Azure API Management

07 september 2020 om 10:00 by ParTech Media - Post a comment

How many times have you used Google Maps or WhatsApp in your life? You would have certainly lost track of the count. After all such apps have become an integral part of our lives. These applications are very easy to use, but we never try to understand what goes behind these apps to make them user-friendly. Do you know our interaction with these applications is carried out efficiently by Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) which help us with all the information we need in just a few seconds?

APIs typically deliver your input to the application’s server via the internet and return the output we desire. Proper management of APIs is necessary to ensure secure and dependable use of them. One such service that helps in managing APIs is Azure API Management. In this post, let us understand what is Azure API Management and how it ensures efficient management of APIs.

Table of Content:

  1. What is an Application Programming Interface (API)?
  2. Which vendors manage application program interfaces (APIs)?
  3. What is Azure API Management?
  4. Why is API Management required?
  5. How does Azure API Management work?
  6. Calls to REST API
  7. Wrapping Up

What is an Application Programming Interface (API)?

API stands for Application Programming Interface and can be considered as a mediator that facilitates interaction or communication between two applications. Whether we are checking our location using Google Maps, or sending messages using WhatsApp, or scrolling through our Facebook page, we are always being helped by an API.

Let us take an example to understand the role of the APIs better. Take any application on your phone, say Amazon shopping app. Whenever you search for a product by entering the keywords in the search bar, the shopping app application sends this data to Amazon’s server through the internet. The server interprets the data, processes it, and provides the product details we are looking for. The application then converts it into a presentable and readable form for us which is nothing but the Product Details Page. This is the role of API i.e. it becomes the bridge between our search and the server.

API can be any of these:

● The endpoint of a web service.

● The endpoint of a web API.

● A program’s function signature.

Which vendors manage application program interfaces (APIs)?

There are many companies or vendors which manage application program interfaces (APIs) in their unique way to meet the expectations of the consumers. Some of these vendors are:

● Microsoft’s Azure API Management

● IBM API Management

● MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform for APIs

● Apigee

What is Azure API Management?

Azure Application Program Interface (API) Management is a process in which the APIs are be controlled, maintained, analyzed, and monitored. Azure API management provides its customers with a platform for launching their interfaces so that their data and services can be accessed by external or internal developers.

Many organizations have volunteered for API management with their unique approach to cater to the changing customer demands. Companies have now started to use microservices architecture to speed up the software so that rapid changes in customer demands can be attended. These microservices architectures communicate with one another with the help of HTML based APIs. APIs typically form the connection between all these microservices. Management of these APIs helps an organization to ensure that all corporate policies are followed while using the required APIs.

Why is API Management required?

An API is developed by a developer and is provided to a consumer. Efficient management of them ensures the proper and secure access of these APIs to the consumers. When you manage APIs effectively, you ensure that the below mention parameters are taken care of while delivering APIs to the consumers -

Dependability

Dependability on APIs means the availability of any API to a consumer whenever required. Dependability is measured by downtime. Another measurement term for APIs is quota. A quota defines the number of times any API can be called in a specific period.

Quality

The performance quality of any API determines its popularity among accessors. Performance quality is determined by the efficiency with which an API bridges the communication gap among various applications. The performance quality of APIs is measured on the consumer’s satisfaction.

Speed

High speed of an API is the most desirable feature for any consumer. Proper management of the APIs and the use of microservices architecture ensures high-speed performance. Access latency and throughput are units that measure speed.

Flexibility

Flexibility is the alternatives available to any consumer while accessing the APIs. To ensure a greater number of alternatives more effort is needed to be put in managing the APIs.

Cost

Managing APIs demands money. Ensuring all the above parameters in minimum cost is the best way of managing APIs.

How does Azure API Management work?

Azure API Management layout

Azure API Management provides a portal for the display of all the services for the consumers to access these services. Exposure of these services are fully managed, service policies are followed, security is provided and frontend and backend are decoupled. The developer portal provides testing and documentation facilities so that all the services can be uploaded easily on the service repository for all the clients. Services can be improved further by features like caching, data translation, throttling, and even by providing advanced security. Azure API management provides a platform for:

● Development of application

● Development of API

● Customization

● Monitoring

To expose an Azure service firstly an API management instance needs to be created. There are many ways of portraying an Azure service:

● API Apps

● Logic Apps

● Functions

Calls to REST API

You can use Azure API management to generate the access token manually. The access token allows making calls to the REST API. Here is a method to do that.

Wrapping Up

In this era of smartphones, applications are commonly used and APIs play a critical role in determining our experience with these applications. Thus for the developers, proper management of these APIs necessary to ensure that consumers are not disappointed with the performance of the application. Azure API management is one such process that takes care of this. So go ahead and use the features provided by the Azure API Management for managing your APIs better.