API can be a product, a service, a way to access a resource or a platform.... and some more..
API can be any one of these things:
The API is a product -chant has taken over most of the stages in API conferences all over the world. And for good reason. But is API always a product? Or can it be something else, too? What do we actually mean by the word product in this case?
We questioned this with the co-authors of a book on API Economy published 08/2018 in Finland (currently only in Finnish, but let's see). We had a scientific approach but intended to also clarify concepts to the greater audience, even business people.
I made this taxonomy of shapes and sizes an API can take for the book, with helpful comments from my co-authors. This version is slightly improved and translated compared to the version published in the book, API-talous 101 (API Economy 101) by Moilanen, J., Niinioja, M., Seppänen, M., Honkanen, M. API-talous 101, Alma Talent.
What do you think? Comment in the blog or in Twitter (@mniinioja) or why not in LinkedIn.
Important feature of a tangible product
API is part of a tangible product or productized service. The customer gets the API as part of the deal when buying the product.
Examples: Internet of Things (IoT) APIs for controlling and analyzing state of things like home appliances or sensors
API in itself is a productized service, offered to all customers in the same way
Part of a digital or real-world service
API is part of the service experience, for example maintenance service is ordered with an API, or you can monitor package delivery with an API.
Example: Logistics API
API is part of a service offered to customers as a tailor-made solution including, for example, an integration to a service providers system.
Example: APIs in customer specific applications
Interface to resources
API is just a means to access a resource the company is selling.
Company info APIs (risk category, owners, contact information).
Cognitive APIs etc.
Interface to platform (boundary resource)
API is a means to connect with a platform and get added value through participation in the interconnecting relationships of the platform (in Platform Economy business model).
Online auction API, Apartment sharing API
Part of an integration
API is means to connect in to applications and devices
Product API, Employees API, business transactions API
What do you think? Is something missing? Can you think of better examples? Is this perfect?
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