Comprehensive Guide To API Life Cycle Management

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9 Min Read

The full lifecycle API management is the lifespan of an API that starts with planning and ends when an API is retired. The life cycle of an API helps in providing your platform digital strategy, run an effective API program and build platforms. Creating a well-executed API can be crucial for digital transformation and it helps to provide a profitable outcome for your organization. You can start with ideation and end with monetizing that idea. Hence, it is critical that you should have a well-defined plan that will make the process seamless and help you to identify potential roadblocks. In our previous blog about Mulesoft Integration, we spoke about business integration and why do you need MuleSoft? In this blog, we will understand the lifecycle of an API. 

Here are the 5 key stages for the API lifecycle for our API integration services:

Plan

The purpose of API is determined and the user interaction is taken into account. In this phase, it is also important to discuss security, authentication and roles. Besides this, other important aspects may include volume and execution strategy. You can have your business team members identify the services and capabilities an API should explore. Additionally, documenting specific business needs and refining the initial API goals which turns them into a comprehensive set of functional and nonfunctional requirements.


The API manager i.e. a persona which can be represented by people with designations. This can include API product manager or API architect. These team-members prepare a holistic plan to expose your enterprise’s digital assets using APIs. You can start with ideation, including identifying the list of APIs, design (parameters and types), visibility scope, and more. Therefore, the API manager also ensures that the documentation of the API is comprehensive. It is crucial to note that an API documentation is one of the tasks that should be done with utmost clarity or else it can potentially derail the further processes. Currently most of the matured API development platforms support API documentation based on YAML or Open API Specification.

Just like any other program, the APIs also begin with the planning stage. You can define your goals that you are wishing to achieve with this API. You should also look to specify the markets/industries you need to address, taking in account the resources you have. As for the time frame, set it accordingly on the basis of your goals. This is a critical step to insure that you are directing your efforts in the right place.

The API planning includes mapping various resources and operations. Be mindful of the business case scenarios before the API is fully implemented. With many dependent digital strategies relying on APIs, the implementation requires a solid design, which leads us to the next phase of the API life cycle, Design and Development. 

Design

The second step, the design and development phase will ensure that your organization uses a contract-first approach. This phase entails recording feedback early, deconstructing the dependencies between projects, and minimizing risks. A contract-first approach is also known for reducing the go-to-time to market. In this phase, you design the contract of your API and share it with your potential clients. The results of this phase is an API contract that details the messages that can be exchanged within your APIs. The actual API can be developed using either an integration framework or using the development language of your choice. The use of an integration framework should be a key part of your APIs’ lifecycle to promote reuse and other value additions. It also helps you to modernize and reinvent the existing parts of your information system. Your usual agile development practices can be applied here.


The APIs can be written in multiple programming languages like PHP, Python, Ruby, .NET, C#, Java and Perl. The second step, the design and development phase will ensure that your organization uses a contract-first approach. This phase entails recording feedback early, deconstructing the dependencies between projects, and minimizing risks. 

API development can be accomplished with a single developer, but it is often handled by a separate, dedicated API development team. A team approach allows the developers to access, build, and maintain the company's API portfolio in a controlled environment. Additionally, with many developers onboard, it becomes easier to create the documentation, test cases and even some of the marketing materials that would be required to make public APIs successful for your enterprise. Since this will be a team effort, you will need multiple developers to cooperatively access and maintain their APIs. The entire API team should be responsible to interact with API code, documentation and test files.

Deploy

After the design phase, deployment of the APIs is the next step. The information regarding the API, such as documentation, tags and external documents, is then transferred to the API catalog. The policies for mediation, traffic management and security should also be defined. Subsequently, the time and visibility of the API is controlled by the line of business. Additional meta information is outlined from the API and reports are generated regarding API monetization and business value.

In the Deployment phase, you have to ensure that you have a continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI or CD) pipeline that automates the delivery of your APIs to the production environment. The CI or CD pipeline reuses the tests that you defined earlier to ensure the APIs to be deployed do not violate your specifications. Those integration tests are automated as part of the pipeline. The automated integration tests should be suited for backward compatibility of your APIs.

In conclusion, APIs, must satisfy a use case for any end consumer, be it your own internal developer team, a client, or the public. Deployment of the API to a secure environment for facilitating easy discovery and consumption is essential for the success of your API strategy line transactions through SAP integration.

Test

After deployment comes testing. The developers should thoroughly test each iteration of the APIs for functionality, performance & user acceptance. Testers can try to loop unsatisfactory results back to developers to further build and refining of the API code. There are different types of testing:

Functional testing:
It validates that every feature or function operates as it was intended.

Performance testing
It evaluates how the API performs under load as many APIs are subject to erratic traffic and unpredictable load conditions.

Acceptance testing
It tracks the API's use and gauges whether it achieves its intended business purpose or not. It can also reveal if any new requirements that can possibly arise from a change in the business process or the API itself.

APIs should get the same amount of attention as your other apps. This means that the APIs should be thoroughly tested and monitored for performance issues and more. Every API should be tested to ensure that it delivers what is expected of it.

Feedback

After you have successfully released your first version, you are expected to prepare the next version and the one after that. This requires you to get regular feedback to know what to improve next and which areas you should focus on. This is called the monitor phase.

In order to get accurate data in your feedback loop, you will have to monitor various aspects of your APIs regularly. This ranges from developer engagement to API health, usage, and more. Monitoring is a huge part of this retirement process and as important as the previous phases, especially when it comes to tracing the age and history of an API.

Parting thoughts:

If you are looking for an API expert to help you with setup, planning or any phase of the API life cycle and API Integration services, contact us for more information. Our exports are looking forward to help you with your specific requirements. To get in touch, visit our CONTACT US page. 

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