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Olaf van Gorp
API consumption is the goal of publishing APIs. It's a key phase in the API lifecycle. The whole reason APIs are created is so that someone consume APIs in order to connect applications and services.
But what’s the best way to enable API consumption and reach your consumers? Especially if you’re looking to monetize APIs?
That’s what we break down in this blog.
“Consume API” means to engage with the API. Consuming an API typically requires logging into an API portal or API marketplace. You’ll add your application’s information in order to send requests to the API. Enabling API consumption is critical to the success of your API product.
There are the two key scenarios in which you can enable API consumption:
But what’s the difference between these scenarios?
Consuming an API in a sandbox environment should be quick and easy. Usually, a sandbox environment is freely accessible. That means prospective API consumers can come in, review, and request access to an API. And they’ll typically be granted access automatically.
APIs in a sandbox environment are usually visible to everyone.
Consuming an API in a production environment can take longer. That’s because a production environment is restricted. If you request access to an API, there will be a workflow associated to make sure it’s a valid request from a valid consumer. From an API provider perspective, you need to know who the API consumer is — and what their intentions are.
APIs in a production environment are only visible to those who have appropriate credentials.
It’s a best practice to have both a sandbox environment and a production environment available for API consumers.
The sandbox environment allows API providers to validate API consumers. The providers can then take measures in the production environment to accommodate the consumer.
Consuming APIs come with many benefits to your business, whether you’re an API provider or API consumer. That's why it's one of the API basics you need to know.
Here are all of the main benefits.
If you’re an API consumer, you can accelerate time-to-market.
That’s because you can use APIs to connect to existing services instead of building them yourself. For example, you can use an API to embed another application’s map or weather data in your application.
API consumers can also use APIs to drive digital transformation initiatives forward.
For example, APIs can be used to connect disparate applications and services. This enables microservices initiatives, especially the composable enterprise.
If you’re an API provider, you can simplify API management with contracting capabilities. A contract in API management is established between a consumer and a specific version of the API. The contract is typically validated with authentication and authorization methods (such as a client certificate or OAuth token).
For example, in Akana, it’s easy to go through the contracting process. All consumers have to do is find your API, request access, and select the client app to request access for.
This makes it easy for API providers in Akana to manage the relationship between the consumer and the API. If the consumer did something suspicious, you could suspend the contract and immediately block the consumer.
If you’re an API provider, you can increase revenue by monetizing your APIs. This can be done through subscription and licensing capabilities in an API platform like Akana.
For example, in Akana, you can take a tiered approach for your API monetization strategy. Types of tiers could include freemium/premium or even bronze/silver/gold.
A lower tier — such as freemium — would allow free access to the API. But bandwidth might be throttled. A higher tier — such as premium — would charge for the API, but you’d be able to send many more requests within the larger bandwidth.
With a tiered approach to monetization, you can set different conditions for your API consumers based on their contract. This gives you flexibility in what you offer.
Consuming APIs is easy with Akana. Here’s how to do it.
First, go to the portal and find your API.
Next, you’ll request access to consume the API.
There will typically be two links associated:
As an API consumer, you’ll be able to see both links. When you use the sandbox link, you’ll get access granted automatically. When you use the production link, you request will be subject to approval. In both scenarios, granting access results in a contract that is established between consuming app and API.
Once you’ve received access to the API, you can test using it with your application. The Akana developer portal provides a powerful test client that allows for API testing from both a functional and a security policy perspective.
Remember, as an API consumer, you’ll want to answer these questions:
After you’ve tested the API and are satisfied it meets your needs, you can start sending requests to the API.
Akana makes API consumption easy. That’s because Akana offers a unique all-in-one portal and marketplace, so you can publish, promote, and monetize your APIs quickly.
See for yourself how easy it is to enable API consumption and consume APIs with Akana. You can try Akana free for 6 months. Put it to the test publishing APIs and see how Akana’s unique developer portal makes it easy to consume APIs.
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Technical Sales, Akana
Olaf has over 20 years’ experience with software development and architecture, helping organizations such as Compuware and Capgemini solve enterprise-level integration and governance issues. Olaf has supported the technical sales for Akana API management since 2014, diving deep into security challenges as well as issues specific to financial services, such as PSD2 and Open Banking.