MuleSoft catches the API fever, buys ProgrammableWeb

ProgrammableWeb sale quickly follows acquisitions of Mashery, Layer 7

Following in the footsteps of Intel and CA Technologies, open source middleware provider MuleSoft has acquired a vendor of API (Application Programming Interface) services and technologies, ProgrammableWeb.

ProgrammableWeb offers APIhub, a repository of over 13,000 APIs available over the Web. The company also provides a set of libraries that organizations can use to help them expose their own APIs for external use, as well as news and other content of interest to API users.

Earlier this week, CA Technologies announced it had acquired API management software provider Layer 7 Technologies and, last week, Intel announced it had [<http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9238471/Intel_acquires_Mashery_for_planned_services_suite>acquired Mashery<a/>], an API vendor with a similar set of products. 

"I think we are seeing now the API revolution coming to a head. APIs represent distributed computing finally coming together in the form of the interconnected Web," said IDC software development analyst  Al Hilwa, in an e-mail message, about the recent wave of API company acquisitions. 

An API provides a set of machine-readable instructions that one software program can use to interact with another over a network. By providing an API for its services, a company can encourage wider usage of those services by other parties.

While ProgrammableWeb offers tools to help organizations publish their APIs, the company has not directly competed with Mashery or Layer 7. In fact, MuleSoft's Anypoint Platform already offers some API management features. Instead, MuleSoft obtained ProgrammableWeb to gain presence with the growing public API community. 

Much like GitHub serves as a central repository for open source programmers around the globe, APIhub acts as a focal point for API users, said Greg Schott, MuleSoft president and CEO. 

MuleSoft is perhaps best known for its eponymously-named enterprise service bus, though the company has been expanding its offerings to various other forms of multi-system connectivity. Today, many organizations use APIs as a simpler alternative to Web services and other more complex machine-to-machine communication protocols.

"With the dawn of cloud and software-as-a-service, more end points have to be connected, though the ability to connect those end-points is now something you can build a product around with APIs," Schott said.

To date, MuleSoft has gotten over $81 million in financing, including investment from companies such as Salesforce.com, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, SAP Ventures and Bay Partners. ProgrammableWeb, which was formerly owned by Alcatel-Lucent, will remain a stand-alone business unit of MuleSoft.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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