In an era where digital transformation is the norm, most people expect all online services to be quick, reliable, and efficient. However, these services require external data and cooperation from other services to provide a quality customer experience, which offers the organization a competitive advantage.
Therefore, to ensure that the said organizations keep on delivering quality services, it requires combining the data and capabilities of multiple systems hence the need for API (application programming interfaces). APIs are pathways that allow software applications to communicate with each other. But since different services require different resources, you’ll find that you’ve got multiple APIs within your system hence the need for API management to help govern these delicate API ecosystems.
Therefore, this post is designed to help you have a deeper understanding of how you can unlock the power of API management and of developer portals, but first, you must learn what API Management and Developer Portals are and how they work.
What Is API Management?
API management refers to creating, publishing, monitoring, administering, and analyzing the APIs. API management is usually performed with an API management tool that offers an API management platform that grants you total control over your API ecosystem. Also, an API management tool presents you with new insights into the inner workings of your API ecosystem through digital experiences that allow you to manipulate them to suit your needs.
An excellent example of an API management tool is IBM API Connect. IBM API Concept is an API management tool that offers you or your organization a secure API management solution that’s designed to utilize an intuitive experience to help you constantly create, manage, secure, monetize and socialize your API.it also helps power your digital transformation across clouds and premises. But to achieve all this, API management tools boast various components such as:
- API gateway
- Management plan
- API developer portal
API Management Components
For API consumers to interact with the APIs, they require an interface which is what the management plane offers. API providers create digital experiences and new opportunities for API management. To interact with the management plane, you can use Azure tools, the client’s SDK, or a Visual Studio extension. With the management plane, API consumers are capable of performing the following functions:
- Manage users by creating a usage plan to control them or through rate limiting
- Create policies on the APIs, like when to impose a security freeze
- Provision and configuration of the API management service setting
- Get new insights from analytics that will enable you to make smarter decisions
- Package APIs into products
- Import and define API schemas from a variety of sources
API gateways act as the security gate since they first receive a client’s requests and then forward them to the designated backend services. The API gateway is usually responsible for cashing, observability, routing, and throttling. Also, it’s vital that you remember an API gateway is different from an API service mesh. Other functions of gateways are:
- API key verification
- Enforcing rate limits and usage plan
- Transforming requests and responses
- Configuration of cache responses to reduce the load on backend services and improve response latency
Most API developer portals are open source, so they are automatically generated and fully customized depending on your API documentation, often using the API-first operating model. An example of an API developer portal is Gravitee developer portal or Help scout. With an API portal, you can:
- Download API definitions such as the Equifax credit report
- Read the API documentation
- Communicate with an API using the interactive console
- Manage the different API keys
- Access analytics for your own usage
- Start and subscribe to an account to qualify for an API key
How To Unlock the Power of API Management
After learning all about API management, here are the criteria your API management tool should meet to unlock its power:
- Quality – ensure all the data used is complete and in a usable format to ensure that the APIs deliver the requested data
- Agility – the management tool should be flexible to allow the API to handle more than one request at a time without lowering the performance rate
- Dependability – the tools should be dependable above all else
- Speed- the API management tool should be fast and efficient to ensure that the APIs are reliable and quick in delivering on the requests
- Cost- the management tool should b cost-effective so as to reduce the costs of managing the APIs