CA Technologies Interview Podcast Series Part 2 – API Based Software Engineering
We spoke to Stephen Miles, Chief Technology Officer of CA Technologies and Nick Lim, Vice President to ASEAN and Greater China Region of CA Technologies. In this three-part podcast series we will be exploring the concept of Modern Software Factory as coined by CA Technologies, API based software systems adoption by companies, and industry potential in Malaysia. In this second part of the interview, they introduce the concept of API based software engineering and how it may help businesses in simplifying their digital transformations.
Application Programming Interface (API) is nothing new; it just has not been as popular before the rise of the mobile phone. The standard practice used to be a sort of monolithic software design. A single large bespoke software developed by developers for businesses. Every part of that software is nearly unique to that particular build. This ‘built from ground up’ approach worked great for a decade or so. Other than taking a long time to build, test, and deploy; the problem with this sort of monolithic software design is the expense that comes with it. Any small changes on the interface could take up to a few months to work on and solutions have to be designed also from the ground up. That sort of costs are not acceptable in the quickly evolving business these days.
So these days API is back in fashion due to its highly flexible and modular structure. API based software are mostly mishmash of different software plugins and interfaces built by other developers. In a sense the appeal of using it is its open source nature. That also means that you rely on a community of developers instead of a small pool of internal developers.
API based software engineering, as mentioned is highly modular. That means that it could just be a matter of plug-and-play for more developers. With API based engineering gone are the days where you have to design a whole new language for a bespoke software. Gone are also the days where changes to a small part of your interface takes 30 man hours to work on. For API based software all you need to do with parts that you do not like is to replace the plugin with something else you might like to see implemented on your application. If you would like, you could add even more API to your application for additional features or functionality.
API based engineering is so dynamic that turn-around and deployment times are cut so much shorter. At some point, deployment and testing can work at the same time. Grab is a good example of successful API engineering. The interface is a mix of Google Maps interface, a separate banking system, and Grab’s own developed interface. All they had to do is design a customer’s journey of booking a ride service through their app. To tackle positioning issue, they implemented Google’s already brilliant and existing Maps plugin into the app to show where their customers are, and where their ride is, and what time it will get to them. The whole thing works in tandem of one another. Even Grab’s own interface are based on the same architecture; when they wish to add or test a new service, all they had to do is push a plug or pull a plug when they want to close that service off. It is a simplified way of software engineering; pretty much like a drag and drop thing.
CA Technologies believes that API is the future of software engineering. As the modern software factory CA Technologies will continue to champion API and will invest in the development of API. Of course API is not perfect so CA Technologies continue to develop on it alongside their customers to optimise the building blocks along the way.
Source CA Technologies.