API Provider And Consumer Developer Portals

by Kin Lane, API Evangelist Twitter LinkedIn Github Email

I’ve been studying API developer portals for almost a decade. I’ve visited the landing pages, portals, websites, and other incarnations from thousands of API providers. I have an intimate understanding of what is needed for API providers to attract, support, and empower API consumers. One area I’m deficient in, and I also think it reflects a wider deficiency in the API space, is regarding how to you make an API portal service both API providers and API consumers. Providing a single portal within the enterprise where everyone can come and understand how to deliver or consume an API.

There are plenty of examples out there now when it comes to publishing an API portal for your consumers, but only a few that show you how to publish an API. I’d say the most common example are API marketplaces that allow both API consumers and providers to coexist, but this model isn’t exactly what you want within the enterprise. One thing the model lacks is the on-boarding of new developers when it comes to actually developing an API. Suffering from many of the same same symptoms API management service providers have historically suffered from—-not providing true assistance when it comes to delivering a quality API.

When I envision an API portal that serves both providers and consumers, either publicly or privately, I envision just as much assistance when it comes to delivering a new API as we provide for new consumers of an API. Helping with API definition, design, deployment, management, testing, monitoring, documentation, and other critical stops along the API lifecycle. We need to see more examples of the split between API provider and consumers, equally helping both sides of the coin get up to speed, and be successful with what they are looking to achieve. I think we’ve spend almost 15 years investing in perfecting and monetizing the API portal with a focus not he consumer, and now we need to invest on helping make the portal easier for new API providers to step up and learn how to properly publish their API.

The modern API management solution is still tailored for the mystical API provider who knows how do to everything, where most do not understand the full API lifecycle. It would be an opportunity for an API management provider to go beyond just one or a handful of stops along the API lifecycle, and properly invest in on boarding new APIs. I think one reason why all of this suffers is that venture capitalists have never prioritized education and training for both API providers or consumers—-directing API service providers to only lightly invest when it comes to these API educational resources. Now that APIs have gone mainstream, we are going to need an industrial grade enterprise solution for delivering API portals that help onboard both API providers and consumers, and provide them both with what they need to navigate the entire lifecycle of the API solutions they are providing and applying.