Table of Contents
- 1 What is API Publishing?
- 2 Different Types of APIs
- 3 How to Publish an API?
- 4 Best Practices for Publishing APIs
- 5 Benefits of Publishing APIs on the Enterprise Hub
Publishing APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) allows you to get them into developers’ hands for consumption. With API publishing, you can enable developers to take advantage of the functionalities you’re exposing with your API product so that they can integrate them into applications easily.
This article will talk about how to publish APIs and enhance their adoption.
What is API Publishing?
API publishing is the process of preparing and issuing an API for consumption by application developers (also called API consumers). It’s a way of demonstrating that the API is in a stable state, and developers can reliably make requests to its endpoints from their own applications.
Publishing lets anyone who wants to start using the API to see its details, learn how to use it, and integrate it flawlessly.
As an API provider, you can publish your APIs on a portal, such as the Rakuten RapidAPI Enterprise Hub, and make them available for internal or external subscriptions. With such an API portal, you can allow for the seamless discovery and adoption of your APIs.
Different Types of APIs
There are different types of APIs you can create and publish. Selecting the right type for your project requires understanding the best use case for each one.
These are the main types of APIs:
- Internal APIs: Also called private APIs, these are published internally within the enterprise. They assist in realizing various objectives within the organization, such as improving productivity and efficiency.
- Partner APIs: These are published to be accessed by select partners and customers. They help in fostering relationships and expanding the organization’s reach.
- Public APIs: Also called open APIs, these are published to be available publicly. The broader developer community can access them for realizing various objectives, such as saving development costs and encouraging innovation.
How to Publish an API?
Regardless of the type of API you want to expose, these are the seven steps you can follow to publish an API:
Let’s now talk about each of the steps.
Step 1: Create the API
The initial step in publication is to create an API program. Regardless of the features you want to expose, you should optimize it for API User Experience (APX).
Application developers are your API customers. They will interpret the functionalities that your API offers and use them to build apps for end-users.
So, you need to treat the creation of your API as any other product you’d offer to customers. Delivering a great user experience with your API is essential for its success.
See API design to learn more about how to build great API products.
Step 2: Upload to a portal
After creating the API, the next step is to upload it to an API publishing portal. An API portal, also called a developer portal, connects API consumers and API providers.
As an API provider, the portal allows you to publicize and drive the adoption of your API initiative. API consumers can use the portal to discover and consume APIs easily.
See API portal to learn more about how a portal is key to facilitating a seamless experience in the API ecosystem.
You’ll also need to upload the API’s documentation, code samples, tutorials, and other resources that will allow developers to get started integrating it without any hurdles.
Without providing sufficient reference resources, incorporating the API product will be difficult, which defeats the very purpose of its existence.
Step 3: Apply settings
Next, you’ll need to apply some subscription settings that will govern the consumption of your API. The types of settings you implement will be based on the type of API you want to expose.
For example, if it’s an internal API that will be used within your enterprise, you may not need to offer any pricing plans for it.
For other types of APIs, such as public APIs, you may include a monetization model that lets you earn revenues from your APIs. The model you choose will largely depend on the business requirements of releasing your APIs.
See API monetization to learn more about how to generate revenues with your APIs.
You’ll also need to set up API keys, rate limiting, and other measures to control access, restrict usage, and optimize performance.
Step 4: Test the API
API testing allows you to assess if the API meets the expectations for reliability, security, and functionality.
With testing, you can discover missing or duplicate functionality, incorrect handling of request errors, inaccurate response data, and more.
Testing ensures you validate the correctness in responses and data, ascertain if the API can handle the load, and verify that it works as intended.
Step 5: Publish the API
You can publish the API on your portal after ensuring that everything is working properly. Publishing the API definition shows that it’s stable, and developers can reliably consume its endpoints.
Once published, developers can access the API and integrate it into various use cases.
Step 6: Manage and monitor
Managing and monitoring your API will allow you to achieve the value you initially envisioned from releasing it.
Without management and monitoring, it may be difficult to gain deeper visibility into the API’s performance, evaluate its usage, or understand its evolving requirements.
Monitoring your APIs enables you to identify malfunctions and solve them fast, get valuable insights for making informed decisions, and maintain their peak performance at all times.
See API analytics and monitoring to learn how getting comprehensive visibility into your APIs can improve their consumption.
Step 7: Review and improve
Lastly, you need to review and improve your API.
Reviewing and taking stock of your API’s performance will help you know whether it’s measuring up with the goals of publishing it.
Are developers integrating the API seamlessly and fast?
Does the API bring the amount of revenue expected?
If not, you need to check what is wrong and make the necessary improvements.
If you publish your API program and do not care to improve it continually based on the prevailing needs, developers may shift to a competitor’s offering. Eventually, your API may die a slow death.
Best Practices for Publishing APIs
Here are some best practices to ensure you get it right in API publication.
1. Focus on ease of use
You should keep ease of use in mind when publishing APIs. If you expose a service that is dysfunctional or difficult to integrate, developers will give it a wide berth.
Your exposed product should be flexible enough to enable developers to implement its functionalities according to their needs and preferences. For example, you should include multiple data formats that let developers use their preferred format for fetching the API’s data.
You should use simple constructs that are easy to understand and implement when designing an API for publishing.
It’s also important to design your APIs using ubiquitous technologies, and not niche techniques. Going for universally recognized standards and tools will reduce the developers’ integration efforts.
For example, selecting GraphQL or REST architectural style is better than going for a technology that is not widely known.
2. Practice proper versioning
Publishing ensures the API definition is available for read-only access. If you make any major enhancements after that point, you should migrate the API to a new version.
So, practicing proper API versioning ensures that you implement improvements without introducing changes that may harm the applications powered by the API.
A common standard you can follow when versioning your APIs is the SemVer specification. This means that you’d update the major API version every time you apply breaking changes and update the minor and patch versions every time you apply backward-compatible changes.
If you make any changes to the API, you should communicate that to your API consumers promptly. You can also allow them to continue using either the existing version or move to the newly released one.
3. Listen to feedback
An API is a type of contract between you and the application developers. Therefore, you should do your part to ensure the API is stable, properly documented, and functioning as promised.
If you get feedback after publishing your API, you should act on it without any delay. This is the best way of improving the API’s features.
Sometimes, developers’ feedback is the push you require to update resources, deprecate obsolete endpoints, or edit messy descriptions.
Benefits of Publishing APIs on the Enterprise Hub
The Rakuten RapidAPI Enterprise Hub is a robust, white-labeled publishing platform you can use to unlock the power in your APIs. It comes with a wide range of API publishing tools and capabilities to ensure you release consumable, stable, and secure APIs.
Here are some key benefits of publishing APIs on the Enterprise Hub.
- It offers a centralized hub to publish APIs in a single workplace. This way, the Enterprise Hub expedites API discovery, allowing developers to easily and quickly find and consume internal and external APIs.
- The Enterprise Hub supports different API architectural styles and standards, including REST, GraphQL, and SOAP. So, you can use it to publish APIs that resonate with the needs of your target audience.
- It allows you to manage developer registration to your APIs. After building your API, you can use API keys to control access to your APIs, create and add teams to your APIs, and block or unblock certain users from accessing your APIs.
- The platform provides comprehensive analytics and monitoring capabilities so that you can gain deeper visibility into the performance of your APIs. This allows you to better control API consumption, enact policies to ensure data security, and make informed decisions about compliance and usage.
- The Enterprise Hub also comes with useful features for enforcing API security and generating revenues from your APIs.
You may contact us right now to begin using the Enterprise Hub for publishing quality APIs.