What is an API -- 3scaleDespite the fact that (web) APIs are gaining more and more popularity and are more often than not the key for systems integration, we are very often asked:

What is actually an API and what can it be used for?

This was our motivation to write a white paper to act as an introduction to the subject matter and provide a bit of historical background on APIs. Although the topic is technical, we focused on keeping the content accessible for all readers. Topics include:

  • Definition of application programming interface (API), including some analogies
  • Creating business value with APIs
  • Evolution and growth of APIs
  • Key API trends, such as standardization, developer marketing, API search, or API management for API consumers
  • API Management as a key element of digital strategy


Here is the abstract summarizing the white paper:

The introduction of the Internet and then the World Wide Web unveiled some of the most dramatic transformations that the world of communications has seen. We have now embarked on another transformation to reinforce and extend these trends – the rapid, and increasing adoption of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). This paper is meant to help executives and managers understand what APIs are, and why they are so important. We illustrate the benefits by drawing on an analogy of the pattern of industrialization that has been repeated many times before. While APIs themselves are not new, we are now entering a “chapter two” inflection point, which opens a whole new spectrum of possibilities. Key trends for future evolution are described, and we summarize the immediate steps that can be taken to capitalize on APIs as the cornerstone of a digital strategy.


Download your copy of the “What is an API? Your Guide to the Internet Business (R)evolution” white paper.