What are Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)?
“API” is a broad term that encompasses a set of protocols, tools, and routines that allow businesses to harness the power of data.
APIs power most applications used today. This is because they enable developers to include core features of complex websites in the applications. Also, they allow those features to be integrated and used in different ways.
It is essential for businesses because it is through an API that they are able to get different programs to communicate with each other.
Since APIs are growing in popularity, it becomes extremely difficult and complex to manage them. This is where API management comes into the picture. It helps you design, analyze, document, and publish APIs in a secure environment.
It has become so popular that the API management market is expected to reach $3,436.16 million by 2022.
To make the best use of an API, you should document it well and secure it too. You can do this through consistent testing and regular updates. To simplify this process, you can use API management tools.
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Why Do You Need API Management Tools?
While API management tools make it easy for your organization to develop, manage, and secure APIs, they offer a lot more than that.
They can also help with API planning and testing stages. This is important because after designing an API, you need to test it to ensure that it works the way you want it to.
Additionally, API management tools also help ensure that the APIs you previously deployed are compatible with the new ones. This can help reduce your app development costs. Finally, they simplify the process of publishing and deploying APIs.
Now, let’s take a look at how you can select the best API management tools for your organization.
How Do You Select the Best API Management Tools For Software Development?
There are a lot of API management tools out there. So, you need to be careful when selecting the one you want to use for developing software solutions.
Here are some factors you should consider while selecting API management tools for your organization.
1. Ease of Use
The first thing you check before selecting API management tools is the ease of operation. If the API management platform you choose isn’t easy to use, your team will find it difficult to manage your APIs.
Additionally, a good API management tool should make it simple for you to manage your developers. Apart from that, it should also integrate well with other infrastructure that you already have in place.
This is yet another important factor to consider when choosing API management tools. Scalability is a crucial factor for growing your business, and the tools you use must be able to support that development.
It’s due to this reason that you need to check if your tool can support your organization’s growth or not.
Let’s say your software solution powers an ecommerce platform. When you use an API management platform that is scalable, it’ll be easy for you to perform optimally during peak periods (such as Black Friday). Else, your system may crash due to the increased activity.
Before choosing an API management tool, you must check if it’s secure to use. You need to verify if it has strong single-sign-on (SSO) capabilities.
Also, it must have policies that make the use of an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) compulsory. It should also protect you against web-based threats and disable login if a VPN isn’t turned on.
Additionally, it should be GDPR-compliant to foster trust and loyalty with your customers. After all, that can help improve your customer retention.
The last factor that you need to consider before choosing an API management tool is its comprehensiveness. You must confirm if the API management platform covers both the API publisher and consumer components.
API publisher components include designing, creating, testing, securing, and managing.
On the other hand, API consumer components include discovering, developing, consuming, and monitoring.
An ideal API management tool should be able to effectively handle most, if not all, of these components.
Now, let’s take a look at the best API management tools and how you can use them effectively.
List of 14 Best API Management Tools You Should Check Out
Here are some of the best API management tools you should check out today.
Apigee is one of the best API Management tools out there for partner apps, cloud apps, consumer apps, systems of record, IoT, and employee apps.
With this software solution, you can design, secure, analyze, and scale APIs from anywhere. Not only that, this tool allows you to take full control of your APIs and see how everything works.Image via Apigee
- It helps to deliver the solution (end goal) in the form of proxy, agent, or hybrid.
- It makes it simple for developers to use data and tools to build new cloud-based apps.
- Developers can build and deliver applications on their own.
- It also helps with measurement and tracking. The tool comes with analytics that provides information about API traffic and helps measure the KPIs too.
It has four pricing plans – Evaluation, Standard, Enterprise, and Enterprise Plus. The Evaluation plan is free. For the other plans, you have to contact their team to get a custom quote.
2. Software AG
This API management platform was recently labeled as a visionary in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Industrial Internet of Things, 2019. This is because its API infrastructure is well-integrated and also notable for its innovation.
- Provides access to a number of open API standards
- Helps users manage the entire API lifecycle
- Has a completely customizable developer portal
- Has a secure analytics gateway that can help you adapt and scale your API
You can get started with a free trial of this software solution. For full pricing details, you need to contact the Software AG team.
