MuleSoft Asia-Pacific vice-president, Will Bosma, characterises APIs as being "this year's take on last year's services".

According to Bosma, APIs are services that a company will expose externally to integrate with those of other companies.

"What you want to do is design with the end consumer of that API in mind," he said.

"If you design the API well, the presumption is that it will be consumed broadly and become successful."

Bosma said the challenge for companies is that very few of them have a platform for designing of APIs, such as the UI, and the consumption of the API from the beginning.

As a result, the SaaS software vendor has announced a platform, MuleSoft APIhub, for doing that, and a part of it has been open sourced.

"We want to help gain adoption of the platform down the track, and we've embraced the reasonably new standard, RAML [RESTful API modeling language]," he said.

"It is a simple way of designing and describing APIs, and making them easily discoverable."

Good deployment

When it comes to conversations with local businesses, Bosma said a common complaint is that there has not been a standard mechanism or method deployed for designing APIs.

"What they tend to suffer from is multiple versions of the same service, described differently, and the methods work differently as well," he said.

"When they get consumers using two APIs from two organisations that work differently, they end up becoming a bit confused about that."

Bosma said the discussion then becomes how to secure APIs, as well as knowing who is using the APIs and at what rate they are being consumed.

"You'll likely have different APIs for different purposes, and that's where the complexity comes in," he said.

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.