As CTOs and product teams are moving towards API first approach, it is becoming an integral part of any startups and organization’s digital transformation strategy. With this rush to plan, design, and build new APIs at scale, often proper API governance is overlooked.
API governance provides guidelines on how security and API standard policies are applied when building and using APIs. Things such as tracking, versioning, deprecating, documenting, and integration are dictated by API governance.
A proper API governance will ensure that APIs are:
- Discoverable – APIs are easy to find and use by the entire organization
- Complete/Consistent/Compliant – APIs are high quality and deliver reliable consumer experiences
- Reusable – APIs can be easily reused/updated/extended
- Secure – so that your data is secure and you’re complying with regulation
API Governance best practices to follow:
One of the major roles of API governance is consistency. Imagine a situation where a company builds an API and the code cannot be reused when building a new one. In governance, an API contract helps in making sure that all APIs are not only reusable but also consistent. Furthermore, development teams can divide themselves into smaller teams with each team tackling different parts of an API.
When creating an API governance platform, a central team should be formed for coming up with all the guidelines and policies required when building and using APIs. Otherwise, there would be a situation where each team comes up with their own guidelines, leading to confusion and the development of poor APIs.
APIs often need extending and/or modifying, or sometimes deprecating, and versioning is therefore crucial to keeping track of this. It’s important to ensure they’re all versions of API are standardized and properly documented.
Governance can help determine if a change is backward compatible or not. APIs can stop working or disappear, or a breaking change could be introduced. Robust governance ensures you have proper versioning and change management to handle these issues. Version tracking will help remediate breaking changes before they impact customers.
Maintaining UI consistency:
An API governance platform should provide companies with policies and guidelines on how to handle styling when building APIs. This, again, goes down to consistency. It ensures that all APIs developed by a company follow the same guidelines, making integration and implementation easy.
Any design update changes the look and feel of an API, as well as how it will be used by customers. It’s very easy to introduce inconsistencies when large teams are involved and if there is no standard way of doing things. With API governance, teams can maintain uniformity across style and schema.
API governance should also include guidelines on automation, tracking, deprecation, and discovery. This way, companies will be able to save a lot of resources, especially money, time, and manpower. This is because they can reuse different API components, develop APIs proactively, and come up with APIs that meet their availability, performance, and security requirements.