Any medium's growth depends on its seamless coordination and communication. Whether analog or digital, a process can only flourish if there are strong connections between all mediums.
When it comes to easing communication with various software applications, APIs are at the forefront, as they're useful tools for ensuring their digital operations are trouble-free, including web development.
In this blog, let us tell you how to choose an API service management solution. Before that, let us look into what APIs are and the advantages of APIs in web development.
What are APIs?
APIs, or application programming interfaces, refer to digital interfaces that act as information gateways and define interactions with various software intermediaries. In other words, they're computing interfaces that enable different software solutions to communicate data with each other.
Importance of web APIs
Web APIs refer to sets of functions online that allow developers to utilize data and incorporate them into websites or applications, making it more convenient for the digital community to use various mediums easily. Although various application programming interfaces exist, the most common are related to music, shopping, social networking, and mapping.
An excellent example of an API is Google or YouTube's sign-in feature. API development makes it possible to log into various websites using these accounts, saving users time inputting their credentials repeatedly because they've already done it.
Advantages of API in web development
Application programming interfaces are beneficial to both end-users and web developers alike. Their value depends on their utilization; no matter the purpose, integrating API can be useful. Here are some of the advantages of web development:
Saves money and time
One of the reasons for the popularity of API integration among developers is that it's a relatively easy process and doesn't require specialized expertise or deep knowledge.
Moreover, web developers don't necessarily have to make a fresh start to create functionalities because they're already readily available and free. Beyond speeding up the time frame of web development, it also lowers costs.
Better user experience
One of the goals of web development is to provide a better experience for the end-user, and APIs can go a long way in helping them achieve this goal. The previously mentioned sign-in feature is one such example, where users are automatically signed into any linked accounts so long as they're logged into Google and do away with the hassle of having to log into each website separately.
Leverage data's potential
Data is arguably the most vital digital asset for businesses today, as it provides organizations with valuable insight that can help them flourish and thrive. To maximize its use, API can connect it with existing operational systems to set strategic goals.
In addition, it can process data and transform it into actionable information to identify new opportunities, analyze KPIs, and monitor resources, to name a few.
How to choose an API service management solution?
Now that you have an idea of what APIs are and how you can benefit from their use, there are a few factors you need to consider carefully when it comes to selecting an API service management solution.
These factors include ease, scale, security, flexibility, and breadth of use. Without considering these factors, the chosen solution is unlikely to achieve the intended outcome and may cost you more time and resources than you initially expected. With that said, let's look into how each one impacts your decision.
Before that, if you are a HubSpot user, check out this blog on how to use HubSpot contact API to manage your contact data.
Ease of utilization
On the face of it, ease of utilization may appear like the simplicity and straightforwardness in getting everything running as intended, which is undoubtedly important. However, various issues are also connected to this particular factor.
For example, it's much easier for developers to leverage the power of the selected application programming interfaces—to understand, discover, and maximize their use. For these reasons, it's worth checking whether or not the solution will integrate easily into the existing infrastructure, provide connectivity between all data sets, and perform its functions without too much trouble. Doing so will allow you to choose the ideal solution.
Another essential factor for many organizations across different industries is the scalability of the solution has several issues that need to be carefully examined. To cite an example, it might mean the management solution's capacity to accommodate high-volume transactions not only in a single platform but across all, be it on-premises, containers, or SaaS.
Moreover, the right tools need to be available so that specific application programming interfaces can scale properly based on the ideal priority, including routing, prioritization, and throttling. To ensure the success of any infrastructure, the APIs need to be evolvable and scalable to develop and grow based on the organization's needs and quickly adapt to any requirement changes over time. It isn't only about scaling to maximum capacity but rather right-sizing the infrastructure and interfaces and keeping the necessary flexibility to support ever-changing technical needs.
An excellent example of flexibility scaling is an online retailer's ability to scale servers dynamically down or up depending on the level of activity instead of using standing equipment that's idle most of the time.
When it comes to API integration, few things are more important than security, and many issues tie into it. For starters, look into whether or not the API solutions offer robust single-sign-on or SSO capabilities that can be integrated into the access or identity management system. Ask if the policies available can keep your infrastructure protected from web-based threats, mandate SSL, disable the login functionality without a virtual private network or VPN, and ensure protection against many other vulnerabilities.
Some of the questions you must consider are if social login is available and what certifications are available for biometrics. Before, regulated sectors needed proof of their security level—FIPS 140-2, or PSD2 compliance.
But with the GDPR act, businesses will have to adhere to stricter levels of data security. Organizations in both the private and public sectors that handle personal data will have to evaluate their data management and lifecycle practices to ensure that the technologies that are put in place are compliant.
Another factor that you should take into account when deciding on an API service management solution is flexibility. Deployment flexibility—SaaS, on-premise, or combination or hybrid environment—is an area that should be evaluated based on the requirements of your enterprise.
The greater the adaptability of the solution, the more effective it'll be in achieving the purpose for which it's designed. The form factor is one other consideration – are you looking to get your solution on virtual appliances, in containers, or as software?
Flexibility can also be broken down into a couple of modules: design time and runtime. The latter refers to API services and data like composition and transformation, traffic control, routing, security management, policy enhancement, attack prevention, and performance and health of the API. Most of the grunt work falls into this category.
On the other hand, the former maintains and introduces the relationship with the app developers, offering essential tools to consume the API—samples, tutorials, code generation, and documentation. Latency generally has a minimal bearing. While uptime is integral, design time isn't a mission-critical priority.
With APIs, businesses are able to better harness data's true power. They enable seamless connections between various ecosystems, allowing companies to make smart and secure decisions toward innovation and progress. They're the assurance or guarantee of a business that's future-proof; with API development's versatility, organizations can transform digital and reach their goals effectively.