APIs Need to Be Released, Too!
DevOps and APIs are at the center of every digital transformation priority. Learn why managing APIs is becoming essential to modern software development.
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Since joining CA, we have been diligently weaving automation into the very core of the modern software factory. The modern software factory is what every company needs to become in order to succeed in the digital world and in this blog, I want to discuss API management and continuous delivery.
Digital transformation is sweeping the IT world, across all industry sectors. As all vendors, old and new, big and small, incumbent and disruptor, fight it out in the digital battlefield, a new set of priorities is being created for the business and IT. These priorities revolve around four key capabilities:
- Accelerating mobile and IoT development.
- Unlocking the value of data.
- Creating new revenue streams through innovation and integration.
- Using hybrid and cloud technologies to return savings to the business.
Would it come as a surprise to hear that at the core of each and every one of these priorities are APIs and DevOps?
So, just what is an API? API stands for Application Programming Interface and it’s a highly common software development term – an initialism you’re bound to have come across. In some form or another, development has always relied on interfaces. (In case you’re wondering, in programming an interface is a format for activating and getting a response from software written by someone else.)
Without going too deep, APIs are primarily concerned with enabling communications between ‘private’ and ‘public’ interfaces. Private interfaces are used internally between individual developers and development teams. These aren’t accessible to third parties and can be changed as often as required.
This is in stark contrast to public interfaces, which are exposed to third parties – be they internal or outside the company – and shouldn’t change often (if ever) as other services using these interfaces may break or stop functioning. Moreover, public interfaces need to be secured so they can’t be exploited by malicious third parties. They need to be tested thoroughly as they undergo a life cycle similar to any other piece of software (i.e. the software development life cycle or ‘SDLC’).
So, what are APIs? They’re the building blocks for digital transformation, as they connect all your services and interfaces.
REST Assured, APIs are Everywhere
One of the most well-known API examples is "representational state transfer" – more commonly referred to as REST. REST functions over the web, is multi-device capable and offers myriad integration possibilities. If you’ve ever tracked an item purchased online, you’ve used a REST interface. The interface connects the e-commerce site you purchased from with the logistics and delivery vendor’s systems. Indeed, it’s safe to say we all use REST-based services every day, all day. REST is the near de facto standard used across websites, and is to be found on the apps we use daily on our phones, wearables and the internet.
REST, however, is by no means the only API protocol out there, nor is it the first: thousands existed before REST and many other protocols are used throughout the industry. It just happens to be one of the most popular these days.
Managing APIs is Becoming Mission Critical
As APIs become increasingly more central to digital transformation, API management solutions and gateways are a hot topic. CA’s API Management is a leading solution that provides central policy and security control for APIs as well as a set of tools which facilitate smoother and faster development for organizations. You can learn more about our API Management solution here.
On this blog I’ve frequently discussed how DevOps underpins digital transformation and enables the innovation, integration and usage of new technologies in support of business priorities. So, I’d like to quickly tell you about how our Automic Release Automation integrates with the CA API Management Gateway, making it possible to model the Gateway into a CD pipeline.
This allows APIs to be packaged up in ARA and handled just like any other software component. It means APIs are subjected to the same state-flow rules and policies set by the CD pipeline administrator. Environmental dependencies are always ensured, checked and assured, a full audit trail is maintained and available, and rollback is a click away. Further to all this, we can now support advanced use cases such as automatic policy setting and updating with API package movement through the pipeline. A rate limit can be automatically set on entry to the QA environment, as an example.
More information on this new integration can be found on our dedicated API Management webpage. Be sure to check out the demo on there too.
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