Webhooks provide a wealth of value for API platforms as they grow. They can help alleviate the strain on APIs when it comes to responding to repeating polling by consumers, and they can begin defining the event-driven landscape that exists via any API platform. You find many consumer-facing API platforms beginning to provide more webhooks, and quantifying their platforms in terms of event types, and subscriptions across the API landscape. This is definitely the direction that API platforms should be headed, but many will quickly begin to realize that in a higher volume, B2B environment the beginnings of webhooks falling short of what is needed from an infrastructure delivery, as well as consumer level.
When it comes to a handful of events, and few hundred or thousand consumers webhooks makes a lot of sense, but with every additional event, topic, and consumer you are going to exponentially complexify the data and content delivery framework–opening up the chances for problems. Webhooks provide a great bridge to help define, and move from a transactional to an event-driven way of doing things, but at scale you are going to want to make sure you have a real-time plan in place–helping ensure your most demanding consumers will be able to scale to meet their needs.
Ideally, every API platform possesses a wealth of transactional web APIs, a well-orchestrated webhooks setup, as well as a dedicated set of streaming APIs to meet the demands of the most demanding customers. This is why we developed Streamdata.io, to allow API providers to keep investing in their existing API infrastructure, continue making sense of the event-driven landscape that exists on top of their platform, and then be able to outsource the more involved investment in streaming technology to a service provider. Providing a robust, three-speed approach to delivering API resources.
1) Web APIs – Simple, easy to use web APIs for consumers to get started.
2) Webhooks – Allow consumers to get data pushed to them when events occur.
3) Streams – Connect to real-time, persistent streams using HTTP technology.
This way, when you have higher need partners, and internal applications that you don’t want polling your web APIs, or have to process hundreds or thousands of webhooks, you have the option of turning on higher volume streams that will scale with any amount of demand. Consumers can connect to whatever speed of API they need, and when their needs grow, they can evolve their approach to consuming data, without any limitations on being able to satisfy the increasingly large appetite most businesses have for data.
B2C API consumption will be easier to manage for providers. Most of the applications won’t have high volume needs. However, once you start delivering to other small, medium, or enterprise scope businesses the demand on your API infrastructure will grow dramatically. Streamdata.io is how you meet this demand, helping alleviate the load on your existing infrastructure, while also scaling infinitely to deliver data and content to large volume consumers using Server-Sent Event (SSE) streams.