Each day, every day, applications are a part of our lives, whether you are checking the weather, doing your banking, searching the internet or sending an email, you are using an app. The unprecedented use and demand for applications has led to predictions by some that the world will see a shortage of app developers available to make apps by 2024. Combatting this notion, is the evolution of software development, starting with its architecture, enabling developers to rapidly construct apps. Using RESTful APIs to decompose underpinning legacy systems, and to integrate with them for cross platform and solution interoperability, could very well be the answer.
What are RESTful APIs, and why do they matter? REST, an anacronym for REpresentational State Transfer, is basically an architectural structure, named by Roy Fielding in 2000. It is typically known for its six architectural constraints, specifically, uniform interface, client-server, stateless, cacheable, layered system, and code on demand. An API or “application programming interface,” is a set of subroutine definitions, communication protocols, and tools for building software. A set of clearly defined methods of communication among various components can be put together to build a solution. RESTful APIs are designed to take advantage of existing protocols so that developers do not need to install libraries or additional software. A stateless approach removes the need for a server to maintain and communicate session information, which results in improved utilization of server side resources and increased performance. While REST can be used over nearly any protocol, it usually uses the HTTP protocol to PUT, POST, GET and DELETE data. RESTful API’s stateless approach can be used to develop solutions that are reliable, scalable and fast.
RESTful APIs are being adopted by solutions architects and developers as a means of decoupling services. The approach enables the de-evolution of the traditional monolithic application model. Through the use of RESTful APIs, a solution can exist as a separate set of services where changes to a service can occur in isolation from the remaining solution. This reduces the risk of code changes impacting the entire solution. The result is a reduction in testing requirements and improved time to market delivery. Additionally, the use of RESTful APIs enable cross platform and solution interoperability where applications can take advantage of services provided by business partners and numerous vendors such as Google, Salesforce, HP, IBM. REST is notable for its incredible layer of flexibility. Since data is not tied to methods and resources, REST has the ability to handle multiple types of calls, return different data formats and even change structurally.
As the majority of software vendors move toward a REST based architecture and offer RESTful API based products, it reduces the dependency of enterprise developers to write proprietary code. This facilitates a number of opportunities for solutions architects and software development managers to exploit to their advantage. First, it enables applications to be assembled rather than written. In building an application, APIs abstract away the underlying implementation, and only expose the objects or actions the developer needs. The result is that applications can be quickly constructed to meet customer and business line demand facilitating agility in solution delivery. Second, it enables delivery of applications at reduced cost. Maintenance of applications is distributed across those vendors providing the services that the applications consume. Furthermore, it removes the requirement on specialized skills within the development team where the domain knowledge of the service being consumed is managed by the software vendor and not the enterprise. As commerce continues to move to an online delivery model, scalability, reliability and speed of service become increasingly important in providing customer satisfaction. The use of RESTful APIs can play a significant role in improving that outcome because of their stateless nature. RESTful APIs allow developers to manipulate remote resources through protocols, specific standards of communication allowing different technologies to work together, regardless of the language or platform.
Crowd Machine is a zero code platform for the delivery of enterprise-class cloud and IoT applications. The Crowd App Studio is a comprehensive codeless app development environment within the platform. The Crowd App Studio provides many approaches to integrating with external solutions, including integration with Third Party APIs, databases and authentication services. It provides extensive RESTful API support for both request and response operations allowing the consumption and publishing of RESTful APIs, so that developers and non-developers alike can create microservices and expose those micro-services as RESTful APIs. All forms of authentication types are supported. Vendor RESTful APIs can also be called from within Crowd Machine micro-services. This process enables the creation of applications significantly faster than traditional approaches.
Through the use of RESTful APIs, Crowd Machine applications are scalable, reliable, fast, and deliver true enterprise agility. The freedom and flexibility inherent in REST API design allows Crowd Machine to build solutions that meet the ever changing needs of an industry-diverse customer base. RESTful API architecture is part of an overall strategic business approach that fosters an ecosystem of collaboration between the developer community, and business partners, accelerating the delivery of market driven applications.