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2013 guides: Application program interfaces, mobile top the list

Application program interfaces, mobile development and REST top the list of 2013's most-viewed guides in application development.

Tutorials on application programming interfaces (APIs), mobile application development and Representational State Transfer (REST) were viewed more than any other of TechTarget's application development technology guides in 2013. These tutorials' in-depth advice on API technology, mobile security and development and REST transitions serve up strategy and how-to advice that can help software pros handle the ongoing transition from client- and server-based IT to Web, cloud and mobile computing ecosystems.

IT market predictions show that APIs, mobile applications and REST are gaining popularity. Sales of API management tools are expected to increase 40% in 2013 over 2012's $70 million, Gartner Inc. reported. Worldwide IT spending on mobile computing will exceed $2.1 trillion in 2013, largely due to mobile device sales at 57% of that spending, according to IDC. As for REST, it's ubiquitous -- used in virtually everything that's designed to work with a browser or app, said Tom Nolle, CIMI Corp. principal consultant. CIMI Corp.'s model showed that 89% of all the API calls made in a given day are to RESTful APIs.

Read on to get the how-to and strategy advice, as well as other information, that has already helped many software development professionals make IT decisions. 

API management: What is there to know?

This tutorial on API technology takes readers from a basic definition to high-end strategy discussions about this essential layer of software communication. Social media giants like Facebook and Twitter, as well as all types of e-commerce businesses, depend on open APIs to distribute information, data and services to new audiences. 

"What we are really seeing now in the last five-to-six years is this trend of mainstreaming APIs. That is because of the consumerization of IT, connected devices, the 'Internet of Things' -- these movements," said Delyn Simons, who leads Mashery's developer outreach team.

With the move into mainstream and continued popularity, making the right API decisions for an organization is imperative. "API quality determines how easy it is to learn, how productively it can be used, and how likely it is that mistakes will be made," IT architect Peter Hendriks said. "For a developer, API quality can make a night-and-day difference in [its] effectiveness."

With nearly 27,000 worldwide Google searches this year, it's clear that API know-how is highly valued. This API management guide provides information on the basics of project planning, development processes and problem solving. Various organizations and experts share how they've managed these API strategies with success. From the NFL's stats company to an online gift-giving registry, APIs are everywhere. API management forecasts in 2014 include continuing mainstream usage and the use of application service governance, merging APIs and SOA governance.            

Going through the mobile development lifecycle

Anyone doubting that mobile computing is all the rage? Nearly 91 million overall Google searches say it's so. In 2013, users and vendors showed a greater sense of urgency to move past the initial stages of mobile applications. IDC predicted this urgency will reorder leadership ranks within the IT market and be a disruptive force in every other industry that uses computer technology.

Top guide notable mentions

Using old app? New approaches for application modernization

Platform as a Service: Exert advice for selecting a PaaS vendor

2013 AWS re:Invent conference

Bridging the gap between user knowledge of mobile computing and rapid technology changes is a top challenge today, according to Matt Vlasach, director of mobile integration services at Unwired Revolution. "A strong enterprise application is one that calls to users and makes them just as interested in using that app as any other application that makes that platform popular in the consumer space," he said. This only works if the tools have the technology to work well, but have ease of use that doesn’t scare off customers.

This guide drills down the issues when working with mobile development challenges in security, quality assurance, testing and more. Learn how developers and senior software architects are building security into mobile applications and networks, and coping with the impact of bring your own device. Also, this tutorial's case studies show how companies have successfully gone through the mobile development process.

How and when to use REST

REST is a popular and, as consultant Nolle said above, ubiquitous Web application programming interface model.

REST is often compared to the alternative Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and Web Services Description Language Web services. In the most popular TechTarget application development guide of the year, technology architect Swati Dhingra examined the REST versus SOAP controversy, offering a comprehensive list of differences between each service. On the same topic, enterprise architect Todd Biske's tip explained why REST is more beneficial than SOAP for mobile applications.

Find out how software developers are using resource-based REST the right way.  Jerome Louvel, co-author of Restlet in Action and creator of the Restlet framework, gives insight to Java developers using REST for e-commerce, advising them to use hypermedia as much as possible as the engine of the application. "This is a principle that is difficult to apply and people are still trying to find the best way to do that," Louvel said. The guide also offers advice on combining RESTful interfaces.

Mobile applications, social media and automated business processes are also covered in discussions on RESTful API uses.

More popular app dev guides

The top three tutorials mentioned above beat other widely read TechTarget application development content collections, including conference coverage of Red Hat/JBOSS 2013 and the 2013 Agile Alliance event. From the Agile conference, continuous integration, testing trends, DevOps, application performance management, continuous delivery and Agile requirements were standout topics. The Red Hat/JBOSS 2013 tutorial shared speakers' tips on working with mobile technologies, cloud computing and open source platforms

Looking forward, will these topics continue to be the most popular in 2014? Email us and let us know.

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