A profound new chapter in the story of software has emerged — one that is changing the way we think about, build, and integrate applications.
The API is, quite simply, quickly becoming the interface for business.
In much the same way storefronts gave way to applications and websites, we’re now seeing more and more companies whose primary interface is a set of programmatic functions offered as a service (Twilio or Stripe, for instance). This evolution is part of a broader movement towards microservices — the idea here being that traditionally large programs are decomposed into smaller components, and offered as a service to people. Originally started by internal development teams at Amazon and other organizations, this has now emerged globally as the right way to to expose new business functionalities and to drive incremental innovation. As Iddo Gino, the founder and CEO of RapidAPI, paraphrases from the oft cited conventional wisdom: “We’re going away from the cathedral and into the bazaar.”
These microservices are becoming the new face for both traditional and emergent technologies, and it’s the proliferation of APIs that are bringing it to life. Whether it’s eBay’s APIs allowing programs to monitor and post items; Twilio integrating SMS and voice services through APIs; Stripe using APIs to support payment processing; or Microsoft uses APIs to bring various AI functions to life, the trend is clear. We’ve seen an explosion of available APIs whose promise is to allow the creation of ever more sophisticated applications and new experiences.
But so far, the reality of this future has fallen short of the vision. As software continues to drive innovation across all industries, it only makes sense for common functions to arise as independent units of value. However, as with any emerging architectural shift, the growth of the function has so far greatly outpaced the industry’s ability to provide standard or unified methods of accessing them. The result, frankly, is a mess.
There is no common data format between APIs, so stitching them together is complex — like trying to fix the plumbing in a house full of pipes of totally different sizes and electrical wiring for appliances with all different voltage requirements. And as with any API, the functions themselves evolve, requiring developers to stay up to date. Even the process of finding what APIs are available is a challenge, as there is no universally accepted repository. In short: we’re exposing more and more software via online APIs, but there’s no easy way for all this software to to be discovered or integrated.
Enter RapidAPI, a centralized repository of existing online APIs that provides standardized access and allows developers to integrate APIs with minimal or no additional code. The company helps manage this complexity and allows developers to maximize the API movement, without the resulting chaos that’s currently threatening to slow it down. Developers using RapidAPI find and integrate APIs with minimal work, and can instead focus on the functions that provide the most value for their business and customers. Companies whose APIs are supported by RapidAPI join a large ecosystem of developers who are eager to use those functions. So RapidAPI not only provides a place for developers to find and connect APIs, but software that connects them to each other, enabling developers to combine functionalities and to create new experiences for people (integrated at the code level).
Much like search tamed the chaos and complexity of the early days of the web, so too is RapidAPI poised to play a similar transformative role in this next chapter of the story of software.
When we first learned about RapidAPI, we were struck by a number of things. First was the founder, Iddo, who has a very strong technical background; he finished most of his undergraduate at Technion University while still in high school. When we first met, Iddo painted a very clear vision for the company as the go-to place for accessing APIs, differentiated by speed, reliability, and simplicity. Though early days, his vision is backed by a passionate and voracious community that has steadily grown in small amount of time. It’s also backed more broadly by the rise of developers as an emerging and powerful market of their own.
RapidAPI now hosts tens of thousands of developers, thousands of apps, and billions of API calls every month. Like Iddo, I believe strongly in the architectural shift towards APIs as a primary consumption method for business functions. It’s the right direction for the industry, as software continues to grow from its roots in information processing to having a massive impact on all kinds of businesses. As part of that growth, we need technologies to help discover, index, and interface — just like we did in early days of the web — with this new front.
We’re very excited to be a part of the RapidAPI journey.