A number of times the term “mobile first” or “web first” were coined. More recently the industry has become aware that this actually should be “API first”. We believe mobile IS important and a huge emerging channel. Across many of my companies, mobile origination (tablet included) comprises anywhere from 30-50%+ of traffic.
When we say API first, we mean that a set of business services needs to start with a core infrastructure with robust APIs that is tapped into via any number of “front ends”: web, mobile, and even 3rd party ecosystems. This includes not only a logical set of REST services, but also web authentication and good documentation of the services.
In this manner a business service will not only be exploited by the service owners’ frontends but it should also invite other 3rd parties to attach their frontends to this system.
The rate of change on the front end is usually a lot higher than in the back; the scale and stability requirements on the back are far more demanding than on the front. “Mobile first” companies really are just a front end selection accessing a solid API driven backend infrastructure.
So, as a concluding thought, if you are on the internet to do scalable biusiness focus on delivering a solid set of web API’s which deliver added value to websites and mobile apps. If you are on the internet to deliver great user experience prepare to have short cycles of development and make sure someone has your backend API’s covered.