Digital Transformation Insights

Fri, 24 Feb 2017

The Progression of APIs and Microservices

From proprietary, ad hoc solutions (EAI) to open protocols (SOA & API), to increasingly secure microservices, enjoy the four-era history of modular APIs—and the disruptive companies that leveraged their potential.

Late ’90s: Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) Services and Models

  • Without open protocols, proprietary platforms, and interfaces proliferated
  • Most platforms were integration hubs using “bus” style methods to stitch apps together
  • EAI addressed early integration and transactional challenges by using message-oriented middleware

Mid ’00s: Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Best Practices 

  • SOA supports open protocols like SOAP and WSDL for easier integration; EAI platforms begin to adopt them
  • Standardized registries like UDDI automate dynamic discovery of application endpoints for consumers and publishers
  • Economic challenges delay adoption of critical open protocols for security, transactions, and stability Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Best Practices Mid ’00s to Early ’10s
  • EAI platforms start to support much of the same open standards suggested by SOA
  • Larger vendors like Oracle (Fusion) and SAP (PI) support smaller EAI vendors who move to support business process management

Early ’10s: API Platforms, SDKs, and API Management 

  • REST and JSON become the mobile programming model, the de facto standard to consume back-end data
  • New open protocols like OAuth support security features for browser-based and native applications alike
  • Compared to SOA architecture, this stack proves to be light and agile while maintaining a similar feature set to SOAP/XML standards
  • All three generations of these technologies co-exist today in a comprehensive architecture for omnichannel digital experiences

2015 to Today: Microservice Architecture, Resilience, Channel APIs, and Security

  • The world is moving toward the next generation of HTTP, forging strategies to create small, cross-platform containers that host independent microservices
  • New technologies like Node and Spring work well in this newer model, but advanced strategies like Docker provide isolation for different services 
  • Additional open source projects (like Hysterix for Resilience Architecture and JSON Web Tokens for key management) are filling in other pieces of the puzzle
  • HTTP/2 will supercharge the API economy by providing multi-call payloads in a single connection, a nascent but big move for REST technologies


Power great omnichannel experiences with APIs and Microservices. 

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