Differences between an API Portal and a Unified Catalog

Differences between an API Portal and a Unified Catalog

As companies are maturing, they’re looking for new ways of shaping their digital transformation. But they soon realize that having just an API Portal for driving adoption as a core technology for integration might not be enough. As a result, they need to implement a Unified Catalog.

You might wonder, is the Unified Catalog the next-gen of API Portal? Or is an API Portal the same as a Unified Catalog?

Before we answer these questions, let’s look at their definition and the purpose they serve.

What is an API Portal?

In the past several years, API Portals have been a staple for the API Economy. They aim to bridge the gap between API consumers and API providers.

Reusability and adoption are the main driving forces, so the API Portal serves as a platform for providers to publish and promote their APIs for consumption. Consumers may come to developer portals to find, discover and explore APIs.

What does an API Portal do?

Think about the API Portal as the shop window into your business. The goal is simple: to provide access to a searchable catalog of APIs, and make it easy for developers to find and consume the APIs.

With an API Portal, consumers can:

  • register applications
  • explore the API documentation
  • provide feedback and engage with the community of developers.

What is a Unified Catalog?

With the explosion of APIs and microservices, companies are now struggling to get an accurate view of all their existing APIs and measure the success of their digital innovation.

APIs and services are managed usually by different teams, departments and regions, so you can end up with services all over the place, in different runtime environments. Usually, customers end up with duplicate services or services that do the same thing, but they are not even aware of this redundancy. This is where a Unified Catalog comes in.

Why is a Unified Catalog important?

The beauty of the Unified Catalog is that it helps you address this struggle. By normalizing the discovery of the APIs, you can get a common view across all APIs, regardless of where they are being deployed and running. The Unified Catalog will become a central place for discovery, the single source of truth.

Various industries are adopting a hybrid integration platform to facilitate data integration in different integration domains, such as B2Bi integration, application integration and connect different types of endpoints. As a result, a Unified Catalog becomes critical. Having a Unified Catalog is more than just having a big list of APIs.

Alongside APIs, you can represent these endpoints in the Unified Catalog to have visibility of all your endpoints and services in one single place.

Related: API Catalog vs. API Marketplace: Finding the Digital Balance

API Portal and Unified Catalog differences

As the name implies, the API Portal is API-centric. The Unified Catalog could be described as a “library” of sorts, ranging from APIs to microservices to traditional MFT flows.

An API Portal is developer-centric and often plays a key role in the consume phase of the API Lifecycle Management.  An API Catalog is an API Portal that contains all the APIs that are available for consumption.

While an API Portal is developer-centric, the Unified Catalog supports multiple types of audiences, from digital strategists to service providers. It looks to innovate and unlock the new value of their business, to consumers, both internal and external, and to do further innovation and build new digital products.

Discover tips for selecting the right API Portal.

Are you using a Unified Catalog? Let us know in the comments below!