With digital transformation and disruption across industries, the constantly evolving API market has reached a point of maturity where API products are now a part of a company’s strategic vision. Today, the API ecosystem is considered the backbone of modern digital enterprises.
However, the real issue arises when the market is flooded with APIs and developers struggle to find the right APIs to meet their project requirements. A standard survey was conducted to find out what problems developers encounter most frequently while working with APIs. And the response is quite surprising, most enterprise developers stated they lose a lot of time trying to find the right APIs they can trust and rely on.
If we talk about the numbers, according to research, over 40% of backend developers devote more than 20 hours a week to APIs, the highest percentage in the survey.
To alleviate these kinds of problems, the API marketplace enters the picture. Today, more and more organizations are seeing API Marketplace as an important factor. These marketplaces are playing a significant role in getting positive business outcomes. It functions as a roadmap that caters to the need of multiple personas from the convenience of one comprehensive platform.
What is an API Marketplace: A quick overview
API marketplace aggregate APIs and provide a place for application developers to upload, distribute, and monetize their APIs while providing a space for consumers to discover and implement the products.
In general, an API (Application Programming Interface) marketplace is a platform that provides a central location for businesses, developers, and other users to access, discover, and purchase APIs. These marketplaces typically allow users to browse through a variety of different APIs, view documentation and pricing information, and make purchases or subscribe to services through the platform. Many API marketplaces also provide tools for managing and monitoring API usage, as well as forums and other resources for community support and troubleshooting.
You might think that API Portal and API Marketplace are the same, but they are slightly different. The API Marketplace focuses on API products as business interfaces for external use cases, whereas an API portal focuses on the API as a technical interface.
The Marketplace brings a plethora of features for API product managers. The API product managers can use marketplace features to curate products from multiple lower-level APIs. They also provide options for discovery, subscription, security, and monetization to generate revenue (directly or indirectly) for their use.
What Challenges Can Enterprises Solve With API Marketplace?
Multiple factors trigger enterprises’ need to adopt the API Marketplace.
#1 API Sprawl and Complexity
API sprawl refers to the situation where an organization has a large number of APIs, each serving a different purpose or audience, and these APIs are not well-organized or effectively managed. This can lead to increased complexity in terms of development, testing, deployment, and maintenance, as well as making it difficult for developers to discover and use the right APIs for a given project.
API complexity can also be an issue when an organization has a large number of APIs that are not designed with consistency or standardization in mind. This can make it challenging for developers to understand how to use the APIs and can lead to issues with compatibility and interoperability.
API sprawl and complexity can also be a security concern, as more APIs may increase the attack surface and more complex APIs may be harder to secure.
To avoid these issues, enterprises can take steps such as implementing a centralized API management solution, establishing clear guidelines and standards for API development and design, and promoting collaboration and communication between different teams and departments that are involved in API development and consumption.
#2 Developer experience
Developer experience, or DX, refers to the overall perception and satisfaction of developers when they interact with a particular product, platform, or service. In the context of APIs, developer experience refers to how easy it is for developers to discover, learn, and use an API in their applications.
A positive developer experience can help increase the adoption and usage of an API, as well as foster a sense of community and engagement among developers. On the other hand, a negative developer experience can lead to frustration, decreased adoption, and a lack of trust in an API or its provider.
To create a positive developer experience, organizations can focus on the following elements:
- Simplicity: Make it easy for developers to get started with an API and to understand its capabilities and limitations.
- Discoverability: Ensure that developers can easily find and learn about an API through clear documentation, tutorials, and examples.
- Consistency: Ensure that an API is consistent in its design, behavior, and error handling across different endpoints.
- Flexibility: Provide developers with a variety of ways to interact with an API, such as different programming languages and authentication methods.
- Support: Provide resources and support for developers, such as a developer portal, forums, and a dedicated support team.
By considering developer experience, an organization can build APIs that are easy to use, trust, and recommend to others.
#3 API Consumption
API consumption is an important aspect of leveraging the power of APIs to connect and integrate different systems, services, and applications, and is crucial to the success of the API economy.
It typically involves the use of a programming language or library that is capable of making HTTP requests and parsing the responses from the API. Developers can use these libraries to construct and send requests to the API, as well as handle responses and errors.
API consumption also involves understanding and adhering to the API’s policies, such as its rate limiting, authentication, and authorization requirements. It’s important that the developer also understands the API’s capabilities and limitations in order to use it effectively and efficiently.
A good developer experience and clear documentation from the API provider can help to ease the process of API consumption. This includes example requests and responses, error codes, and details of endpoints. SDKs (Software Development Kits) can also be provided to help developers in certain languages interact with the API.
The API marketplace often includes detailed documentation, code samples, and other resources to help developers get started with using the APIs. By centralizing and standardizing the information and resources available for different APIs, a marketplace makes it easier for developers to find the APIs they need and understand how to use them. Additionally, API marketplaces often provide a way for developers to purchase or subscribe to APIs and for API providers to manage access to their APIs and track usage. This helps the consumption of API to be more flexible and streamlined way.
