Application programming interfaces (APIs) run quietly in the background of our lives. From shipping logistics to payments, there are thousands of APIs on the web, creating a multi-billion dollar API marketplace.
According to the State of APIs survey, 62.6% of developers will rely on APIs more in 2022 than in the previous year, and APIs will continue to reinvent various industries to power innovative customer experiences.
APIs allow businesses to collect valuable data so they can understand how consumers interact with brands and develop effective strategies to gain a competitive advantage. . It’s also vital for your business as it drives digital transformation and application modernization.
However, as more companies seek to deliver a great experience to their end users and release new features and updates, we are getting more complex and distributed API architectures. Therefore, organizations need to ensure that API-powered applications run smoothly. Here are the key elements that every API-driven business should focus on:
API program visibility to overcome sprawl
The governing rule in the API world, “You can’t manage what you can’t see” explains why documenting and cataloging your API is the first step to making sure it works. increase.
APIs have been built over the years by different teams leveraging different technologies, some of which have been rebuilt as new microservices. Organizations are getting to the point where they don’t know the number of API services, versions, deployment locations, and access points.
I realize this is not unique to large organizations. Even small businesses and startups will spin APIs specific to each project to meet growing customer expectations and speed time to market. This causes API sprawl.
For example, a neo-bank can start operating with 30 APIs. As your organization grows, the number of APIs can continue to grow. Hundreds of APIs and different versions can be difficult to work with if the bank doesn’t document them. The team has good visibility into all APIs, but at an organizational level, the bank has less visibility.
While there is no way to manually document and keep APIs up to date, organizations can leverage next-gen tools to automatically generate interactive and dynamic API documentation.
API observability is about discovering the unknown
Note that API monitoring and observability are not the same. Traditional API monitoring is an effective way to stay on top of performance, latency, and uptime. Monitoring allows companies to test the behavior of their APIs, but they cannot know exactly what is causing the problem.
API observability enables enterprises to analyze API systems, troubleshoot problems, understand API usage, and identify behaviors and patterns. In a hybrid/multi-cloud world, the complexity of how APIs are built and how they interact with each other makes it difficult to see the full picture of the situation and its problems. But there are ways to improve API observability.
- API performance management helps companies discover the root causes of problems in their applications by observing MELT (metrics, events, logs and traces).
- API functional test automation helps model basic information extracted from the entire application. Communicate this data in a more structured way to help organizations understand why a particular microservice uses a particular API to communicate.
API governance ensures proper standardization
API governance is essential for companies and service distributors undergoing digital transformation, or looking to expand their operations.
Good governance standardization includes designing APIs based on a common data model of authorized resources. Our goal is to reduce complexity and increase reusability and resilience by building APIs to standards that users, product managers, and enterprise partners are familiar with.
This familiarity means that everyone across the organization is likely to know what to expect, creating consistency in problem solving and helping save time and money. When employees need to move between projects and roles, API consistency makes migration much easier, reducing the risk of downtime and error codes.
Good governance requires a holistic management approach that enriches APIs with the critical metadata necessary to enable them to be consumed and consumed at all stages of their lifecycle (seeAlso read: How to Build an API: 6 Steps to Success).
API compliance is for reliability
API compliance means that the API follows the design specifications, rules, and regulations set by the organization. Ensure API consistency and reliability to prevent sensitive data from being mishandled, misused, or lost.
One of the challenges organizations face is identifying which applications are using shadow, rogue, or zombie APIs. How does this relate to API compliance? Because these APIs may or may not be designed to comply with your organization’s policies.
Lack of API visibility makes it difficult for companies to ensure that APIs are compliant with future organizational policy upgrades. As a result, shadow, rogue, or zombie APIs pose security risks that lead to non-compliance.
Additionally, these APIs consume an organization’s IT infrastructure, leading to higher costs. Companies need to make sure they aren’t using invisible or outdated APIs.
There are now tools that can automate the creation of design specs or openAPI specs (OAS) from API collections and solve shadow or zombie API issues. This process also helps identify all API owners who can be contacted to determine if a particular API should be retained, upgraded, or depreciated (Also read: Open APIs: The Future of Application Programming Interfaces).
APIs allow organizations to access data from a variety of applications to make the user experience more personalized. However, they have a complex structure. Improving observability, governance, and compliance is key to healthy API integration and a thriving business.