TechDogs-"Gorge On All There Is To Know About API Management Tools"

Software Development

Gorge On All There Is To Know About API Management Tools

By TechDogs

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Overview

Imagine you walked into a shoe store, one of the fancy ones that only displays one size per model. You like a pair of shoes on display but you notice that it's not of your size. So, you look for the manager in the corner who nods in the direction of the salesperson. You approach the salesperson and request the required model, size and color. The salesperson will go into the secret storage room and either bring the pair you asked for or give you the bad news that it's not available.

This is precisely what an API or Application Programming Interface does as well; if API is not able to fetch what you want, it will return with an error message. As the salesperson, the connection between the customer and the storage, an API connects two computer programs. Cool? However, this article is not about the salesperson (API); it's about the cool manager in the corner, silently managing API, AKA an API Management Tool.

Read on to learn what, why and how of API Management Tools.
TechDogs-The Masterchef To Satiate Your API Cravings!-"Gorge On All There Is To Know About API Management Tools"
You don't know what an Application Programming Interface is (API)? That's cool.

You've never heard of an API?

That's no problem either.

Rest assured, you've benefitted from this technology at least once in your lifetime - the new awesome song you found on Spotify and shared on Instagram? Thanks to APIs. The concert tickets you bought online? Thanks to API. The Airbnb you booked at a ridiculously low price? Yes, once again, all thanks to APIs!

Well, an API is a computing interface that allows different applications to communicate with one another. Didn't understand? Thought so! It's analogy time! Think of API as a waiter in a restaurant, the order is the API call and the food from the kitchen is the response. Mind it, we didn't come up with it but then again, it's a fine analogy to explain API to a layperson.

If we continue with the same analogy, the waiters represent the API and the server's the chef. The diners represent the client. The diners (clients) will place their order with the waiter (API), who in turn will take it to the chef (server). The chef executes the order; the waiter delivers it to the client - everyone is happy. However, who ensures that all the waiters (APIs) first connect with the correct chef (server) and later deliver the correct order to the diners (clients)? That's right; the restaurant manager oversees both the waiters (APIs) and the chefs (servers). The restaurant manager or maybe the head of the waiting staff is your API Management Tool. (The funny thing about food analogies is that you invariably start feeling hungry!)

Now let's dig in (pun intended) into API Management Tools a bit more.


What Is An API Management Tool?

 
Digital transformation has demanded that organizations expose their content or services through APIs. In modern markets, APIs are important as they allow for faster innovation and mainly offer two-fold benefits: Firstly, the company can create products faster and of better quality. Secondly, it creates monetization opportunities by expanding its business presence on more platforms. #CherryOnTheIcing

The primary goal of any API Management Tool is to streamline the processes of distributing, controlling and analyzing APIs. It additionally empowers organizations to build APIs or use API manager to monitor activities, ensure the needs of API developer and applications using the API program are met and adhering to the security standards.

Once APIs have been created and made available to the developers, they need to be managed. API Management Software does just that. Retaking our restaurant example, what would happen if the waiters received orders fast and furiously? It would be overwhelming, right? When this happens, who ensures that things stay in control? The restaurant manager! In this case, the manager is our API Management Tool, ensuring that the entire system is not overwhelmed with requests and that the APIs don't crash.

This kind of awesomeness didn't happen overnight; let's see how the API management solution has evolved over the years.
 

The Birth And Rise Of API Management Tools


Well, it might come as a shocker to you that API technology is older than the concept of personal computing (No kidding!). Thanks to two British computer scientists Wilkes and Wheeler. They invented APIs as early as the 1940s, that's even before the invention of the Internet. However, it was only in the 1970s that the API usage in all types of programming gained popularity beyond application programming. In the early 2000s, modern web API was officially born with Roy Fieldings Architectural Styles and the Design of Network-based Software in 2000.

Salesforce was one of the first companies to introduce web APIs with XML (Extensible Markup Language). Following suit, eBay and Amazon Web Services kicked off the web API movement. When Facebook became popular, it introduced engaging games like FarmVille, Candy Crush and more developed by other companies and deployed on Facebook via APIs. This popularity planted seeds for the development of API Management software. Rest, of course, is history (pun intended!)

Coming back to the present, let's explore the working of API Management Tools.
 

How Do API Management Tools Work?


API Management Tools manage the use of APIs efficiently and securely, ensuring that the system's data can be used by other functions of the organization or even third-party organizations in a streamlined manner. API management platform provides comprehensive governance and lifecycle framework for APIs.

In simpler words, API Management Tools build a central point to create, secure, deploy and operate APIs. Essentially, irrespective of the number of APIs that your business needs to generate, the tool lets you do it without changing different service sites. Once your APIs are deployed, the tool allows you to monitor their performance, manage traffic and control who can access these APIs.
 

What Are The Most Important Elements Of A Good API Management Tools?


Now that you understand how API management software works, your next step must be to understand the important components. While we completely agree that your organization's requirements will determine the tool you choose, we've listed down the must-have features.
 
  • The API Catalog:

    The central component of any API management solution. All APIs that have been created and published can be managed from here. It gives your organization complete visibility.

  • Authentication and API Security:

    End-to-end security with encryptions and third-party authentication reduces the involved security risks.