Why is Mulesoft famous? Because this solution is one of the best API management tools for connecting applications. It also works well for managing and building APIs. Additionally, it provides solutions for creating an application network from scratch.
This helps you manage users and analyze the traffic you get. It also has policies in place that can help you secure your API from cyberattacks.
- Has a unified API platform
- Helps you create a community that you can use to nurture and collaborate with other developers
It has a free trial option that you can explore. As for the pricing plans, it has Gold, Platinum, and Titanium pricing plans. You can reach out to the MuleSoft team for more details about pricing.
Axway is a notable API management tool that provides cloud-based data integration. Some of the solutions that it offers include API management, B2B integration, content collaboration, and app development.
- Trend analysis and predictive analysis of API
- Pre-built development policies that make it easy for developers to work
It has a free trial option. You can contact the Axway team for more details about pricing and custom quotes.
What does WSO2 stand for? Manufacturers of this API management platform gave it a name that refers to a chemical analogy. The name means “web services oxygenated. This name is appropriate considering how the software works.
WSO2 is an open-source API management tool that you can deploy on-premises, cloud, and is available as a service too.
It is useful when you want to manage the complete API lifecycle that includes management, monetization, and policy enforcement.
- Allow developers to make money through the platform
- Regulates API traffic hence securing it against future attacks
- Has an analytics platform that monitors and tracks results
WSO2 offers a 15-day free trial. For more details about its pricing, you need to contact the WSO2 team.
6. Kong Inc.
This API management platform provides end-to-end solutions for organizations that are looking to solve critical application problems. Their tools, Kong Gateway and Kong Enterprise, can help you control and manage your API. The former is an open-source tool as well.
- You can manage your teams and provide an integrated development environment.
- They’ve got a variety of plugins that you can use to extend the functionalities of the tools.
- It is scalable, especially for organizations with a large workload.
You can download Kong Gateway for free. For access to the Enterprise edition, you can request a demo of the software solution for free. You need to contact their team for pricing details.
This API management platform helps people create, publish, and use APIs at any time.
What’s the best part about this tool?
Well, the best part is that you can do all of the above without any manual coding. It’s a cloud-based API management platform and thus works as an iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service).
- Advanced API analytics for tracking and monitoring
- Compatibility with other API management tools
- Developer portal makes it simpler to manage API consumers
It has a 30-day free trial. For more details about pricing, you need to contact the SnapLogic team.
What is Akana API? Akana is one of the best API management tools for life cycle management. It has an end-to-end platform for designing, securing, implementing, monitoring, and publishing APIs.
How does Akana benefit your company?
Using it, you can build a partner ecosystem to engage and empower your developers to deliver APIs on time.
- Helps you create, discover, and monitor APIs from a single UI
- It is highly secured and detects vulnerabilities in the API code
- Provides in-depth API analytics
You can request a free demo of the tool. For more details on pricing, please contact the Akana team.
This API management platform is effective for integrating applications and services in an API. It’s available as an on-premises solution and as a cloud-based service too.
Additionally, it provides a linearly scalable API gateway through which exposed APIs can handle the policies related to errors, overruns, and exceptions.
- Monitoring all deployed APIs to detect errors and track performance
- Mediation services that support data formats such as HTTPS and JMS
- Gives developers access to manage and deploy APIs through a web console
- It has a drag-and-drop feature that makes it easy to create APIs
You can request a free demo of the software or download a 45-day free trial. For more information about pricing, you need to contact the Fiorano sales team.
Fusio is one of the best open-source API management tools. The software solution provides users with tools that make API building from different sources simple.
- A unique developer portal where developers can register to use your API
- Provides developers OAuth2 authorization to access non-public APIs
- It has a documentation app that shows all developers the available API endpoints
Want a free API solution?
Fusio is available for free. You can download it from their website.
11. API Umbrella
API Umbrella can add basic functionalities such as rate limiting, analytics, and API keys to any API. It is also one of the best open-source API management tools out there.
