APIs are everywhere.

We are in living in an increasingly API-centric world. APIs are everywhere you look – and you might not even realize it. Need evidence? Gartner considers API management tools an essential component of the unrealized hybrid integration platform (HIP), currently an architectural approach to connect and integrate anything and everything with a digital pulse. Forrester estimates that nearly 40 percent of US-based enterprises will implement a solution to handle the increasing management requirements surrounding the proliferation of APIs across the organization.

To some, the world of APIs is still a bit Wild West: massive expansion with little in the way of rules or enforcement. To put this in perspective, ProgrammableWeb, a research website that focuses on the API economy, currently tracks more than 19,000 distinct APIs in its directory. A massive number that points toward both the versatility and the variation of this technology.

Currently, there are hundreds of APIs for finance, social messaging, payments, e-commerce, Bitcoin, and multiple other categories covering everything we do with applications as well as the things we program applications to do with other applications. Interestingly, the fastest growing category of APIs over the past five years is for the sharing and analyzing of data across various applications – an area where the characteristics of the API determine the value of the application or deem it untenable for use in the real world.

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