Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Sunday, September 19, 2021

API Specs, Platforms Emerge 


Just under a year after acquiring API management specialist 3scale, Red Hat rolled out a "containerized" platform for managing APIs in the datacenter.

Separately, Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) released the latest version of its JBoss messaging platform designed to leverage "reactive programming" to build distributed applications. The new JBoss AMQ platform is based on two Apache open source projects and is intended to enable real-time communications between different applications and services.

These and other moves highlight the emergence of APIs as the building blocks underpinning enterprise applications and services as developers push them to production at an accelerating pace. Meanwhile, groups such as the Open API Initiative have been promoting vendor neutral API formats based on the open source Swagger specification.

Red Hat acquired 3scale last June to boost its API portfolio that includes JBoss middleware, OpenShift and a mobile application platform. The company is banking on continuing growth in the "API economy" where managed application programming interfaces are becoming central to speeding the delivery of secure enterprise services at scale.

The company said its on-premise container-based platform targets "API-driven hybrid cloud architectures. Designed for deployment on its OpenShift container platform, Red Hat said the 3scale tool manages APIs on premise without exposing them externally.

The API management software was scheduled to be available for download this week, Red Hat said.

Meanwhile, the company's JBoss release leverages "upstream" open source projects—Apache Active MQ and Apache Qpid—as the basis for an architecture used to build distributed, "message-driven" applications. The messaging platform is designed to enable real-time communications among applications and connected Internet of Things devices.

JBoss AMQ 7 is expected to be available for download to Red Hat developers by this summer.

As the API ecosystem is fleshed out, other major players such as San Francisco-based Mulesoft have scaled their operations to the point where the company (NYSE: MULE) went public in March. Mulesoft announced this week it has joined the Open API Initiative, throwing is support behind a RESTful API Modeling Language, or RAML, that is part of an open API framework. RAML was part of a work group that created the API modeling language beginning in 2013.

Uri Sarid, Mulesoft's CTO and the force behind RAML, noted in a blog post that the language "has emerged as the leading way to model API specifications [while] OAS (formerly Swagger) has emerged as the most common format for describing APIs.

"Although they share many aspects in common, they have different design goals, so developers and companies have been wondering: which should I choose? The answer is: both!" Sarid asserted.

The upshot from all this API activity is that the building blocks are becoming a critical tool for harried developers of distributed enterprise applications.


About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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