When you develop APIs, you need an infrastructure that supports them. In a nutshell, that’s the answer to “What is API management?” It’s the systematic approach you take to designing, discovering, securing, monitoring, and driving the consumption of APIs.
Considering the diversity of the API landscape, APIs can be complex to manage. The goal of API management — and especially universal API management — is to streamline API development and use. That way, you can get your business capabilities to market faster.
Before diving into the benefits of a universal API management solution, we’ll look at some of the core components and features of API management.
At the very minimum, an API management solution typically includes the following:
Think of an API gateway as an orchestration and governance layer between an API provider and an API consumer.
The gateway acts as a protector for the valuable information exposed via APIs and ensures their reliable performance. Gateways are often policy enforcers, performing tasks such as throttling, security, data transformation, etc.
As a single entryway for clients using APIs, an API gateway lays the foundation for a uniform user experience.
Build and publishing tools
OpenAPI specification (OAS) is a standardized way to define and document REST APIs. This widely adopted standard makes it easier for developers to understand and work with APIs.
Using tools like Stoplight and SwaggerHub, you can produce API contracts that align with the OAS specification. These contracts are the formal agreements between an API provider and an API consumer.
When developing this contract, it’s imperative to understand who the consumer is. Catering to the needs of application developers helps support higher API adoption rates.
Publishing APIs in a marketplace, which acts as a curated shopfront for your catalog of digital assets makes them more easily available for developers – both internal and external – to consume.
APIs are an essential aspect of digital transformation. However, the value of APIs is only realized when they are adopted. To stay competitive and drive growth, API providers must create a compelling experience for the developer community.
A developer portal allows developers to easily discover and understand how to use a published API. Layering an API marketplace over this portal emphasizes the potential for API reuse and a higher return.
The marketplace should also give developers a way to share feedback. This feedback loop supports identifying areas for improvement and ensuring the reliability of APIs.
Creating and publishing APIs for internal and external consumption is important. Yet, you’re missing critical information if you’re not monitoring API usage.
Through reporting analytics, API product managers can reassess the performance of APIs. With real-time monitoring, you might uncover that an error continuously occurs when API calls are made. You can act quickly to reduce any negative impact on your credibility and revenue.
Alongside modifying APIs, you might discover some APIs with reliable performance that go unused. In this case, the best solution might be removing these APIs. Doing so helps reduce unnecessary maintenance and security risks.
The idea of API monetization is picking up speed fast. You have direct monetization, where you charge for API access, or indirect monetization, where you link APIs to the value a business is experiencing.
When exposed to an external audience for consumption, APIs must be appropriately curated and packaged. That way, you can start to see value from them faster.
You also need a way to track API usage as a scorecard. When you can show who’s using your APIs and how they’re using them, you can better demonstrate the value of your API investments to stakeholders.
The power of universal API management
Too often, APIs are built in silos. As the API landscape becomes more complex, an ad-hoc approach to bringing structure to APIs becomes less feasible. It increases the likelihood of unsecured APIs, which poses big risks.
Amplify Enterprise Marketplace is built on a foundation of universal API management. You can automatically discover all your APIs, quickly secure them with built-in policies, and publish them to a branded storefront for use.
You’ll have all the API management features you need and a partner to help you strategize every step of the way.
Learn how to leverage your APIs through a turnkey marketplace.