  • API Gateway:

    API Gateway is the front door for all API traffic, as the name suggests. All the processing policies defined by administrators are enforced here.

  • Developer Portal:

    The centralized point of engagement for the development community using your organization's APIs. One of the main features of the Developer Portal is the API documentation that provides the URLs and gateways for API consumers.

  • Management Portal:

    This is the core pillar of your API management software. It allows administrators to define, deploy and promote APIs through various environments. You can specify the environments such as API development, testing, staging and production.

  • API Analytics:

    With a continuous collection and visualizing of data, API analytics helps your team improve their APIs and apps.


Well, this got a bit technical, didn't it? Don't worry; we make up for it in the following sections: read on.
 

Why Are API Management Tools Important?


TechDogs-"Why Are API Management Tools Important?"-3D Image Of People Choosing Icons For Mobile Applications
Imagine a condensed electrical board with wires coming out from every direction. While you are sure each of them is important, how do you track which outlet is plugged into what device? Confusing right? What if each wire was labeled appropriately; heater, microwave, refrigerator (note to self: eat the chocolate pastry in the fridge), dishwasher, etc. - life would be simple. Same way, API Management Tools help you monitor and track all the APIs. They enable us to manage, secure, mediate, analyze and develop an API program, making it easier for the developers. When we dug deep, we unearthed a lot of benefits of API management platforms and we have listed a few important ones for your perusal:
 
  • Complete API Lifecycle Management:

    Organizations get a unified API platform that tracks each API integration from end to end. This helps in API reusability that ultimately improves project speed.

  • API Security:

    Although necessary for organizations to accelerate their growth by providing an excellent suite of integrated products and services to customers, APIs also run the risk of exposing essential data. With an API Management Tool, this risk is mitigated.

  • Customer Experience:

    By driving the rapid adoption of new applications, APIs help companies keep pace with their customers' ever-changing wants and needs. Imagine if you have to use four different applications to book your travel? A transport booking site, a different site to book your flights, another one to arrange the pick and drop, etc. You probably want to pull your hair out by the time you want to look at the restaurant options. Now, imagine just one app that does everything for you - hotel booking - check, flight booking - check, transportation - check, dining reservations - check. We can see you already smiling. Here, your smile is powered by seamless APIs that work in the background.

  • Scalability:

    The volume of APIs will only keep on exploding and your API Management Tools can help manage them for you.

  • Data-Driven Decision Making:

    Deeper insights into usage patterns, demographics, devices, etc. API Management Tools can boost the overall process of creating business strategies.


The need for API Management Tools will only grow in the coming future. Here's how the face of API Management would change going forward.
 

The Future Of API Management


API Management Tools will probably see deeper integrations of all tools across the entire API lifecycle. This will tremendously improve the delivery of APIs that meet the consumer's needs. API Management Tools will provide an integrated approach to make it easier for the developers to design, develop and deploy APIs in an automated manner. This will ultimately lead to automated DevOps of APIs in the future. Legacy API management solution will have to adapt to a more agile and scalable approach to keep up with the data volumes generated in the future.
 

Conclusion


APIs are awesome and exciting! Their sheer ability to make applications talk among themselves and exchange real-time data cloud is phenomenal and opens up endless possibilities. This means that API Management Tools will be powerful and more robust than ever as we are heading rapidly towards Industry 5.0. Uber has revolutionized the transport business by leveraging Google Maps and humans are already preparing to take the journey to Mars. Who knows, we might end up booking a spacecraft seat in the future for traveling between planets!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an API Management Tool?


An API Management Tool is a software solution designed to streamline the processes of distributing, controlling, and analyzing Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). In the context of modern markets, where APIs play a crucial role in facilitating faster innovation and creating monetization opportunities, API Management Tools are essential. These tools empower organizations to build, deploy, and monitor APIs efficiently, ensuring that the needs of API developers and applications are met while adhering to security standards. Just like a restaurant manager oversees the coordination between waiters and chefs to ensure smooth service, an API Management Tool orchestrates the interactions between APIs and servers to maintain control and prevent overwhelming requests.

How do API Management Tools work?


API Management Tools efficiently and securely manage the use of APIs within an organization or between different organizations. These tools provide a centralized platform for creating, securing, deploying, and operating APIs, regardless of their number or complexity. By serving as a central point of control, API Management Tools enable administrators to monitor API performance, manage traffic, and control access to APIs. They ensure that APIs can be used by various functions of the organization or even by third-party organizations in a streamlined manner, contributing to improved governance and lifecycle management of APIs.

Why are API Management Tools important?


API Management Tools play a crucial role in simplifying API management and maximizing the benefits of API usage. By offering features such as complete API lifecycle management, end-to-end security, and enhanced customer experience, these tools help organizations accelerate their digital transformation initiatives. API Management Tools enable organizations to track and manage APIs effectively, mitigate security risks, enhance scalability, and make data-driven decisions based on insights into API usage patterns. As the volume of APIs continues to grow, the importance of API Management Tools in ensuring seamless integration and efficient API governance will only increase in the future.

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API Management ToolsAPI Management Software API Management Tool API Management Platforms API Management Solutions API Management RESTful API Developer Portals API Gateway

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