This is the second part of a 3 series blog. In this blog, I will cover the following:
- The five phases of API Product Lifecycle.
- The four phases of API Management.
- API Management from MuleSoft.
- The role of API Marketplace
API Product Lifecycle
In the first blog, we discussed how an organisation-wide API strategy is essential to the success of an API Marketplace. API Marketplace provides easy access to API Products for various consumers. To understand the role of API Marketplace in the API ecosystem, it’s crucial to understand the importance of API products and their lifecycle.
API Products is a building block of the API Marketplace, whether consumer, producer, monetisation or community. In simple words, there is no API Marketplace without API Products.
The API product lifecycle is a model that can help you chart the progress of your API. Monitoring progress allows you to adapt the management of the API as it matures.
Let’s look at the five phases of the API Product Lifecycle.
While in the creation phase, the API interface is likely to change, exhibit errors, and experience periods of non-responsiveness. After various test cycles, APIs are marked as completed but are yet to be released in production.
During the second phase of the lifecycle, the tested and approved API is placed into production and made available to the common exchange in a controlled fashion. At this point, the API is considered reliable, the interface is stable, and the proper security and scalability elements are in place.
Once an API product is available, it goes into the realisation phase, focusing on measuring the API performance against the reason it was created. Depending on the performance, you might change the interface to meet your goals, tweak performance, availability, scalability, etc. A good API monitoring program is needed for this phase.
Once the API is being used and meeting the intended goal, you can place the API into “maintenance mode”. Maintenance is the peak phase of any product life and when all the early work pays dividends. Putting an API into maintenance mode means focusing less on adding new features and instead on improving performance, reducing operational costs, and maximising return.
Once APIs achieve their goals, at some point, their value starts to wane. Operational costs will begin to outweigh the revenue/saving benefits, and the time will come to place the product into retirement. Retiring an API frees up resources (infrastructure, staff, support, etc.) and helps to clear out little-used parts of the ecosystem. It is too easy to forget about actively managing the retirement phase of your APIs.
Now you understand the stages of API Product life cycle, it would be much easier to understand, at which stage of the life cycle, API Marketplace becomes more important. It’s after the “Create” stage, at the stage-2 , “Publish” stage, when the API Product is placed into the production and made available to wider communities. As you can see at the very early stage of API Product life cycle, we need an API Marketplace to realise the value of the API Program of an organisation.
Now we’ve discussed the phases of the API Product lifecycle, it will be much easier to understand the role of API Marketplace. The marketplace becomes essential at the “Publish” phase of the lifecycle.
Here the API Product is placed into production and made available to wider communities. We, therefore, need API Marketplace to realise the value of the API Program from an organisation.
API Management phases
To support the API Product Lifecycle, we need a tool to manage all phases of the API Product. The tool should also help enterprise challenges like discovery, governance, manageability, and user engagement. Support should be irrespective of the technology or architecture used for the APIs or the environment in which they’re hosted.
Let’s discuss the relationship between the API Product Lifecycle with API Management phases and the role of the API Marketplace in these phases.
- Discover – Discover API Products from different environments with an automated pipeline from the catalogue for external and internal users based on various features and filters.
- Govern – Adhere API Products to organisation standards and best practices to ensure quality products to the end users with the help of pre-built or custom policies, patterns, checklists and templates.
- Manage – Manage and monitor API of any size, irrespective of the architect, technology, and deployment space for the API.
- Engage – A platform for producers and consumers of API Products to build a community of varieties of personas to collaborate with each other.
The first three phases are associated internally with the organisation. The last phase, “Engage”, is associated with both the organisation and external users. This makes the engage phase unique from the others. The API Marketplace fits into the “Engage” phase and gives opportunities to the organisation to market their product and brand to their employees, partners and customers.
API Management from MuleSoft
We’ve looked at each API management phase and its importance to the organisation. We also discussed utilising an API management tool to manage each phase. To ensure a single product manages all API management phases, MuleSoft provides an end-to-end solution called Universal API Management.
Universal API Management allows full lifecycle management capabilities for APIs regardless of where they’re built, the architecture in which they’re implemented, or the environment they’re hosted.
For the last phase of API management, “Engage”, MuleSoft provides various products allowing the development of a fully featured API Marketplace. A marketplace with a range of services and customisation based on the individual company’s requirements, budget and time to market.
MuleSoft also provides various types of solutions for API Products, whether you need simple cataloguing of the API products, complex flow of API Access, or managing multiple communities.
In this second blog of the series, we discussed the role of API Products in the API ecosystem, the phases of the API Product lifecycle and how it’s associated with various phases of API Management.
We also discussed the role of API Marketplace and how it fits into the “Engage” phase of API Management and provides an organisation with a unique opportunity to promote the brand by selling API Products and Solutions.
In the final blog of the series, we shall understand a straightforward approach to developing the API Marketplace with MuleSoft Products.