API Catalog Tools 5 Common Misconceptions

API Strategy

API Catalog Tools | 5 Common Misconceptions

·  4 Min Read

5 common misconceptions about API catalog tools and how to overcome them.

As APIs (plus Services and Events) grow exponentially within enterprises, you’re likely realizing they need to be properly cataloged. Cataloging APIs can help reduce duplication, increase reuse, and provide valuable transparency to coverage and governance, standards, and security compliance.

When considering API catalog tools, there are 5 common misconceptions we see in enterprises. In this post, we’ll discuss each and the issues that these misconceptions cause (perpetuated by basic catalog tools), and show you how they can be resolved.

Jump to:

  1. You need many catalogs
  2. Only developers use the API catalog
  3. The catalog is part of a developer (API) portal
  4. It’s a static library of APIs
  5. The catalog is separate from the API lifecycle

 

1. You need multiple catalogs: API catalog tool + SOAP Service catalog tool + Event Catalog tool

Misconception: In our enterprise we use APIs, SOAP Services, and Events. Catalog tools are for APIs, so we need a separate API catalog, SOAP service catalog, and event catalog tool.

Issue: Separate catalogs mean:

  • You have no single source of truth and visibility into total coverage
  • There’s no standardization between each catalog and the assets within it
  • You can’t adopt composability as you can’t easily expose business capabilities in different interface types, depending what’s needed by your consumer (and when). This also increases your chance of duplication as you’re having to cross reference between catalogs.

Resolution: With our ignite platform, you can create a holistic catalog for all interface types – APIs, SOAP Services, Events and Messages. ignite gives you one place to capture, manage, govern, discover, reuse and deploy from.

Benefit of beating this misconception:

You can create a single view of all your APIs, Service, and Events – with standardization and improved discovery and reuse. Business capabilities can be reliably exposed in whichever interface type is needed.

2. Only developers use the catalog

Misconception: API catalog tools are for provider and consumer developers to use. The providers list their APIs, the consumers come in and discover (and subscribe) to the APIs they want to use for their applications.

Issue: If only developers are using the catalog, you’re missing a huge trick for enabling collaborative innovation. There are multiple roles who want to interact with your APIs and contribute to the catalog (e.g. product owners, leadership, compliance and risk teams).

Resolution: ignite is designed to enable all roles in your integration ecosystem. Different roles can interact with different views of the platform, for example:

  • business users interact with an abstracted Design so they can clearly understand its functions
  • provider developers interact with a technical specification so they can produce a great API
  • leadership and analysts can find out catalog coverage against your business capability model. Compliance the same against governance and security rules.
  • consumer developers can browse the catalog to easily find the API they’re looking for. Then use mocking and interactive documentation to ensure it’s fit for purpose.

Benefit of beating this misconception:

Multiple roles can interact with your catalog. Collaborative innovation with expertise across the organization is unlocked, for consumer-centric products and services.

Many roles can interact with your API cataog tool

 

3. The catalog is part of a developer portal (also known as an API portal)

Misconception: API catalogs are a runtime thing, tied to a gateway. They’re provided as part of an API management platform or developer portal offering.

Issue: You can only catalog external public APIs if it’s part of a developer portal. But in reality you likely need to catalog all types of APIs (internal, system, point to point, composite, 3rd party/partner and external). With runtime catalog tools, the system of record (SOR) for the API is the code. Only developers (and often only the API owner themselves) can find and understand the valuable information and business logic on what the API does and how it works.

You also end up tied to the API management provider, as your APIs are coded to this specific platform.

Resolution: ignite sits upstream of CI/CD pipelines, providing you with a runtime- and implementation- agnostic catalog. This means you can catalog, manage, discover and reuse all API types (and all interface styles, as we discussed in misconception #1).

With ignite, the system of record is held as the abstracted Design (coupled to the technical details in the Specification), so you’re not locked into vendors and you can provide the business/IT appropriate views we discussed in misconception #2.

Benefit of beating this misconception:

Your APIs, Services and Events are managed in an abstracted way; futureproofed and with no vendor lock-in.

4. It’s a static library of APIs

Misconception: API catalog tools aren’t active – they are essentially a list of APIs, and need to be manually updated and maintained.

Issue: The catalog becomes quickly outdated, and no one wants to spend valuable time keeping it updated and maintaining it. Ultimately, it doesn’t get adoption.

Resolution: ignite integrates with your existing architecture. You can link and sync to external systems (including API management platforms) to ensures your design time and run time is always in sync and up to date. This ensures the catalog is always a reliable source of truth.

Benefit of beating this misconception:

You always have an accurate view of your entire integration ecosystem.

5. API catalog tools are separate from the API lifecycle

Misconception: The catalog and development lifecycle are two entities, and one tool cannot support both. Developers are manually building APIs, and then publishing them to the catalog once they’re complete and deployed.

Issue: It’s hard to promote top-down, domain driven API development, and/or support standardized and well-governed bottom-up API development. While needed, you’re unable to easily catalog all APIs across all lifecycle states and versions, and manage changes/updates and reuse. The resolutions we discussed in all previous sections also become blocked.

Fundamentally, the catalog isn’t growing with reliable, compliant, secure, and reusable APIs, Services, Events and Messages.

Resolution: ignite provides a holistic catalog and extended lifecycle management. We’re the world’s most comprehensive platform for creating and managing composable business building blocks reliably exposed as APIs, Services, Events.

Benefit of beating this misconception:

You gain competitive advantage through a robust portfolio of reliable APIs, Services, and Events unlocking functionality – faster time to market, better consumer experiences, and digital responsiveness.

 

Now that we’ve discussed how to overcome the common misconceptions regarding API catalog tools, your next question may well be “should we be buying a catalog tool or build a homegrown solution?”. To answer that, download our API catalog build vs buy guide.

basic API catalog features vs advanced API catalog features for enterprises

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