enterprise IT [1 point]: This prediction has come through loud and clear. Analyst papers and the press, as well as numerous events, have flagged the importance of APIs for large enterprises. In some areas it is the top Analyst enquiry. Anecdotally at Red Hat we see extremely strong demand in particular for integration technology, container management, devops automation and APIs together – a sure sign that Microservices are on the menu for many companies.
3. Engagement and usage information will become even more critical for API owners [1/2 point]: Vendors like ourselves have delivered more engagement data and new companies such as Hitch are aiming to specialize on (for example) developer engagement. However, it’s fair to say there is still a long way to go in terms of new features and customer adoption.
4. Bimodal IT will transform into what it needs to be – internal platforms for success for larger companies [1/2 point]: The notion of two speed (or bimodal) IT has been on agenda a while and there was a clear resurgence in analyst circles in 2016. There is also definitely a more measured approach towards how customers are approaching the challenge of building a platform. What we’re seeing with customers can be found in our recent Gartner Presentation. We’re giving ourselves just 1/2 a point here though since this overlaps so much with item #2.
5. Internet of Things applications with APIs will see big visible deployments this year [1 point]: The number of real world IoT deployments has risen markedly in 2016 and the 2016 landscape of IoT is starting to look pretty crowded. Lastly, we all got a sharp reminder that there are already millions of devices out in the world when part of one of the largest DDOS attacks of the year involved not only desktop computer botnets, but also attacks from unsecured WebCams and DVRs. Devices like Amazon’s Echo are also becoming ever more present in our lives!
6. Realtime, evented and hypermedia patterns will become key parts of the API design tool chest [1/2 point]: While Real-Time and hypermedia did all see more adoption in 2016, we think it’s fair to say neither is yet established as a common place tool or design pattern. Maybe 2017 will see the breakthrough?
7. API management will grow in importance for both public and private APIs [1 point]: The API Management market grew rapidly in 2016 based on evidence we saw internally in terms of demand and market interest. Gartner and Forrester also both released updated vendor reports.