Way back in ye olden days of 2009, mobile-device manufacturer Palm attempted an interesting experiment: Rather than devote enormous resources to building its own music service, its engineers designed a way for the then-new Palm Pre smartphone to sync with Apple’s iTunes.
Apple was famously displeased, and released software updates that quickly killed the Pre’s ability to sync. While that wasn’t the cause of the Pre’s ultimate demise (and Palm’s purchase by Hewlett-Packard in 2010), the lack of iTunes syncing certainly didn’t encourage sales.
Six years later, software’s ability to talk to hardware—as well as software developed by other companies—has only increased in importance. The tech company that profits the most from the Internet of Things (IoT) will likely be the one that grows the largest possible ecosystem of third-party app developers and hardware manufacturers, all working in (relative) harmony. In a new article on TechCrunch, Chet Kapoor, chief executive of Apigee, argued that APIs, or the “rules governing how software programs interact with each other,” will have an outsized effect on the technology industry for years to come.
Kapoor spends the article talking about the “API-centric future,” and how companies should adopt an API-first mentality when it comes to development. The idea of building everything with an eye toward interconnectivity isn’t a new one by any stretch; but trends in IoT and mobile nonetheless make a focus on it more important than ever.
If you’re new to development, CodeAcademy provides some tutorials on working with APIs. Be aware that, since different languages and platforms provide APIs, learning about them can prove a complicated process—don’t give up.