API Management

An API has a lifecycle. APIs usually start with a design phase in which the contract of the interface is defined. After this, there is an implementation phase involving the building and testing of the API. The third phase is the API management phase. It starts when the API is deployed or published to an environment where it can be discovered and consumed. This phase involves monitoring, securing, versioning and supporting the API. Supporting the API here involves not just issue management but also change notification. The management phase also involves retiring the API.

API Management consists of the tools and services that enable organizations create, operate, analyze and scale APIs. Organizations may chose to build their own, or use third party platforms for this.

API Management Platforms usually provide :

  1. API Gateway Services: This usually involves a proxy allowing users create new API interfaces for backend systems. Apart from interface translation, they allow users add security, traffic management, orchestration and routing capabilities.
  2. Analytics Services: This provides business metrics, operational metrics, developer engagement metrics and API performance metrics.
  3. Developer Portals: Tools for building sites that hold API documentation, help onboard developers, build and manage developer communities and may include monetization features.

“Today’s full life cycle API management involves:

– The planning, design, implementation, testing, publication, operation, consumption, maintenance, versioning and retirement of APIs

– Delivery of a developer portal through which to target, market to and govern communities of developers who embed APIs

– Runtime management

– Estimation of APIs’ value

– The use of analytics to understand patterns of API usage

Basic API management involves the use of an API gateway, and in most cases an API developer portal. Full life cycle API management, as defined above, adds to it considerably.“

Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Full Life Cycle API Management 2019 :

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