Rapid today released its fourth annual State of APIs Report, revealing that there is continued growth and usage of APIs as a foundation for modern software development.
Rapid (formerly known as RapidAPI) develops an API platform that helps organizations develop, manage, and share APIs. According to the Rapid 2022 State of APIs Report, APIs are already widely used by software developers. What's new is that adoption is now surging, with 63% of developers noting they relied more on APIs in 2022 than the prior year. And for 2023, 69% of developers expect to use even more APIs than they did in 2022.
The types of APIs that organizations are using are also changing, with 54% of organizations using third-party APIs in 2022, up from 49% in 2021.
Testing continues to be a top priority, with 90% of developers testing their APIs. The languages that developers use to build APIs are also changing somewhat, with more developers now using TypeScript than PHP. Also of note is the fact that API monetization is also on rise, with nearly 43% of organizations now aiming to generate revenue from their APIs.
"As software continues to power the world, development agility is critical for businesses to grow and survive," Paul Friesen, chief marketing officer of Rapid, told ITPro Today. "Developers and enterprises are increasingly more reliant on APIs as they connect the physical and virtual worlds to drive unprecedented levels of automation."
Rapid 2022 State of APIs Report Identifies Monetization Growth
The vast majority of APIs are private, internal deployments that help developers connect to data and services within their own organizations. The report identified a growing number of partner and third-party APIs, which has also opened up the opportunity for developers to make money from their API efforts.
The percentage of organizations monetizing APIs in 2022 has risen by about 5% compared with prior years. According to Friesen, monetizing APIs brings with it a lot of complexity both at the strategic and tactical level.
"Strategically, companies need to identify the right API monetization model for their business and audience," Friesen said. "Then, at the tactical level, the chosen model has to be easy for a consumer to understand, acquire, and utilize."
The State of API Technology Remains Largely RESTful
APIs can be built and delivered in an array of approaches.
The most widely used technology for APIs is REST (representational state transfer) for enabling data connectivity, with 69% of developers using the technology in production. In contrast, GraphQL, a more modern approach to API delivery, is being used by only 19% of developers in production.
"GraphQL is growing, and we expect to see more substantial growth in this language in the coming years," Friesen said.
The Future of API Adoption
While API adoption is surging, there are still a number of challenges that organizations need to overcome.
According to Friesen, for many organizations, it's a major challenge to just have a clear view of all of their APIs. The lack of a centralized location for all APIs introduces the risk of duplicate efforts, as disparate parts of an organization could be building the same or similar APIs, slowing overall development efficiency.
Friesen noted that lack of visibility into APIs also makes it more difficult to ensure that all the APIs being shared and utilized across an organization adhere to a consistent set of standards. Challenges notwithstanding, Friesen is very optimistic about the continued adoption of APIs.
"We expect to see an even greater increase in the usage of APIs by developers and enterprises, further validating the trends identified in this year's report," he said.
About the authorSean Michael Kerner is an IT consultant, technology enthusiast and tinkerer. He consults to industry and media organizations on technology issues.