What is API Management?
Many might feel this is a very basic question, “What is API Management?”, but surprisingly when you search for a definition, you’ll find a variety of answers. Most vendors in this realm have their own spin on defining API Management to make them unique. Some even blur the lines with API Platform and Full Lifecycle API Management. The actual definition isn’t the focus, but the components and features that make up the solution are the answer.
At the very minimum, a solution should include:
A Gateway (API Gateway) plays an important role. Often it acts as both the orchestration and governance layer. Gateways are often policy enforces. Examples include throttling, security, data transformation, etc.
READ MORE: API Gateway, you can’t handle the truth!
Build and publishing tools
Often OAS (Open API Specification) and Swagger get used in the same context. There are tools like Stoplight and SwaggerHub which are used to produce the API Contract that aligns with the OAS specification.
When developing the contract, it’s imperative to understand who the consumer is. A weak contract can result in low or no adoption. You should cater to the Application Developer’s needs.
APIs are an important aspect of digital transformation. Leveraging APIs is virtually mandatory for businesses to stay competitive and to promote growth. This is what makes the application developer community so significant. Offering a Portal allows application developers to discover and learn how to use a published API. A Developer Portal should also provide a method for consumers to provide feedback.
Creating and publishing APIs to be consumed internally as well as externally is an important step. However, if you’re not monitoring the usage then you’re missing out on crucial information. This data enables the Product Manager and API Developer to reassess and either modify the API to be more relevant or to remove to avoid unnecessary maintenance. Real-time monitoring helps assure an error isn’t being returned continuously. Failure to take action can have a negative impact on the credibility and result in loss of revenue.
Data equals potential revenue. Not every corporation will leverage this feature but it should definitely be considered. As corporations seek new ways to generate income or attract new clients this will continue to be an important differentiator.
Final thoughts, the API Management discipline is mature, but thankfully it’s still evolving. Technologies like mesh services and microservices are in high demand. For businesses to stay competitive and relevant, they must evolve too. When evaluating vendors for the right API Management solution, keep in mind you’re not just purchasing a product. You’re investing in a partnership. Features come and go but partnerships are everlasting.
Discover why APIs and API Management are so important to your enterprise.