Public APIs, private APIs

When talking about API management, the first thing that comes to mind is a public API, one that is open for anybody to consume, provided a certain level of registration. Obviously, the most famous APIs are the public ones, potentially known to anybody. However, such APIs only represent a small subset of all APIs that need to be managed. Many APIs that we encounter in the field are setup in such a way that their consumption is restricted to a specific group of developers. This happens for various reasons. Some talk of public and private APIs, others use the terms open and closed to represent the same distinction.

Most of the time, even public APIs start off as private APIs as part of their development life cycle. Until an API has been fully tested and is ready to be launched, it remains private and only accessible to its internal developer base. The ability to “flick the switch” on an API to make it jump from a staging mode to a live mode is an essential feature of an API management infrastructure.

Then there are APIs that are never meant to be public in the first place. Most APIs fall under this category. Many enterprises that are moving forward with API management are exposing APIs that enable them to develop mobile applications for their workforce for example – think of tapping into the BYOD trend. Those APIs are intended to be consumed by their own developers, contractors and sometimes partners.

The Layer 7 API Developer Portal  is geared towards managing APIs that are either public or private and lets API managers control which developers are made aware of which APIs. This lets you have a single point of management for all APIs regardless of their target audience. By default, only public APIs are visible on the Layer 7 API Developer portal.

A series of tutorial videos for our API Developer Portal product has recently been posted to our youtube channel. One such video is How to manage a private API with the Layer 7 Developer Portal at this link.

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