Understanding the stages of API lifecycle management offers an overhead look at application programming interfaces so you can find opportunities for improvement. Below, you will find the three major stages of an API lifecycle. Each section offers a closer look at the steps professionals often address when optimizing API strategy, functionality, access control, workflows, and other critical features.

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API lifecycle stages

APIs typically move through three major stages. Paying attention to each stage of the lifecycle helps ensure that you avoid deprecation so you can rely on your current API version before dedicating time to building a new API.

Designing your API

Building an API that meets the end user’s needs starts with designing an API product that gives people the information or integration they want. This stage of the lifecycle involves:

  • Establishing what needs the API will fill, such as giving customers self-service options, improving data access for stakeholders, and connecting apps to a large API ecosystem.
  • Designing an early, mock version of the API and distributing it to users so they can provide feedback based on real use cases.
  • Incorporating the feedback into the API’s revision.

Implementation

The implementation stage involves building and testing the API. Note that several steps take place before you release your API into the world. Preparation sets up your API for success, which means your team will spend less time troubleshooting features that don’t meet expectations.

When building the API, use an API platform that helps with topics like:

  • Data mapping
  • Large-scale digital transformation
  • User authentication and other API security methods
  • Connectivity across operating systems and applications
  • Successful routing

Once your API developer has a product in place, test it to:

  • See whether it can process data in real-time
  • Discover possible runtime errors
  • Measure how many API calls it can handle

Any problems you encounter at this stage will only grow once you expose your API endpoints to all users. Testing and troubleshooting now will avoid bigger hassles in the future.

Read our Guide To Testing APIs for more insights.

API maintenance

Even a “perfect” product will need to change over time. As API usage shifts, your design needs to evolve. Versioning takes less time than starting a project from scratch, so it makes sense to collect API documentation and look for opportunities for improvement.

Ongoing API maintenance might involve:

  • Monitoring for potential security issues
  • Transitioning to REST API
  • Adding more integrations for SaaS, CD pipelines, etc.
  • Finding new uses for existing APIs

Do you know which API management platforms offer the most user-friendly features? Read our comparison of Apigee, Dell Boomi, Mulesoft, DreamFactory, and other tools before committing to software.

You can also start a free trial with DreamFactory to experience how the platform matches your unique needs.

Common benefits of full life cycle API management

Why should you bother dedicating your DevOps team’s time to API lifecycle management? In addition to using your APIs for longer periods, you can benefit from the following.

Increased API monetization

IBM identifies four API monetization options:

  • Free: You don’t charge anyone to use your API.
  • Developer Pays: If your API offers high-value data or services, developers will pay to access it.
  • Developer Gets Paid: You want developers to use your API, so you pay them through revenue sharing, referrals, or referrals to your site.
  • Indirect: Your company doesn’t generate revenues directly from your API, but the product offers other advantages that help your business operate more efficiently, establish your brand as an authority, or grow your brand awareness.

Regardless of the direction you take, a longer lifecycle gives you more opportunities to reap the benefits without scrapping your existing API and replacing it with a new one.

Solidifying relationships

Forbes argues that most companies are now API companies. Since APIs can act as building blocks for making applications, every company that has gone through digital transformation needs a team focused on finding effective API use cases.

Taking control of your API lifecycle management does more than help your business create internal products, though. It can also help you solidify mutually beneficial relationships.

For example, a health insurance company could improve its relationship with healthcare providers by providing an API gateway that lets providers determine how much they will get paid for each service they perform. The transparency would likely improve the relationship and encourage more healthcare providers to start using the health insurance company.

Ongoing automation

Business process automation has a value above $12.7 billion. Companies invest in automation because they can minimize errors and save money over time. While executives will spend money on automation, they still want to get the strongest ROI possible.

APIs contribute to automation by letting systems and applications share information without relying on humans. However, APIs can only fulfill tasks when they align properly with applications and data sources. Ongoing automation relies on a better approach to API lifecycle management. The longer your API remains useful, the less money you spend on a tool that improves your business’s success.

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Get started with DreamFactory

Are you looking for API management tools that will give you insight into every phase of your API’s lifecycle? DreamFactory has ample features that make it easy for you to manage your API lifecycle. Some of the most important features let you:

  • Turn SOAP into REST APIs
  • Create APIs instantly
  • Take advantage of its open-source coding to deploy from Kubernetes, Docker, etc.
  • Control security settings, user roles, and more from a centralized admin console
  • Set API limits to prevent malicious attacks

Take control of your API lifecycle management by starting a free trial with DreamFactory.