A survey of more than 28,000 developers and application programming interface (API) professionals published today by Postman found nearly half of respondents (49%) are now spending the majority of their time developing APIs. More than a quarter (28%) now spend 20 or more hours per week working with APIs.
Kin Lane, chief evangelist for Postman, a provider of a platform for building APIs, said that shift reflects an increase in software development and integration activity that began at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost two-thirds of respondents (63%) said the pandemic somewhat or significantly affected their work, with almost half of those respondents noting that changes made with their organization were enabled and supported by APIs.
Additionally, a full 94% of respondents said the investment of time and resources into APIs will increase or stay the same for the next 12 months. The biggest obstacle to creating APIs is lack of time (45%) while the biggest obstacle to consuming an API is lack of documentation (55%). In terms of API goals, the survey found that quality (80%), agility (66%) and reliability (65%) are the top three goals among survey respondents.
However, the survey also noted only a third of respondents said they could build and deploy an API in anywhere from a single day to a week, with most requiring one week to a month. About one-third also said they deploy APIs to production between once per week and once per month. More than 80% of respondents noted that less than 25% of their changes fail while a similar percentage said they can recover in less than a day with a third reporting they fully recover in less than an hour.
The Postman survey also found that more than three-quarters of respondents (76%) have less than five years of experience with API development. Only half of respondents indicated that they agree or strongly agree that the leadership of their API team has a clear sense of where their API practice should be in five years. However, microservices (58%) and Kubernetes (50%), containers (46%), serverless architecture (44%) and GraphQL (35%) were ranked among the technologies that respondents were most excited about heading into 2022.
On the plus side, more than 60% of respondents felt their API leadership and governance teams demonstrated a “willingness to change” as well as duly considering “the interests and opinions of employees.” When it comes to regularly providing feedback and process, more than half of leadership and governance teams (53%) scored well.
The top two ways API teams collaborate is via a dedicated collaboration platform (50%) or by publishing API artifacts to repositories such as GitLab, GitHub and Bitbucket (45%), according to the Postman survey. The most widely used DevOps tools are Jenkins (37%), Azure DevOps (26%), GitHub Actions (25%), AWS DevOps (23%) and GitLab Pipelines (22%).
In terms of deploying APIs, continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) platforms are the most widely employed (57%), followed by deploying APIs in the cloud (38%), frameworks (34%) and custom-built deployment methods (27%).
Just over 70% of respondents ranked security and performance as the top factors considered when integrating with an API. When producing an API, however, the top factors are integration with internal systems, integration with external systems, adding functionality to an internal system and enhancing functionality for an end customer. Similarly, when consuming an API the top factors are integration with external systems, adding functionality for end customers, adding functionality to internal systems and integration between internal systems.
In general, Lane noted that, as more APIs are developed and deployed to drive various digital business transformation initiatives, organizations will need to pay more attention to API discovery and management. There’s a tendency for different teams within organizations to not only create redundant APIs but also forget about so-called zombie APIs that are no longer supported but can still be exploited by cybercriminals.
Overall, Lane said the survey makes it clear more organizations are pursuing an API-first approach to digital transformation. The challenge now is managing all the APIs that can quickly become too much of a good thing.