November 12, 2012

Covering All Your API Bases in the New Year

 

It has been a busy year for API Management with lots of new players and new types of API products. What does it mean for APIs going into 2013? 

As a larger cross-section of businesses see the value of APIs, API management platforms will become even more important. Imperative to any API Management effort are five areas: design, documentation, analytics, access and uptime.

Design:  It is important to make your API available to partners and developers. Make sure to develop policies for usage and security and give selective or limited access to your services and data. Make sure your design is for everyone. “Enterprise API Management must include the entire Enterprise, not just the techies in IT,” said Mashery CEO Oren Michels to Tech Crunch regarding API Management.

Documentation: Let your API do the work for you.  Offer accessible documentation and tools to make it easy for developers to communicate and manage applications.  Include your developer community in the infrastructure of your API. A good example of this is USA TODAY’s I/O docs which allows developers to evaluate their content APIs quickly, so they can get coding and working with your API.

Analytics: You want to keep an eye on supporting and encouraging effective use of the statistics associated with the use of your API, while limiting uses that oppose your goals, Michels said.  For example, Edmunds uses reporting and analytics from their API to deepen their engagement with developers.  They look at usage spikes by developers and reach out to them in an effort to evolve their product.

Universal Access: It’s crucial to the success of your API management platform to offer support and access to your architecture. A good example is Personal, which offers a sandbox version of their API with dummy data. This allows developers to play around and get familiar with their API.  If developers find they want to take it a step further, they can submit an app built using the API and Personal will release the actual data.

Uptime: Uptime is the amount of time your system is up and running and not down or crashing. Consider the following example: Black Friday is just around the corner, and Best Buy, with all of its online purchases, will want to make sure they are at 100% uptime.  However, despite our best efforts, problems happen. You want to have something in place that can handle   temporary outages and failures.  

Does your API program have all of these? If not, download our white paper,  Driving Real-World Enterprise and B2B Results with APIs.  From there, you will learn how to use your API to maximum potential in the New Year.