what is api management
API management

We all know API integrations can get chaotic. And as apps get more complex, businesses need to have a comprehensive view of their API integrations. In this article, we'll show you how an evolved API management tool can reduce go-live time drastically, and let you design, develop, and deploy your APIs without any hassle.

The internet and its seamless flow of data have helped bring the wonders of the Internet of Things (IoT) to not just our personal gadgets and home appliances but to bigger, industry-specific equipment and devices, as well. Big Data then helps to manage the mammoth volumes of information that come with the extensive use of IoT devices.

Have you ever wondered how Netflix is able to serve its hundreds of millions of subscribers, deftly catering to their personal preferences in a way that keeps them coming back for more? Well, that's all Big Data at play. And connecting all this together are application programming interfaces (API).

In a heavily competitive world, companies need to deploy sleek, user-friendly applications quickly. Eliminating the need to build them from scratch, APIs and low-code platforms shrink development time drastically.

Easing app development with low-code and APIs

Today, you don't have to be a hardcore programmer to build applications, thanks to low-code platforms that boast plenty of drag-and-drop features. These visual representations of code enable even beginners to build top-notch apps, and their capabilities and functionalities can be further enhanced by simply integrating prebuilt external or third-party APIs.

So, what is an API? Quite simply, it's code that enables two applications to communicate with each other. By integrating existing APIs into your application you can open the door to endless enhancements. It should also be pointed out that APIs and low-code platforms go hand-in-hand, as they can both be objectively used for the same purpose of expediting app deployment. With the right tool, integrating and managing APIs is just as simple as developing the app using a low-code platform. But if the application is complex, more APIs are needed to keep sense of it all.

Enter API management, the all-in-one solution to design, publish, monitor, analyze, and manage APIs. It's a simple process that allows developers and business heads to collectively observe and control APIs. By 2023, MarketsandMarkets expects the API management market to grow to $5.1 billion. Organizations across the world are expected to use an API management system to minimize their time and effort in building and modifying enterprise and consumer applications.

Why do companies need API management?

Without a tool to manage the various API integrations, developers will, over time, lose track of a complex system. Therefore, it's important to use a robust API management tool to centralize control over in-house or third-party APIs. This provides a 360-degree, bird’s-eye view of all your integrations.

Moreover, there's a constant need to monitor and ensure that APIs are performing with perfect synchronization for a smooth user experience. As any changes made to the API affects the functionality of the application, it's convenient to have an API management tool that sends timely notifications of said changes to relevant stakeholders.

Change is an inevitable part of progress, and with change comes a need to rapidly modify or scale up existing applications and platforms. An API management tool helps ease the process of developing and deploying complex applications. It automatically presents, in an understandable format, any data that APIs gather that could help decision-makers within the organization understand customer behavior.

Components of API management

So what makes up an API management tool? It typically consists of the following components:

  • Gateway

An API gateway is the interface between the client and backend services. When an API is called, the gateway aggregates multiple results to determine the best path and directs the API call to the relevant microservice.

  • Developer portal

The API developer portal is like a menu card, but with more in-depth information about the published API and all the relevant documentation. It's a self-service portal for internal and third-party developers.

  • Lifestyle management

When building APIs, it's best to have a tool to manage every step of the process. API lifecycle management involves monitoring and managing each step of an API, starting from the moment an API is created/onboarded, through deployment, and all the way to retirement.

As with any software development life cycle, API lifecycle management tools handle steps like planning and design, development, testing, deployment, and retirement. Yes, you read that right. When APIs are no longer useful or their functionalities have worn out, they're retired!

Remember when tech giants, such as Google, Netflix, and ESPN, tanked their public APIs, causing turmoil in the developer world? Removing a deprecated API is an oft-forgotten, but important, step for developers. Not removing it can lead to severe impediments in operations. An API management tool neatly bridges this gap, saving the company from the consequences of a developer’s poor memory!

  • Analytics

The cool thing about API analytics is that, apart from performance and uptime, customer and product-related analytics, such as engagement time and conversion rates, can also be tracked and used to improve user experience and customer engagement.

A trustworthy and user-friendly API management tool is crucial to managing APIs, and it provides developers with all the required processes to create, monitor, document, and publish APIs. Zoho Creator empowers you with complete control to build and connect your system to the applications of your choice, without a hassle. Be it starting from scratch or migrating from a legacy system, Zoho Creator has simplified the transition for millions of users. Talk to us to know more.

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