webMethods API Cloud - Software AG's API Management solution as a Cloud Service
In October 2017 Software AG launched its newest version of webMethods API Cloud, which now includes the capabilities of webMethods API Gateway as well as webMethods API Portal. That means that webMethods API Cloud is now a full API Management-as-a-Service offering, providing everything from an API developer portal and online marketplace to runtime API security.
|Issue 1, 2018||Download PDF|
In our increasingly connected world, APIs have become the foundation for new digital business models. They are the connectors between applications, data and services—enabling your business to expose data and services in web apps, mobile apps, Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and other touchpoints.
As you begin to enhance your business model by exposing APIs, you quickly discover that there is a wide spectrum of capabilities you need in order for your efforts to be successful.
That's because API management is more than just a security layer or a description of the APIs you are providing. In fact, when launching an API program you are in many ways launching a set of products that need to be managed in much the same way as any other products or services your company provides. So if you want your API program to be successful, you need to have all the pieces (or capabilities) in place.
About webMethods API Cloud
Software AG’s webMethods API Cloud is an API Management-as-a-Service platform that offers you both an API portal for developer collaboration and an API gateway to protect you from malicious users.
With API Cloud, you can design and compose APIs, build and grow your ecosystem of developers and partners, securely expose your APIs, monetize your APIs and analyze your APIs to see where to make improvements.
What are the capabilities you need to be able to create a successful API program? Let's explore them.
Building and managing your ecosystem
To create a successful API program you need to attract and grow users, which are typically going to be partners who want to add your services or data to their applications. To do this you need a developer portal, which is similar to a marketplace for your API offerings.
The developer portal is your public-facing website dedicated to helping your audience sign up for and use your APIs. But it provides more than just information about your APIs.
Figure 1: Build your API ecosystem with the API portal available in webMethods API Cloud
The API portal provides the following capabilities:
- API publishing: This allows you to publish REST, SOAP and OData APIs to the developer portal for your partners and other third-party developers to discover and learn about.
- Built-in workflows for signing up: The developer portal needs to manage third-party access requests so partners can sign up to use your APIs. API Cloud has a built-in approval process workflow to ensure secure and reliable access management. This helps you get your partners up and running quickly.
- Documentation: Developers need to know how to use your APIs and what to expect as output from your APIs. The developer portal is where you provide descriptions of the APIs, examples of how to use the APIs, file attachments for additional documentation and information about the policies enforced at the API level. Basically, you want to provide everything your partners will need to be able to use your APIs.
- Integrated API testing: Make it easy for developers to try out APIs directly within the portal to see how the API behaves. Let them try test invocations with different input parameters so they can quickly see the results.
- Community support: Remember that for an API program to grow, you need ongoing adoption. And to build adoption, it’s beneficial to show how the broader community is using your APIs. That’s why it’s helpful to offer a social community within the developer portal. One of the unique features of Software AG’s webMethods API Portal is that it allows users to rate APIs and contribute to open discussions with other developers, as well as highlighting third-party applications that are also using your APIs.
- Built-in usage analytics: As mentioned, your APIs are like products. So it’s critical to understand your users so you can ensure you are building the right APIs. The API portal lets you track API usage to gain valuable insights about usage patterns to help you improve your customer experience and increase API adoption.
- Branding: Because your APIs are an extension of your business, you need to be able to customize and brand your developer portal to match your company’s corporate identity, from colors and skins to custom graphics.
Securing and governing your APIs at runtime
Just as important as gaining adoption of your APIs is the need to secure them. That’s why a core component of an API management service is an API gateway. The API gateway provides the following capabilities:
- Security and authentication: The API gateway enables you to use policy-driven security to uniformly secure and monitor access to back-end services from apps using your APIs. Our gateway supports both transport and message-layer security, including authentication, authorization, digital encryption and digital signatures, to ensure your APIs are protected from malicious or unauthorized attacks.
- DMZ-strength security: Anytime you expose APIs to external users you are creating the potential for threats to get through. One way to reduce risk is to not open any unnecessary holes in the firewall. API cloud eliminates holes in the firewall by using DMZ-strength security between consumer apps using your APIs and your internal servers. You can configure an inner firewall to deny all inbound connections and then use persistent connections opened from internal servers to access back-end services.
Figure 2: Secure your APIs with the API gateway available in webMethods API Cloud.
- Transformation and routing: Although you want to do most of your logic behind the firewall and not in the gateway, you will need some flexibility for routing and transformation. With Software AG’s extensive support for mapping and transformation, your API consumers have flexibility in the protocols, message formats and transports they want to use.
- API monetization: Because API programs are a key part of digital business, you need to make it possible to capture how your APIs are being consumed so you can monetize them. The API gateway makes it possible to monetize APIs with API plans and packages that form the basis for subscription packages, enabling you to either charge for the use of your APIs through monthly subscription or pay per use fees, as well as for chargebacks within and across departments.
- Lifecycle models and versioning: To ensure that standards and practices are followed as your company creates its APIs and moves them through the API development lifecycle, the API gateway provides lifecycle management and governance capabilities to support versioning as well as migrations and retirement of APIs as they evolve over time.
- Policy management: You will need to design and configure policies to be applied to your APIs at runtime. Policies can be applied to multiple APIs at the same time and can be dynamically scoped by naming patterns, categorization or organization.
How to find out more
webMethods API Cloud is a fully cloud-hosted service, so there’s no need to download or install any software. You just need to sign up. To learn more, and to register for a free trial, visit www.webmethodscloud.com/api.