Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) provide the means for accessing functionalities of various IT platforms, including, operating systems, applications, on-line services, distributed systems and more. For over twenty years, APIs have not only been a valuable tool for developers, but also the primary way in which software engineers perceive the functionality of an IT system. In recent years, APIs have also been used for integrating and using digital assets in sophisticated IT systems. In particular, enterprises are structuring their business functionalities in the form of APIs, in order to allow other systems, either within or outside the enterprise, to use these functionalities.
The use of APIs for making business functionalities available to other systems emerged as a result of the booming cloud-based, internet-connected, systems (i.e. the internet-of-services), which enable the creation of complex systems- a collection of functionalities of different internet platforms, such as e-commerce platforms, enterprise portals, social media platforms and more. As a result, APIs deliver a host of technological and business benefits. Therefore, enterprises must be able to understand these benefits, in order to create and manage their APIs in an appropriate way.
During the past few years the importance of APIs for developers has been increasing, as a result of their key role in agile software development and automation. Overall, APIs present the following main benefits for developers:
The benefits of APIs are not limited to software developers and programmers. Rather, APIs are a source of a range of other business benefits, including:
The above-listed reasons illustrate the importance of effective API management. Fortunately, there is already a host of API management platforms, which let you organize, structure and secure access to your APIs. Typical elements and functionalities of these platforms include:
A list of prominent API management products includes the Akana Platform by Akana, Apigee Edge by Apigee, IBM API Connect by IBM, WSO2 API Manager by WSO2, Azure API Management by Microsoft, TIBCO Mashery Enterprise by TIBCO Software and more.
The emergence of many API management products is yet another factor that indicates the importance of API management functionalities and their rising penetration within enterprises (e.g., according to a recent developers’ survey by Forrester, 48% of surveyed enterprises use already APIs). Therefore, it’s probably time, you reflect on our reasons for adopting an API management solution in order to identify and act on the ones that are most applicable to your business.
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