Summary:

Adding a good API to your web service can result in a 70-percent increase in traffic, according to a survey out this week from a tech research firm. The survey laid out the business and technical reasons companies use APIs and how well they work.

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Adding a good API to your web service can result in a 70-percent increase in traffic, according to a survey out this week from a tech research firm. The survey, conducted by Hurwitz and Associates, also laid out the business and technical reasons for introducing an application programming interface, otherwise known as an easy way to integrate a service into a third-party site. Unsurprisingly, the top of both lists involved a business’ relationship with its partners.

More than anything, APIs are the star of the current social web scene. Whether it’s a social app sharing information across “clouds” or a way to bridge multiple platforms with a bit more ease, having an open API is key to providing an app or web service today. Clearly, companies know this. The Hurwitz survey talked to 24 companies using APIs to discover why they were doing so and what the results were.

In addition to the increase in web traffic, there was a 30-percent decrease in the amount of time required to get a partnership relationship running smoothly. I have no idea how this is actually measured, but respondents also said they had a 30 percent increase in the ability to bring new ideas to market quickly. More than the broad conclusion that APIs are good, we can look at them as a much-needed way to automate processes that might have once taken weeks of planning and contract negotiations to map out.

Instead of complicated partnership agreements, the web today assumes sharing is beneficial, and thus, companies should make it as easy as possible. The history of open-source development, social media and a culture of mash-ups is now influencing culture as a whole, and businesses are picking up on it. Of course, once businesses pick up these tools that today make them agile, it’s probably only a matter of time until enterprise users turn APIs into something sclerotic and slow.

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