Merging API Automation and Interoperability Into API Reciprocity

While I’m wading through dictionaries and thesauruses in an effort to find a more appropriate term “governance”, when looking at SOA governance through the API lense--I figured I’d flush out another area I’m working to define a term that appropriately describes automation and interoperability using APIs.

Yesterday I took a look at 31 backend as a service (BaaS) providers, in hopes of understanding more about what value they provide. Today I'm diving into the automation section of my new API trends area. While reviewing, I noticed the exact same companies that were under automation were also in interoperability. So I set out to find a new word to apply to this next generation of ETL providers that are building bridges between cloud platforms using APIs, as well as legacy data connections.

I have settled on the word reciprocity. The dictionary defines reciprocity as:

  • the quality or state of being reciprocal : mutual dependence, action, or influence
  • a mutual exchange of privileges; specifically : a recognition by one of two countries or institutions of the validity of licenses or privileges granted by the other

When you look in the thesaurus, reciprocity has a definition of "interchange" with synonyms of cooperation, exchange, mutuality and reciprocation. Reciprocity is also a synonym of connection with a definition of “person who aids another in achieving goal”. With synonyms being acquaintance, agent, ally, associate, association, contact, friend, go-between, intermediary, kin, kindred, kinship, mentor, messenger, network, reciprocity, relation, relative and sponsor.  (i love that "kin" is a synonym too)

All of these terms apply to what I’m seeing unfold with this new generation of ETL providers. ETL is moving into the clouds, and out from behind the firewall, using the open web, cloud platforms and APIs, and now we have to rethink ETL, and make it accessible to the masses. Put it within reach of the everday problem owners.

What I really like about reciprocity is it describes the mutual relationship between users and the platforms where their data and information resides. Reciprocity describes the connection that has to occur between these valuable API platforms, and their users, in ways the ETL misses. ETL stands for extract, transform and load, very technical and programmatic responses to moving my valuable resources, assets and personal information between the cloud platform I depend on daily.

In the physical world we have reciprocity agreements between countries to ensure free trade and a healthy balance in world markets. This next generation of reciprocity platform providers will not just be extracting, transforming and loading data--reciprocity platforms will be the nervous system of the global API economy, moving valuable resources around the world while respecting relationships between users, developers and the platforms in a way that preserves maximum value for everyone involved.

Now under the trends section you will just see one section for reciprocity, that will house all 19 of this new breed of API service providers. We’ll see how things change, but for now I think reciprocity describes the value created by this new space, in a way that helps me communicate it to others.