API management is the process of publishing, documenting and overseeing application programming interfaces (APIs) in a secure, scalable environment. The goal of API management is to allow an organization that publishes an API to monitor the interface’s lifecycle and make sure the needs of developers and applications using the API are being met.
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API management software tools typically provide the following functions:
- Automate and control connections between an API and the applications that use it.
- Ensure consistency between multiple API implementations and versions.
- Monitor traffic from individual apps.
- Provide memory management and caching mechanisms to improve application performance.
- Protect the API from misuse by wrapping it in security procedures and policies.
API management software can be built in-house or purchased as a service through a third-party provider. A growing open API movement, spearheaded by big name companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter, has led to reduced API dependency upon conventional service-oriented architecture (SOA) in favor of more lightweight JSON and REST services. Some API management tools are capable of converting existing SOAP, JMS or MQ interfaces into RESTful APIs or JSON content.
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Margaret Rouse asks:
What is the biggest challenge of managing APIs?
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