Amplify Whiteboard 2: API Discovery and Subscriptions

In the first Amplify Whiteboard article, we described how the governance of APIs and the developer experience (DX) need to shift to a new open layer that is inclusive of the different API platforms in use.

In this second whiteboard, we tackle the DX elements of this equation, specifically API Discovery and API Subscriptions.

Why is DX important?

Optimizing DX yields more adoption, hence better ROI. Regardless of whether you consider the API economy applicable to your situation or not, there is no doubt that for the API-first principle to pay its dividends to the digital transformation initiative, your APIs need to be used.

Any friction in the process of discovering and adopting an API reduces the chance of developers leveraging them. Discovering an API starts with being aware of the existence of it, showing up in search results, for example.

Through OpenAPI specifications and other assets, a developer quickly understands how to use the API. Hopefully, they can get to their first “hello world” in minutes, either in the API Catalog directly or inside their favorite tool like Postman.

Why a Unified Catalog?

As discussed in the previous whiteboard, APIs increasingly exist across multiple API platforms. When the DX is delegated to each individual API platform, the DX is fragmented for developers that consume APIs across multiple API silos.

Running an open Unified Catalog, you can bring together APIs from your different API platforms and create a consistent DX across your entire organization. Unlocking APIs from their respective silos accelerates adoption and reuse.

Automating and simplifying API discoverability

Amplify simplifies and automates the process of aggregating APIs into a Unified Catalog. Through its network of discovery agents, the Amplify platform provides a real-time picture of APIs, including the latest OpenAPI specifications from each of the API platforms.

API Subscriptions

API providers commonly require app developers to present an API key when consuming their APIs. The process of getting such a key is a basic DX use case. If the DX happens a level “above” the actual API platform, there needs to be coordination between the API management plane and the API platform.

The Amplify Discovery Agent capabilities also provide this API key negotiation between the developer and the API platform where it may be used.

Why custom workflows?

Sometimes, subscribing to an API requires some approvals, or maybe additional information needs to be captured. These details, including what is needed by the developer to call an API within a given platform are deployment-specific for the Amplify platform to adapt to these deployment-specific requirements, you can attach custom workflows that are triggered from within the Amplify platform during API subscription.

As part of this, you can plug in Webhooks, to interface easily with collaboration tools like Slack or Teams to streamline the workflow. Remember that the objective is to optimize the DX and you want to reduce friction as part of the subscription experience.

API Discovery is not just DX — know your APIs

API Discovery is also about the provider knowing about the existence of the APIs. When APIs are deployed in separate silos each with their separate governance, there isn’t a centralized aggregated view of all APIs across an organization.

There is a difference between the awareness of an API inside a sub-domain vs the awareness of it centrally. API Discovery is a very important ingredient of API security. Analysts are urging enterprises to discover their APIs before attackers discover them.

In the third Whiteboard, we will discuss the governance aspects of the Amplify platform, starting with API observability.

Thanks for watching.

Watch the video to learn more about API Discovery and Subscriptions.

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VP, Chief Architect at Axway, Francois has over 20 years of experience working with enterprises on their digital transformation projects with a focus on API, integration, and identity. Previous to joining Axway, Francois was Chief Architect at API management startup Layer 7 and a member of the office of the CTO at Ping Identity.

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