Tony Harris - May 6, 2020
The number seven on gravel representing seven recent API trends.

The application program interface (API) of a platform is its toolkit for building software apps; We’re taking a closer look at Seven API design trends. It’s the sandbox that defines the rules for how components will interact with each other. Our own interactions are changing in the 2020s, especially in the post-coronavirus era. APIs for operating system (OS)- or web-based platforms and graphical user interfaces (GUI) are all changing along with us.

We have more APIs than ever before. Google, Flickr, Twitter, Amazon, Facebook, and more all have APIs, on top of popular OS’s like Windows, Android, iOS, MacOS, and Linux. They’re enabling third-party development of tools that drive each platform forward. Staying ahead of them all can be hard without an open-source REST API management platform like DreamFactory.

As the 2020s press on, here are seven popular API design trends that are driving the cutting edge of emerging technologies:

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1. Real-Time Data Synchronization

Our on-demand society reaches much further than just finding the right movie to watch on Netflix. It also involves fast physical delivery across a vast global distribution network for services like Amazon and Postmates. Real-time data synchronization is what makes that happen, and the feature is a bit difficult to pull off. It’s getting easier now, thanks to modern cloud-based technology.

In this API design trend, real-time synchronization leverages change notifications across your file systems and network-attached storage to create graphs, reports, and even universal notifications of all necessary stakeholders. With on premise installation options and infinite scalability DreamFactory eliminates lag to bring real-time data synchronization to your enterprise app development, making it easy to go digital.

With real-time data access built-in, you have a powerful set of automation tools that will drive your business for years to come.

2. Open Frameworks and Data

Frameworks and libraries are integral components of each programming language and development platform. These “secret sauces” unlock powerful features when they’re understood. The problem for developers is porting these tools across different frameworks or finding something similar. This often happens when, for example, attempting to move an iOS app to Android. Compatibility issues are inevitable.

Open frameworks and data sharing between platforms are vital to the future of connected technology, making this a unique API design trend. In the Internet of Things (IoT), for example, a wide variety of devices and sensors can be interacting. Monitoring this across a secure network isn’t easy without open frameworks, which is now driving automation and even artificial intelligence (AI). DreamFactory’s centralized admin console makes monitoring and managing all your services a breeze with one unified view.

In fact, let’s dive deeper into the need for open frameworks in the omnichannel discussion.

3. Omnichannel Integration

Omnichannel is a buzzword in business marketing. It’s the concept of tracking and communicating with customers across every channel with the same message.

This integration is the key for modern software development, and IT budgets for businesses large and small are heavily invested in these omnichannel messages. When you can deliver a streamlined system that reaches across all channels, you’re prepared for the future of business communications well beyond the 2020s.

DreamFactory has a powerful Data Mesh feature that allows a user to create virtual foreign key relationships between tables in the same database or between completely different databases without altering your schema or writing any code. Create, read, update, or delete objects and related objects with a single API call.

4. Intuitive Data Visualization

Data can be difficult to gather, analyze, and visualize, especially when you’re dealing with large quantities. Every business runs on daily data reporting, and the numbers are difficult to stare at unless properly visualized. With intuitive data visualization, you can see trends, work on forecasting, and more. Of course, you’ll need a proper graphical representation that’s intuitive to access and personalize.

With an increased number of data points, showing complex connections and making information digestible for the lowest common denominator is ideal. Outliers and other special cases should also be taken into account across multiple data pools. DreamFactory’s single API makes data visualization and reporting easier than ever.

5. API as a Service

It’s becoming increasingly common to rely on API as a Service, which essentially allows third-party and custom API interaction. This became the next big Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) wave entering 2020 and is a fast-growing segment as it lowers the total cost of software ownership. These intrinsic costs can get pricey for any business and includes the burdens of on-site hardware, software, and IT operations.

DreamFactory’s SaaS offering uses metered upfront billing and helps developers build massively scalable infrastructure. What was once seen as a break-fix or stop-gap is now the foundation on which modern enterprise technology is built. It’s not just the technology – people are getting upgraded experiences too.

6. Improved End-User Experience

The user experience is becoming more important than ever in today’s tech-driven world. This was highlighted when the 2020 novel coronavirus caused global lockdowns and people started working from home en masse. Tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams rose to the forefront of everyone’s attention because of their intuitive end-user experiences. No matter who you are, there’s a seamless experience.

Each user needs a smooth journey that’s visual and leads them through their processes. Both customers and internal employees need this for your business to be successful moving forward. DreamFactory’s API integration platform pools everything else into one seamless platform to improve the experience for all users.

7. Integrating Emerging Technologies

Technology isn’t a one-time-use thing – you need to constantly develop and evolve, and that’s difficult (and expensive) to pull off, especially for non-tech companies. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is touted as integrating AI, IoT, blockchain, QR, and more, and your API needs to accommodate all of them (and more). This is how companies stay on the cutting edge of business development.

Most apps these days can be created using a universal, omnichannel API, and emerging technologies will work to remain compatible with all of these portals, and that’s what DreamFactory was designed to do.

Technology is always pushing ahead and innovating. With DreamFactory’s API management platform, you can integrate all the latest data, without needing to retrain your staff on how to add yet another complicated third-party API into their toolkit.