When Do Enterprises Need An API Marketplace?
- If you are planning to make it easier for these external partners to adopt your APIs.- You need an API Marketplace.
- If you are planning to track usage and connect it to business results with a roadmap to either direct or indirect monetization. – An API marketplace is necessary.
- If you are looking for a way to automate discovery and secure API services across your company.- You need an API Marketplace for this too.
An API Marketplace can be ideal for your enterprise because it helps to address some real problems that companies have when trying to utilize external APIs.
What features are critical for an ideal API Marketplace?
- Periodically Marketplace should sync with all the configured Gateways and retrieve all the APIs that need to be updated in the Marketplace. It includes new and updated APIs. The Marketplace Admin should be notified after this process is complete to approve new/updated APIs
- Marketplace Admin should be able to review and approve one or many APIs to ensure they are updated to Marketplace.
- After Sync is complete, a notification should be sent to the Product Manager to upload the Swagger file and other documentation for new APIs. Post this activity, the Product manager should be able to enable API discovery in the Marketplace.
- Ability to bundle multiple APIs as API Products along with putting text/graphics for the API Product
- Support multiple types of API such as SOAP, REST, GraphQL, Async API, etc
API Discovery Support
- A Marketplace Admin from the customer side should be able to group APIs such as Retail Banking APIs, Commercial Banking APIs, etc.
- Ability to search and retrieve APIs in a specific group or All the groups created by the Admin
- API Product recommendation based on the answers provided by customers
- Ability to test API before subscribing to API
- Ability to Display APIs by integrating with multiple gateways
- Ability to support multiple instances of a single type of gateway. E.g., There can be multiple
- APIGEE gateways across different regions. The Marketplace should be able to integrate with all these gateways
- Ability to install plugins at gateways to measure the rate plans consumption from gateways
- Monetization algorithm with business rules to be created and configured at the Marketplace
- Bundle Multiple APIs coming from different gateways into a single API Product
- Integrate with the Rules engine to provide different discounts based on subscriptions made. E.g., If the cost of subscribing to 1 API product is $1 per month, there can be $0.85/API if subscribing to more than 5 API Products.
Monitoring and Analytics support
- Provide analytics for Average response time, Top 10 APIs, and Unused APIs for the last six months.
- Auto cleanup of new APIs for the previous six months from Marketplace.
- Provide API Monitoring and have automated alerting capability if the health check APIs show red.
- Version control of APIs and Provide the ability to deprecate older versions of APIs.
- Provide the ability to sunset older versions of APIs (End of Support)
- Ability to collaborate with API Users, API Developers, and Business Stakeholders via a common platform
- Ability to Rate and provide feedback to individual API/API Products
- Ability to differentiate between internal API users and external API Users
- Provide the ability to distinguish between Internal, External Open APIs and Partner APIs
- Responsive UI design supporting multiple devices
- Support Open API Standards in Banking and Healthcare areas
- Group Features into Turn on/off
- Provide Cockpits for Gateway Admin, Marketplace Admin, and Product Managers
- JWT to establish a session
- OAuth integration to enable SSO to Marketplace
- Support MTLS for connectivity between Marketplace and all Gateways for exchanging API Keys and other sensitive information
- Storing Management credentials outside Marketplace in Google Vault or equivalent
- Ability to expose the APIs of Customer to Marketplace via CICD pipeline
- Auto Scaling if the Load reaches a threshold
- Disaster recovery in place for Marketplace
- Periodic Backup of Data
- Integration between Payment Gateway and Billing System
- Ability to Integrate with all standard Payment Gateways
- Ability to integrate with Billing systems to send the necessary invoices to the system
- To understand the effectiveness and usability of the APIs, your developer audience requires simple and adequate documentation. Your documentation should be simple and effective, with specific instructions for integrating and using your API
- This should include information about your API classes, functions, return types, arguments, and other aspects. Tutorials, examples, and support materials are all included in the best API documentation to help developers work efficiently.
An API Marketplace can be helpful for enterprises from both the consumer and developer side. For consumers, marketplaces make it easier to find and incorporate APIs into their applications. By doing this, they can create a more robust and user-friendly application. It is an excellent platform for displaying your APIs. These marketplaces are also crucial in developing a successful API strategy. They connect API providers and developers to ensure APIs do what they were intended to do in the first place: drive consumption and integration into applications.
DigitalAPICraft One APIMarketplace is an Enterprise-grade, white-labeled product for publishing, consuming, collaborating, and governing all of your APIs, developers, product owners, consumers, and partners. It will solve all problems by connecting your APIs, developers, product owners, consumers, and partners to accelerate innovation and deliver API ecosystem experiences like never before.