In social media information flows across various kinds of graphs: social, interest, taste, etc. Apps and devices on the other hand use API to connect to each other. This is the social network of the technology.
Data Network Like Social Network
In a social network the connections between people make it work and bring value to everyone connected. The more connections the more value the network generates. Facebook is much better when all of your friends are there not just a few of them.
In a similar fashion modern apps and devices are nodes of a network and APIs are their connections. This enables data transfer and building ever more sophisticated apps on top of already existing services.
Let's take a look at how an application can look like today. Imagine an app that is a search engine for products that considers whether they have positive or negative reviews from the customers. Its architecture from the perspective of the API may look like this:
Exponential Growth Of API
Network effect means the value of a network grows exponentially with the number of connected nodes. The more APIs are available in the network, the faster and cheaper it is to build a sophisticated application, which in turn will expose their functionality through APIs.
The conclusion is simple: we'll produce and consume more APIs in the future. Much, much more.
PS. The discipline of API architecture, production and tooling is enormously wide and kind of blurry. That’s why it's important to get a grasp of the area through events like the Apidays Berlin. We've sent there a strong team of 5 in order to learn and observe the currents. We'll report our findings upon return.