If you don't understand how an API works, you can't get the best out of it.
That's one problem. The other is that they keep increasing in number, but the quality of the documentation for each of them doesn't. Lack of clear, quality documentation leads to more difficulty for developers, and with more difficulty comes less chance they integrate the API.
Which could also be your API. That's where API exploration tools like SwaggerHub Explore come in handy to make this all way simpler.
Let's dig into the concept of API exploration and how SwaggerHub Explore can help you integrate APIs faster.
Watch the webinar: How to Dive Into API Behavior and Integrate Faster
Get under the hood
If you were purchasing a new car, you might have all the colors, features, and even a virtual simulation of the car's performance, but nothing compares to taking it for a test drive.
The same thing can be said for using APIs. API exploration is the process of interacting with the surface area on an API so that you can fully understand the behavior, functionality, and capabilities the API offers.
In other words, it helps to make sense of the API documentation and quickly confirm it solves the intended problem.
It also helps assess what kind experience it gives developers. Is it easy to use? Or learn? Is it safe to use? It also gauges appropriateness for the intended audience, and time to first call.
Why API exploration can help you see ahead
The number of APIs within organizations is rapidly increasing, and many of them have limited documentation, or aren't even cataloged. With the increase of APIs across organizations, the majority of API practitioners operate in a multi-protocol landscape, with REST continuing to lead the way. There needs to be a centralized way to interact with these different APIs to understand the value they can provide.
The shift-left testing trend continues in the software development space, driving more responsibility to the developer and engaging more stakeholders earlier. Stakeholders need quick ways to understand what is being built to provide their feedback.
The final challenge in the API space is the reliance on third-party APIs increasing, which sharpens the need to assess the API quality before, during, and after integration. Organizations want to reuse APIs, not reinvent them, and API exploration provides a solution to understanding if a third-party API meets their business requirements quickly.
Help for you, in more ways than one
SwaggerHub Explore is an API exploration tool that lets you easily understand both REST and Kafka API endpoints, which helps you reduce roadblocks in your software development. It surfaces data received from an API response, so you can evaluate the value provided by various API styles in a single place.
API personas and challenges
The data received can provide a solution for both API consumers and API providers.
For API consumers, the challenge is to assess API value and integrate faster. API exploration helps this by showing:
- Evaluation: Consumers can evaluate if the API covers the problem, and is easy and safe to use.
- Consumption: Understand the API value and get the confidence needed to start integrating them.
- Business evaluation: Make faster decisions about which API is suitable for your business needs.
- API operations: Present stakeholders with the information they need, earlier, to provide input before integration.
For API providers, the challenge is to improve the quality of APIs, the developer experience, and the adoption of APIs. API exploration can help by:
- Being a design aid: You can design APIs with developer experience in mind. Plus allow interested stakeholders to validate the design against business goals.
- Producing APIs: It supports developers during the coding phase, lets testers formulate appropriate testing coverage, and allows security and architects to assess APIs directly without the need for code clients.
- Productizing: Help technical writers spot documentation gaps and deliver better documentation. Allow product managers and DevRel to assess conformity to developer-experience standards, and support DevOps to assess how an API functions – at any point in time.
Stay ahead of many lifecycle challenges in front of us
API exploration is essential to software development teams being successful today. If you can't understand it, you can't really re-use it. A tool like this quickly gives you understanding an API's behavior, functionality, and capabilities. Basically, it provides a little certainty in a world of chaos.
SwaggerHub Explore not only helps, it makes this process easy and convenient. Teams can quickly evaluate APIs and make informed decisions about integrating them.
With API exploration as part of the process, developers and API providers can ensure their APIs are easy to use, safe to use, and appropriate for their intended audience.
If you want to learn more, you can. Give it shot for free.