What Is API Management?
API management is the process of designing, publishing, documenting and analyzing APIs in a secure to and scalable environment. The goal of API development is to ensure that the needs of developers and applications that API may use are being met, concerning organizations that publish or use APIs to monitor an interface’s lifecycle. Organizations create their own API’s to connect different parts of in-house software and so create infrastructure inside the organization or to pair in-house software with third party software.
Needs of API management may differ from organization to organization, but API management encompasses some basic functions like monitoring, security and version control. API management becomes more necessary because of business’s growing dependence on APIs, rise in the number of APIs they depend on and administrative complexities that APIs introduce. The requirements and process of building and managing APIs is different than other apps. So as to use efficiently, APIs need strong documentation, strong security, comprehensive testing, routine versioning and high reliability.
API management solutions in the market can offer various features, but most of the API management solutions allows to perform the tasks as follows-
- API Design- API management solutions provide users the ability to design, publish and deploy APIs, record documentation, security policies, descriptions, usage limits, runtime capabilities and so on.
- API gateway- API management solution also provides an API gateway that acts as a gatekeeper for APIs by implementing relevant API security policies and requests and further ensures security and authorization.
- API store- API management solutions offers the ability to keep their APIs in a store or list where they can expose them to internal or external stakeholders. This API “store” serves as a marketplace for APIs, where users can subscribe to APIs, get support from users and the community etc.
- API Analytics- API management lets users to monitor API usage, load transaction logs, historical data and metrics that inform the status and success of available API’s.
Important components of API management are-
- Developer portal
- API analytics
You can also know- Common API mistakes and how to avoid them
Need Of API Management-
Application programming interfaces expose the organization’s data and makes available assets of the enterprise through applications. It adds the digital interface to the customer, employee and partner interactions. So APi management is necessary as it allows organizations and developers to secure, scale, govern, analyze and monetize these API programs. API security is one of the important elements of API management and it is necessary to protect APIs against unauthorized access and threats. It is not only about authenticating and authorizing user access to the APIs but also establishing standards and policies to protect sensitive data and ensure that it is not leaked or compromised.
There are API management platforms that helps organizations to define standardized policies to secure APIs. Also it can be used to ensure traffic to back-end systems is successfully managed and stopped. API governance is an important element of API management whose main goal is to create a consistent experience for end users. It allows developers to ensure that each program is built appropriately and meets the goal of business.
As mobile devices engage applications, it becomes important for developers to use API governance for creating complex APIs which improve mobile user experience. API analytics focuses on the analysis and collection of API metrics that are provided by real-time monitoring and dashboards. It lets organizations and developers to know how APIs are being used as well as rank their performance.
API management also enables the monetization of APIs which means the ability of an enterprise API to generate revenue. It includes the creation of customized packages and plans, licensing of products and productization of data.
Strategies For API Management-
1. API Integration-
APIs are gateways through which through which part of software exchange information. Integrating them means connecting apps through interfaces and letting them perform functions. It helps apps to exchange data and work properly without worrying about compatibility and versioning. While integrating two apps through APIs, you need an API management solution. These solutions provide mapping between apps and don’t need complex actions.
2. B2B Integration-
When multiple businesses want to automate their operations and communicate effectively, they can use interfaces to exchange data and coordinate processes. This kind of integration is used to connect businesses to customers, suppliers, partners etc. It also helps businesses transition from paperwork to digital document management. B2B integration securely transfers data from internal source to external application through API management software.
It allows businesses to access data storage, integration, processing, analytics and other cloud services via application programming interfaces. This makes easier and more flexible data processing and management, but for some businesses it may not be functional enough due to security limitations. These limitations can be overcome by encrypting data.
Benefits Of API Management-
- Protects organization against security threats that affect APIs
- It has the ability to produce detailed documentation of the API that is used to guide users and developers.
- Has ability to make data-driven decisions through business insights taken from API analytics.
- Can monetize APIs, share revenue with partners and track billing in real time.
- Creates a good user experience for API consumers.
- Organizations can see all their API connections in one place and so reduces security risks, decreases repetitive APIs.
- Improves API agility and can rapidly create new digital assets.
- Can create agile, flexible, adaptable and innovative ecosystem in which all people, processes and technology can work together.
API Management Software And API Management Platforms-
API management software is built to ease API design, deployment and maintenance and make it more efficient. Even though each individual API management tool possesses its own set of features, most of them include necessary features such as documentation tools, security, sandbox environments, high availability and backward compatibility. It provides functions like monitoring traffic from individual apps, automating and controlling connections between API and apps, providing memory management and caching mechanisms to improve performance, protecting API from misuse by wrapping it in security procedures and policies and so on.
API management platform offers a standardized process for creating, managing and deploying APIs. It helps you to organize your API management processes. These platforms act like a proxy and protect backend services from downtime due to excessive requests from customers, partners or internal users. Best part of API management platforms is analytics that lets you see who uses your APIs, and eases to manage your developer community, plan for the development, and improve interfaces based on data.
These days APIs are widely used to integrate services into software and connect different apps inside an organization. If you are also using APIs, then you must know the basics of API management. We are here to help you through consultation and development. If you want to integrate services into software or create a software for your customers, feel free to connect with us. We will be happy to help you.