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Developer Management for Open APIs

The Problem: Developer Engagement & Administration for Open APIs

More and more large organizations across a wide range of industry sectors are opening their APIs to external Web and mobile developers. The security concerns this introduces (data leakage, DoS attacks etc.) are relatively well understood among enterprises. There is far less understanding of the serious developer management issues open APIs can introduce, if proper controls are not put in place:

  • The Cost of Supporting Developers & Maintaining APIs
    Any enterprise that begins publishing open APIs without establishing a foundation for developer management is likely to find that support and application maintenance costs grow quickly and prove hard to control, as developers struggle to understand APIs and the apps they create increase data traffic to and from enterprise information assets.
  • The Difficulty of Managing Developers to Maximize the Value of APIs
    Also, without an effective system for developer management, an enterprise will find it difficult to get satisfactory returns from its open APIs. To maximize the value of these APIs, the enterprise needs ways to attract and retain developers – and to ensure these developers can create applications that add real value to the enterprise’s offerings.

The Solution: Deploying a Self-Service API Developer Portal

The most efficient and effective way to create a system for managing external developers is to deploy an API developer portal, through which developers can:

  • Discover what APIs are available
  • Self-register for access
  • Learn how to use APIs via documentation, exploration tools and community features
  • Get insight into API performance and service levels
  • Get visibility into their own API usage
  • Collaborate with other developers

To ensure that service-level agreements and security policies can be maintained, this portal should be integrated into a full API management solution, including:

  • Management functionality for ensuring continual operation and quality of service
  • An access control system, including functionality for the OAuth standard
  • An API Proxy for securing and managing APIs

Layer 7 Value: The API Portal & API Management Suite

Layer 7’s API Portal product delivers all the key functionality an enterprise needs in order to create an effective developer portal for open APIs. The API Portal empowers the enterprise to build a fully-branded portal, which will become external developers’ primary interface with the enterprise’s open APIs and the nexus for all development activity around those APIs. The API Portal includes features for:

  • Building a customized interface with the enterprise’s own look and feel
  • Registering external developers for open APIs or enabling self-registration
  • Publishing API documentation, sample code and application examples
  • Creating discussion forums and other developer community resources
  • Tracking developer activity and API health

The API Portal is part of Layer 7’s API Management Suite. It integrates fully with the rest of the products in the Suite to create a complete solution for secure, effective open API publishing:

  • SecureSpan API Proxy – for securing APIs against attack or misuse
  • OAuth Toolkit – for simplifying OAuth-based access control
  • Enterprise Service Manager – for ensuring continual API operation and quality of service


EBook: 5 Ways to Get Top Dev Talent for Your APIs


Grow an ecosystem of visionary developers creating leading-edge apps

Opening APIs to developers outside your organization can enable the creation of mobile apps that add value to your products and information assets in innovative and often unexpected ways. This eBook explains how to engage developers who will create truly valuable apps. 


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