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Maximizing the value of your business with smart api management

Users expect a seamless experience no matter the website they visit or what they want to do. You should be able to browse the inventory on an e-commerce website, choose an item, make a payment, and arrange delivery, all from the same user interface. However, many of these jobs call for outside resources, including data. Data about inventory, pricing, point of sale, and shipping may reside in different systems, depending on the organization's Methodology. Or the company may rely on outside services to carry out specific duties, such as integrating with PayPal to process payments and UPS to offer delivery estimates and freight costs.

User experience is more important than ever for your company's success when time is limited, and clients may quickly access competitors' websites. Application programming interfaces (APIs) have been used by businesses to integrate the capabilities and data from many platforms (APIs).

Software programs can exchange resources and communicate with one another through APIs, which were created specifically for this purpose. The Development of APIs to sustain data sharing across numerous apps and carry out complex activities has accelerated with the rise of microservice architecture. How do teams maintain visibility into each of these interfaces to ensure that every API operates as intended when there could be hundreds of APIs in a single organization? API administration is the method used by IT teams to control their API ecosystems.

What is API management?

API management is part of building, publishing, managing, and analyzing APIs. To assist in delivering, securing, and managing APIs, a variety of tools and services are used. For APIs to operate and be used as intended, visibility is essential.

Benefits of API Management

APIs cannot provide an organization with the supervision and visibility required to guarantee that users' needs are met while protecting their APIs from unwanted access and unlawful use. Organizations benefit from the following benefits with effective API administration.

Governance and Security

API management makes sure that data privacy laws and business standards are followed. Businesses can also implement data governance and API security policies to ensure no backdoors into their applications or sensitive data are left open.

Access can be restricted to users or programs using the proper API keys or other forms of authentication, which is another aspect of security. API administration ensures that only users with the right authorization can use its services.

Automation

The developers who create these interfaces also benefit from time savings from API management. Many management platforms offer automated and templating API generation to save duplication of effort and speed up deployment.

By enabling developers to search for APIs that may already perform the requested function, the central directory of APIs prevents duplication of effort. With the help of these new efficiencies, the development team can use agile approaches without compromising on quality or security. 

Analytics and Reporting

The requests and responses that an API gets may be logged, but by default, such data is not in a manner that can be easily used. Developers can monitor request volume and discover popular services to inform future API development using analytics provided by API management solutions. These metrics can also be compiled into reports to share with the greater team and organization.

Distribution

Businesses use API management to provide a developer portal where newly released APIs and associated documentation may be delivered. Developers can look for APIs in this online marketplace, also referred to as an API shop.

Onboarding

Developers can store documentation using an API management system on a portal accessible to developers inside and outside the company. To speed up the onboarding process, developers may immediately implement the correct ways to contact the API and know what outcome to anticipate.

Now that you know the advantages API management may bring to your business, let's go through some specific API manager skills.

API Manager Capabilities

The governance procedures for your APIs should be streamlined by API managers, who should also provide new efficiencies for the development team creating these interfaces. An API administration tool should include the following major features.

Access Control

Anyone may use a public open API created by your company. You will also find APIs that are only accessible by specific individuals or programs. You can control who is authorized to obtain resources from the API using access control. Access may also be further divided so that privileges only allow the use of some services.

Authentication and Protection

If you utilize access control, you will also use authentication and protection procedures to confirm the legitimacy of users making API queries. Without adequate authentication, malicious parties could steal access tokens or spoof credentials to pose as authenticated users, leaving your API vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

Design and Build Support

The top API managers will support the full creative process, from designing to developing, rather than merely controlling access after the API is developed. Additionally, these platforms will assist in maintaining already-existing APIs and offer automated monitoring to find problems quickly.

Support for Different API Types

There are numerous API types and API structures to accommodate various use cases. An API manager shouldn't restrict your company to only using SOAP or REST APIs, for instance. Instead, the API manager should be adaptable enough to accommodate whichever APIs you decide are best for your company's operations.

Developer Portal

To let subscribers rapidly find services, developer portals act as a directory of available APIs and associated documentation. By offering instructions on proper request wording and anticipated outcomes, the site also helps end-users implement their ideas effectively.