- Accelerates API by integrating a standard HTTP caching layer to it
- Helps you unify your APIs by providing a single, public entry point to them
- You can create a single API key that can be used across a number of APIs
You can download this software service for free.
You can create APIs seamlessly using Oracle’s API Platform. This API management platform supports agile API development and has style guides through which your teams can adhere to REST and JSON standards.
Also, it helps you measure the KPIs and control the APIs access at runtime. The pricing plans start at $2.01 per gateway per hour.
TIBCO Cloud Mashery is one of the best API management tools used for converting to SOAP and RESTful protocols. It provides a full life cycle API management solution for SaaS, B2B, and public APIs.
It offers a 30-day free trial of the software service. Pricing for the Mashery Professional plan starts at $500 per month. To get more details about the Mashery Enterprise plan, you need to reach out to the company.
3scale makes it easy to manage internal and external users of your API. This API management platform allows you to share, distribute, control, secure, and monetize your APIs.
Is 3Scale open source?
3scale software is not designed for open source. Still, 3scale works well with Red Hat software, and the latter is open source. Pricing starts at $750 per month for the Pro plan. As for the Enterprise plan pricing, you need to contact the 3scale team.
Q1. What are API management tools?
A. They are tools that allow businesses to control, monetize, and monitor APIs (application program interfaces) securely. They help administrators monitor security, traffic, errors, and connection consistency for published APIs.
Q2. How does API management work?
A. API management enables businesses to monitor and control the visibility of APIs connecting data and applications across the cloud or enterprise. It enables them to enforce API usage policies, publish web APIs, nurture subscriber community, collect and analyze statistics on usage, control access, and report on performance.
Q3. Which is the best API testing tool in the market?
A. Some of the best API testing tools include:
- Apigee API Management
Q4. How do you perform API Testing?
A. Follow these steps when performing API testing:
- Start by determining test requirements and boundaries. Specify issues like the APIs' purpose, target consumers, API features and functions, testing aspects, etc.
- Establish a test environment by configuring databases, servers, and all resources interacting with the API.
- Run a trial call to ensure the API works and has no broken functionalities.
- Define input parameters. Effectively authenticate results and determine that the API works as you expect by planning possible input combinations.
- Create test cases. Write, execute, and compare the actual results of the test cases to the expected ones. You can either leverage API testing tools or write code that helps you run the tests. It's, however, recommended that you automate the process.
Q5. Why do you need API management?
A. Reasons why API management is crucial:
- Insights from API analytics drive data-driven decisions.
- It protects you from API security threats.
- It gives you centralized visibility into all your API connections and makes it easy to identify gaps that need addressing, decrease repetitive APIs, and reduce security vulnerabilities.
- Enables you to offer API consumers positive experiences.
- Boosts your API agility while enabling you to create digital assets rapidly.
- It helps you create an agile, innovative, and adaptable ecosystem that allows for seamless collaboration between technologies, processes, and people.
Q6. What is the difference between API Management and API Gateway?
A. API Gateways are single proxy servers that provide a central place for you to route, secure, and administrate your APIs and services. They perform functionalities such as rate-limiting, authentication, data validation, caching, API analytics, API canary versioning, etc. API Gateways can either be on-premise appliances or cloud-based solutions.
API management defines the overall solution applied when managing APIs in production. It enables functionalities such as versioning APIs, modifying exposed data, determining metrics to track, understanding APIs business value, etc.
Q7. What are the most important metrics for API performance monitoring?
A. The most important API performance monitoring metrics include:
- Request per minute
- Memory usage
- Average and Max latency
- CPU usage
- API retention
- Errors per minute
- SDK and version adoption
- Unique API customers
- Time to first hello world
- Calls per business transaction
- API usage growth
- Top API consumers usage
Which is the Best API Management Tool?
In this post, you’ve learned about 14 of the best API management tools, their key features, and pricing plans. Which one is the best depends on the specific needs of your organization.
Have you ever used any of these API management tools for software development in your organization? Or do you know of any other tools for API management thatyou think deserve a spot on this list? Please share your experiences and insights in the comments below.