API Integration in 2021 & a Recap From 2020

What are the “best practices” for building a truly seamless integration? And how has API integration both practically and strategically changed over the past year?

I work for Cloud Elements, an API integration platform that offers true one-to-many integrations and years of expertise building our own robust API connectors. For the past five years, we’ve sought insights from developers, product managers, and other technical team members involved in API development, integration, and management to answer the above questions and identify trends in the API integration industry.

If you’ve got some time during your morning coffee routine or evening web browse to take our survey, we’d be extremely grateful. Yes, my first post is a “shameless plug,” but this survey is a great opportunity to contribute to a renowned trend analysis that leaders refer to every year as they evaluate strategic paths forward.

Click here to take the survey (you’ll get a $10 giftcard, early access to the 2021 report, and for the first 200 respondents: your name published in the finished version, among other spiffs.)

And while I’ve got your attention, here’s an excerpt from the 2020 report so you can get a sneak peek of the type of insights you’ll get early access to with your response.

2020 State of API Integration Excerpt: Predictions & Analyses

On GraphQL

Production use cases from enterprises, governments, and startups are already in place, and new tooling continues to evolve and diversify. As an API technology, GraphQL is finding its place in the broader API market landscape and has the potential to strengthen adoption by leveraging two other API sectors: Serverless and the Internet of Things...

One of the key benefits of GraphQL — the ability to create a data abstraction layer that can combine multiple sources through a single gateway and endpoint — will garner growing interest from industry sectors that have complex data supply chains. Data science, healthcare, and city services will be drawn to GraphQL in 2020 in the same way that publishing, social media, and e-commerce have been to date.

GraphQL has quickly established itself as a valid option for businesses and developers making choices around how to create and manage their API strategy. Across the sector, the biggest gap is a matrix decision tool that allows API creators to assess each type of API architecture option and weigh the best cases each is suited to implementing…

Ultimately, in 2020 GraphQL’s evolution is still in its infancy, but with the rapid interest from developers and the quick iteration and availability of tooling, there are strong signs that GraphQL is becoming a legitimate option for how APIs are created and managed, offering significant performance and developer experience benefits.

In last year’s survey responses, 39.5% of participants said they thought GraphQL would become the predominant API style for their organization at some point. What are your thoughts?

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Meanwhile, if you want to read more about GraphQL, check out this tweet-storm from Kurt Kemple at Apollo GraphQL where he describes GraphQL using a grocery shopping analogy. There are some great replies to read, as well.

On Data Standards

Based on research collected for this report and data points from other industries, the tide is starting to turn toward data standards. Perhaps the most obvious example of this shift is the growing adoption of and results delivered through Schema.org. We can see implementations of this in things like search and email every day, and it’s driving new user experiences in many ways…

If businesses want the right kind of data to underpin advanced business processes or to create multi-dimensional views of data objects, data-centric integration must be pursued as a strategic function that aligns with business objectives.

Unfortunately, many enterprises today have become bogged down with legacy integration platforms while also overwhelmed with a growing number of applications. Data-centric integration turns the focus of application integration toward the data upon which organizations rely, rather than “point-to-point” application integration patterns that dominate the integration landscape today. With 1,500+ cloud services in use by the average enterprise today, legacy integration patterns simply can’t scale.

How pressing is data standardization, really? Last year’s survey found that a whopping 89.6% of respondents felt the industry should invest in and adopt more data standards. Whether the trend continues upwards is TBD.

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Share your thoughts on data standards, GraphQL, and more in 2021’s integration survey - we’ll send you early access to the full report once it’s complete.

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