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In this article we take you through the connected world of APIs and how you can reap maximum value
Oct. 4, 2017 05:00 AM
The Omnipresent World of APIs
These days, APIs have become an integral part of the digital transformation journey for all enterprises. Every digital innovation story is connected to APIs . But have you ever pondered over to know what are the source of these APIs?
Let me explain - APIs sources can be varied, internal or external, solving different purposes, but mostly categorized into the following two categories:
With new technologies like IoT gaining traction, there is going to be a proliferation of APIs very soon.
API Management tools
API management platforms help enterprises manage all aspects of APIs as defined above, ease the process of API access to all stakeholders and in general address all the management aspects of the entire API lifecycle.
Typical API sharing and consumption process
The typical process looks like as is shown in the following set of images for a fictitious company called Movi. We have also used screens from WaveMaker low code platform for some illustrations.
This is a templatized approach followed by organizations who try to share their APIs with external (as well as internal) stakeholders. But is this process as shown in step 4, effective? Do organizations get the RoI from their investment on APIs quickly?
Loopholes with the current API management setup - Low RoI
What we need is to :
Let's fix it. Remove the friction between app building and API access
The issues seem to have a very easy solution but probably needs the enterprise move up in the value chain of becoming a "Digital Enterprise". The answer lies in adopting a low code development platform that can work out wonders in solving these issues. Let me explain these in simple visual steps below:
1) Let's start with a simple change to the existing process as shown in figure-1, by adding an app creation step. This will help in users to not just subscribe to an API plan but also start working on app instantly. More details in the next steps will make this simple addition work wonders.
2) Start the developer portal registration exercise as always...
3) However during the registration process, we make sure to add an instant app creation step to facilitate users. The button click will lead the users to a low code platform for visual app creation. It's all in the mind! This simple change in the registration workflow allows the user to instantly start creating an app and the exercise is not just limited to API access.
4) Once the users clicks the button, they get logged into a low code platform. Note we have used screen mocks from WaveMaker low code platform. But the user is not left in lurch. He is not left to the mercy of documentation and forums to start integrating the APIs into the app. A templatized app pre exists inside the platform with all the relevant artifacts for consuming the APIs and this can help users to significantly speed up app creation.
5) Inside the Movi app, pre-integrate with the most commonly used APIs in the application. This will take away all the complexities associated with the API, like documentation, parameters, headers etc. and lets the user focus on just app business logic and end user experience
6) A well defined templated app inside a low code platform would also provide pre-existing drag-n-drop components like search widgets that have pre-built integrations to the search APIs. This is value addition beyond just simple API integration. Now we are talking about UI components that will let you build the customer user experience in front of your eyes using in-built WYSIWYG screens. This is powerful, since you are not focussing on technology anymore, but business imperatives.
7) Low code platforms doesn't stop there. It will not just let you build your app easily, but also test them take them to delivery fast. It covers the entire app delivery life cycle. Check out the 1-click testing and deploy features highlighted in the below figure.
If you noticed in the above article, it was the low code platform which is the unsung hero solving the bigger problem of API RoI. Low code platforms in one swoop through its easy drag and drop based visual coding and app template based approach put a clean facade over technical complexities associated with APIs and coding and app. Low code platforms lets you make an app from an idea in a matter of days instead of weeks, months and in some cases more than a year to create an app.
Benefits of the new API consumption model
The below picture captures all the benefits of the new model succinctly.
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