These days when the value proposition of cloud computing and more specifically Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is discussed the most prominent use-case being brought up is integration. Some people claim that PaaS is the New Middleware … and I fully agree. Whether we talk about building extensions for SaaS applications or applications that integrate OnPremise and OnDemand systems, it seems that a new breed of applications (may we call them cloud composites?)developed on PaaS offerings seems to be(come) the new weapon of choice as they promises unparalleled time-to-market as well as fast RoI (Return on Investment) with predictable TCO (Total Cost of Ownership.)

But before I risk turning this blog into a TLA (Three Letter Acronym) buzz-word bingo, let’s get to another use-case for which PaaS seems a perfect fit: provisioning of APIs.

In the days of web 2.0 and social business enterprises are well-advised to expose interfaces to their backends systems directly on the web instead of locking it up behind corporate firewalls. Movements like bring-your-own-device (BYOD) enable corporate employees to use self-services on-the-go IF they can access the data. Exposing business functionality via a well-defined API makes it easier for your partners and customers to do business with you and you may even lay the foundation for an entire new ecosystem to be build using your API as the foundation of a future business platform.

We’ve seen this phenomena being highly successful in the consumer space for the last few years. Social networks like Twitter, Facebook, foursquare and so on would not have seen mass adoption without providing ways to develop alternative clients or new value-adding services based on their APIs. Some sources predict that Enterprise APIs are the next best thing and they give good reasons why:

Web sites like www.programmableweb.com provide thousands of APIs for almost every use-case or platform and with the ongoing consumerization of IT users expect (or even demand) that new applications provide integration to other services or social platforms.

However, until recently it was quite challenging and time-consuming for (large) enterprises to cater to this trend as global IT departments are not to fond of opening up corporate firewalls or expose backend systems to the web for security reasons. Enter: SAP NetWeaver Cloud.

As fellow mentor Dagfinn Parnas has blogged about in his recent post titled Exposing a REST API from #SAPNWCloud it is quite simple to do. Sascha Wenninger chimes the same chord sharing his experiences developing RESTful APIs from Scratch: Lessons Learnt (so far).

In Part 2 of this blog post I’ll build upon their work (talking about standing on the shoulders of giants) and share some further technical insight on the ease and beauty of using JAX-RS to develop RESTful services on top of SAP NetWeaver Cloud. Interested? If so, stay tuned for more…

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