Three types of APIs

With a rapidly growing market for cloud-native microservices and mobile applications, APIs are a primary component of any technology-backed company's software strategy. APIs can be divided into three broad categories based on their functionalities.

Remote procedure call (RPC)

With a rapidly growing market for cloud-native microservices and mobile applications, APIs are a primary component of any technology-backed company's software strategy. APIs can be divided into three broad categories based on their functionalities.

Representational state transfer (REST)

Representational state transfer (REST) protocol provides a communication channel to a distributed set of computers over HTTP requests. It follows an architectural style that involves various applications interacting over multiple web services. REST APIs need to be stateless (retain no data), have a uniform interface to work on, ensure the independence of client and server, and be loosely coupled for easy changes.

Simple object access protocol (SOAP)

Simple object access protocol (SOAP) is helpful in the interaction between applications built on different operating systems and programming languages via XML and HTTP. This web API protocol can handle stateful (requires data storage) operations without requiring extra code and has strong security measures.

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Evaluation of an API Management Tool

The standard criteria for assessing potential API management solutions and how they support the use case for your organization are listed below.

Quality: Does the API always deliver the requested data? Is the information accurate and in a useful format? The quality of your API's answers is crucial for ensuring customer satisfaction. Developers anticipate high-quality API delivery, and external engineers might only sometimes be able to tell if the data is affected.

Dependability: APIs must, above all things, be dependable. If other websites use your API in their operations, they do not want their functionality to suffer due to downtime on your interface. Your company's operations should be fine due to internal API outages by the same token.

Agility: Can your API accommodate several request types without compromising performance? Your API will be adopted more widely, the more adaptable it is. API gateways are another way organizations can accomplish this flexibility via handling many queries to several APIs and giving a single comprehensive response.

Speed: Your API needs to be dependable and swift. To reduce latency and shorten the time between an API call and a response, requests should be processed as quickly as possible by supplying only the exact data requested.

Cost: How well does your API work? If your interface is designed for quick and efficient responses to queries, you should experience cost savings using APIs instead of more resource-intensive paths to deliver data and services.

These objectives will be supported by the best management tools, which will also offer improved visibility and control over API usage.

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API Management Tools

API management solutions provide the advantages and functionalities mentioned above. A selection of the tools for managing the APIs in your company is provided below.

Let's examine each in more detail.

MuleSoft Anypoint

Price: Free trial with paid plans available

The MuleSoft Anypoint Platform is a cloud-based platform that supports the entire API lifecycle. It is based on open standards and supports an organization's current toolkit while providing the freedom to interact with any application through quick API construction. Additionally, the Anypoint Platform supports SaaS technologies like Box, Salesforce, and ServiceNow and API cloud deployment, including IBM Bluemix and AWS.

Boomi API Management

Price: Free trial with paid plans available

Boomi API Management is a centralized interface for integrating cloud services, enterprise applications, and databases. To increase flexibility and knowledge exchange, it provides a developer portal and library where users may look for APIs and create their connectors. Through analytics dashboards, users can also keep an eye on the state of APIs and impose access restrictions based on permissions to guarantee that only authorized users can access data. 

Akana API Management Platform

Price: Free trial with paid plans available

Akana API Management Platform is an all-in-one solution for designing, building, managing, and monitoring your organization's APIs. The platform is cloud agnostic and offers an on-premise version to provide maximum flexibility. Akana API Management Platform also focuses on API security and supports standard authentication methods, including OAuth, JWT, SAML, SSO, and LDAP.

IBM API Connect

Price: Free trial with paid plans available

IBM API Connect is an API manager purpose-built to support DevOps. The platform provides a central integration platform for your organization's APIs and web services. API Connect offers enterprise-grade security centered on authentication, encryption, and real-time status monitoring. In addition, the platform integrates with open-source tools for automated testing like Selenium and Jenkins, and it supports open standards for creating custom connectors like RESTful APIs.

Broadcom Layer7 API Management

Price: Pricing available on request

Broadcom Layer7 API Management is an API manager focusing on microservices and testing. The platform offers scalable testing strategies to validate APIs and real-time monitoring to detect outages. Layer7 also has a gateway solution that supports high performance through resource optimization to integrate and govern APIs at scale. It also provides a developer portal to power discovery, onboarding, and collaboration between engineers and subscribers.

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