API management is the process of creating, publishing, documenting, and overseeing application program interfaces. In other words, API management allows creators to enforce their usage policies, control access, analyze usage, report performance, etc. API management software is often built in-house or purchased as a service. While they may vary, API management software tools typically provide the following functions:
- Gateway – A server that acts as a API front-end by receiving API requests, enforcing throttling and security policies and passing requests to the back-end server. They can also collect analytic data, provide caching, support authentication, authorization, security, audit and regulatory compliance.
- Publishing Tools: Collection of tools that define APIs
- Developer Portal/API store: A community site that encapsulates the services of an API.
- Reporting/Analytics: Allows developers to monitor API usage.
- Automation – Controlling connections between an API and the applications that use it.
Adding realtime to an API management system can allow API creators to do more if an issue occurs. For instance, if a load becomes too great, realtime integration could allow creators to send instant notifications to a transaction log. It’s possible to combine an API management system with Pushpin, a realtime reverse proxy server. Most API management systems work as proxy servers as well, which means all you need to do is chain the proxies together. Place Pushpin in the front, so that the API management system isn’t subjected to long-lived connections. Also, Pushpin can translate WebSocket protocol to HTTP, allowing the API management system to operate on the translated data.
Citing APIGEE, “API management solutions should provide the visualization tools, dashboards, and reports to help measure a broad spectrum of data that flows across APIs. This information is most useful in today’s dynamic API economy when it is gathered, analyzed, and provided to the business in real time. Beyond simple charts and graphs, both the ops and business teams should be able to gain deep visibility into the performance of the API program.
In other words, a sophisticated API management solution enables business and operational metrics to provide a complete 360-degree view of your API program.”