API Evangelist API Lifecycle Workshop on API Discovery

I’ve been doing more workshops on the API lifecycle within enterprise groups lately. Allowing me to refine my materials on the ground within enterprise groups, further flesh out the building blocks I recommend to API groups to help them craft their own API strategy. One of the first discussions I start with large enterprise groups is always in the area of API discovery, or commonly asked as, “do you know where all your APIs are?”

EVERY group I’m working with these days is having challenges when it comes to easy discovery across all the digital resources they possess, and put to use on a daily basis. I’m working with a variety of companies, organizations, institutions, and government agencies when it comes to the API discovery of their digital self:

  • Low Hanging Fruit (outline) - Understanding what resources are already on the public websites, and applications, by spidering existing domains looking for data assets that should be delivered as API resources.
  • Discovery (outline) - Actively looking for web services and APIs that exist across an organization, industry, or any other defined landscape. Documenting, aggregating, and evolving what is available about each API, while also publishing back out and making available relevant teams.
  • Communication (outline) - Having a strategy for reaching out to teams and engaging with them around API discovery, helping the remember to register and define their APIs as part of wider strategy.
  • Definitions (outline) - Work to make ensure that all definitions are being aggregated as part of the process so that they can be evolved and moved forward into design, development and production–investing in all of the artifacts that will be needed down the road.
  • Dependencies (outline) - Defining any dependencies that are in play, and will play a role in operations. Auditing the stack behind any service as it is being discovered and documented as part of the overall effort.
  • Support (outline) - Ensure that all teams have support when it comes to questions about web service and API discovery, helping them initially, as well as along the way, making sure all their APIs are accounted for, and indexed as part of discovery efforts.

API discovery will positively or negatively impact the rest of the API lifecycle at any organization. Not knowing where all of your resources are, and not having them properly defined for discovery at critical design, development, production, and integration movements, is an illness all companies are suffering from in 2018. We’ve deployed layers of services to deliver on enterprise growth, and put down a layer of web APIs to service the web, mobile, and increasingly device-based applications we’ve been delivering. Resulting in a tangled web of services, we need to tame before we can move forward properly.

Let me know if you need help with API discovery where you work. It is the fastest growing aspect of my API workshop portfolio. Aside from security, I feel like API discovery is the biggest challenge facing large enterprise groups learning to be more agile, flexible, and pushing forward with a microservices, and event-driven way of doing business. I definitely don’t have all the solutions when it comes to API discovery, but I knew have a lot of experience to share around how we are defining our enterprise capabilities and resources, and making them more discoverable across our entire API catalog.