VP Innovation at Axway, Co-founder at Vordel

Mark O'Neill

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Is an API Portal a Wiki of APIs?

Last week I spoke at the Integration Developer News SOA & API Summit on the topic of "How APIs are Driving Digital Transformation". You can still view the recording (as well as the talks by IBM, Oracle, Red Hat, and Neuron ESB) on the SOA & API Summit event page.

One of the questions which came up, from a view at a large system integrator, asked is an API Portal "more of Wiki of all the APIs?". This is one of the questions where the answer is "Yes, and....". So, let me answer it in this blog post.

An API Portal is the place where developers go in order to get all the information they need to use an API. Developers using the API can contribute to the content (usually through a wiki or forum or blog), as can the developers of the API itself. The actual API itself is shown at the API Portal using what is often called "active documentation", where developers can drill into the API definition in a Swagger interface, and perform "Test in place" testing to ensure they are using the API correctly.

To show this in action, here's some screenshots of the Axway API Portal. Of course, when customers deploy the API Portal, it is re-skinned (think "Acme API Portal"), but here is it in its Axway-branded incarnation. In the screenshot below, we see active documentation of a SOAP API (yes! the Axway API Portal can be used for SOAP as well as REST).

Here's a REST API below, shown in the API Portal. Notice the "Try it out!" button at the bottom, to try out the API. You can also see all the information needed to call the API (the model schema on the right):

For those who prefer it, API documentation is also a provided at the API Portal in PDF format, including SDK information and info on how to access the API from Android or iOS:

Finally, many APIs have a monetization model, as explained by this seminal presentation by John Musser. As well as learning how an API is used, it's important that the developer using the API also understands the costs of the API. This monetization is supported by the API Portal as pricing plans. We see some of these shown below.

So, in answer to the question from the SOA & API Summit, an API Portal is more than just a wiki for an API. It includes active documentation, forums and blogs, in-place testing, and monetization info. 

Thanks for the question - and keep them coming!

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More Stories By Mark O'Neill

Mark O'Neill is VP Innovation at Axway - API and Identity. Previously he was CTO and co-founder at Vordel, which was acquired by Axway. A regular speaker at industry conferences and a contributor to SOA World Magazine and Cloud Computing Journal, Mark holds a degree in mathematics and psychology from Trinity College Dublin and graduate qualifications in neural network programming from Oxford University.