API Management

How to pick the best API creation tool (for your needs)

With the rise of the API Economy, forward-looking enterprises are increasingly relying on off-the-shelf tooling to help them fast-track their digital transformation journeys. Key components of this toolset are tools that help them rapidly design, create, test and publish microservices.  A recent survey conducted by Postman, a leading API testing tool, found that a majority of the survey respondents are asking for better tooling including All-in-one Toolchain, Simple GUI, Integration, and API Access.
If you are in the process of evaluating tools for API creation, the following checklist along with the suggested weighting applied to the feature may be useful to compare the right API creation tool for your specific needs.

API-First, Data-First or Both? [Must Have]

How well does the API creation tool support creating APIs using these patterns?  Based on our experience at Axway working with leading companies in verticals such as Finance, Supply Chain, and Utilities, both of the patterns are equally prevalent with data-first APIs becoming the building blocks for orchestrations in API-first APIs.

Data and Service Connectors [Must Have]

Enterprise APIs are progressively getting more complex and are often composed of calls to other internal/external APIs.  Review the list of connectors supported out of the box and see if it contains most, if not all, of the connectors needed by your development team (including SaaS connectors).
Related feature – Does the API creation tool come with an SDK to create custom connectors to internal/external APIs? [Extra Credit]

API Orchestration [Must Have]

API-First APIs generally use the composition pattern to implement business logic by using existing internal/external APIs and additional utility code blocks.  API creation tools come with varying degree of API orchestration capabilities such as a drag and drop editor, extensibility of widget library via an SDK [Extra Credit], and ability to support serial as well as fan-in/fan-out execution paths for lower latency and optimized mobile APIs .

API Testing [Must Have]

What kind of API testing capabilities does the API creation tool offer for API developers to test various API endpoints?  API creation tools differ in their capabilities to allow developers to verify the working of their APIs with some providing auto-generation of sample request payloads, fine-grained logs viewer to identify performance bottlenecks, etc.

Modern Software Stack [Good to Have]

Look for an API creation tool that uses a modern, JavaScript based, developer friendly stack such as Node.js that makes it easier to find and train developers with these skills as well as leverage the vast ecosystem of modules/add-ons available from the wider developer community.

API Mocking [Nice to Have]

Does the API creation tool allow developers to rapidly generate mock APIs that can be published for API consumers to connect to while allowing API developers to focus on implementing the business logic in parallel?  While not absolutely needed, this feature can shorten the time-to-market for the APIs.

Client SDK Generator [Nice to Have]

Does the API creation tool allow generator of client-side code for mobile/web apps to invoke the APIs? Again, this feature allows API consumers to rapidly develop against your APIs in a self-service manner.

I would love to hear back how your teams are evaluating API creation tools and if there are features that I left out from this list.