Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are extremely helpful tools that companies frequently use to provide more efficient services and better their internal processes. Essentially, APIs are intermediary software interfaces that allow different applications to connect with each other.
However, the more APIs are utilized, the greater the need is for their management. Today, many companies employ API management solutions to ensure the proper creation and eventual performance of their APIs in a controlled environment.
Table of Contents
- What Is an API Management System?
- What Is the API Lifecycle Management?
- Who Manages the API Lifecycle?
What Is an API Management System?
An API management solution is a process that fully controls the establishment and execution of different APIs through various stages. API management contributes to the adaptability of a business to new company needs or market trends by adjusting the API specifications.
These platforms benefit the development process of a business by boosting it when needed, ensuring the upkeep of safety standards, the meeting of customer needs, and the reaching of performance goals.
Since these management tools control APIs in every stage of their existence, they also determine their efficiency by collecting data and continuously performing tests. Because an API goes through several different phases, from creation to retirement, this is called an API lifecycle.
An API lifecycle management is the management of an API through its entire lifespan. These management solutions essentially direct every single step APIs go through in their whole lifecycle. An API lifecycle includes three distinct stages: creation, control, and consumption.
In the creation phase, the API is designed, and its parameters are established. During this period, the task at hand is to build the API as you want so it can perform as you envisioned. Specify the data you want to be included, model the API’s processes, and finalize the formatting.
However, make sure to have a proper strategy first so the building process will be faster, and your API will be more efficient. The better the plan you have in place, the more successful your API will be.
Then, you need to test the efficiency of the API based on the already set parameters. Does it deliver the required results? How functional is it? What is its performance based on your expectations?
Allow feedback in your testing as you can use the data to improve effectiveness. Once you have thoroughly tested the API, you are ready to implement it.
In this control phase, you should be ready to deploy your API and decide the necessary controls for it. How are you going to manage your API? While you should have established your expectations in the previous phase in terms of security, the control step is where you need to implement the security parameters.
How will you ensure the safety of your API and the data involved? This is an important step since security risks are the most common problem in today’s online world.
You will also have to plan for the unpredictability of traffic flow. Your system should be able to adjust to the traffic without the need for any manual work. These types of automation should be established during this part of the lifecycle.
In the consumption phase, you are finally able to publish your API. However, to benefit from your API, you need to make sure that you market accordingly to the right audiences through the appropriate channels.
You need to decide how your API will be offered to developers. Often, an API developer portal is offered free of charge, but in the case you want to make some extra profit out of your API, this is the phase you will need to pay close attention to.
When providing your API to new developers, you need to also account for onboarding. This is a significant step as your developers will need to be fully capable of using your API. It is your responsibility to make sure they understand your API’s primary capabilities.
While testing is an integral part of the first phase, it does not mean that you should stop examining it after that. When your API is live, you can analyze its performance. Always check for any errors and continue to observe its functionality. If you don’t, it might affect your business.
The developers will be responsible for managing the API. Establishing a plan for the maintenance of the API is crucial as its effectiveness might diminish if it is not kept up to date.
Retirement is the last stage of the lifecycle of an API. There are many reasons why an API might need to be retired, from potential security risks to outdated technology.
Who Manages the API Lifecycle?
As mentioned earlier, APIs have various stages, and every phase or API strategy requires different individuals to complete specific tasks. There may be more than one individual in many stages, each having its own set of responsibilities.
The API product manager is the one at the top of the chain. They oversee every single aspect throughout the entire lifespan of an API. In larger companies, the position of the API manager can be separated and covered by different individuals.
For example, an application network architect or an integration developer would be in charge of implementation, an API analyst would take over processes like DevOps and design, and an API admin would supervise the management aspect of the API.
Lifecycle API management is important to ensure that the API remains functional and keeps bringing results. There are many phases throughout the API lifecycle, and each requires a lot of different tasks.
An API product manager is usually the one that oversees the API through the entire lifespan, but it is also common for larger companies to employ different supervisors for each phase or have multiple individuals in one stage.
In that case, each supervisor is given a specific set of responsibilities and tasks to perform for the Lifecycle API management solution. During the consumption phase, developers will also have to make sure to keep the API platform updated so its efficiency will not diminish over time.