API MANAGEMENT TOOLS: What It Is, Top and Best API Management Tools

API management tools
Image source: Hakin9

API management refers to the practice of overseeing API-related tasks like developing, publishing, securing, and monitoring APIs. The top and best API management tools have a high level of security, rigorous testing, frequent version updates, and a high degree of stability, which are essential for their optimal use. However, in the process of developing and releasing free online API management tools, usage guidelines are enforced, access is restricted, the subscriber community is fostered, usage data is gathered and analyzed, and performance is reported. Web mechanisms and tools are provided by API Management components to help the developer and subscriber communities. Open source API management tools will be discussed in this article.

API Management Tools Overview

The many API management solutions on the market assist businesses in making the most of their API integrations, with each offering particular advantages for developing, testing, and maintaining APIs:

  • JMeter

JMeter is an open source program that was first created for testing web applications and is a product of the Apache Software Foundation (the link is external to IBM).JMeter loads and monitors RESTful APIs. MongoDB, Express, and Node.js are their main components.

  • SoapUI

Another cross-platform API testing tool created to automate regression, compliance, and load testing of web APIs is SoapUI (link lies outside IBM). Developers may easily configure their scripts when working in a variety of settings, such as QA, development, and production environments, thanks to SoapUI’s user-friendly testing interface, which enables developers to drag and drop their scripts. Developers may check their APIs for the most recent security flaws, such as SQL injections, cross-site scripting, and XML bombs, using SoapUI.

  • Monitor & Test API Connect

API Connect Test & Monitor was built by IBM. It Connect Test & Monitor lets developers test API endpoints using OAuth and other authentication methods. API Connect Test & Monitor has advantages over other API testing and monitoring packages since it automates laborious tasks. These include collaborative testing models, intelligent API accuracy checking, automated test scheduling, codeless interfaces, and API health notifications.

What Is an API Management Tool? 

An API management tool is a technology used by developers in a business context to access, distribute, control, and evaluate APIs. Platforms for API administration help enterprises by centralizing control over their API integrations and ensuring that they always adhere to strict performance and security guidelines.

API Management Components

API management solutions come with a set of end-to-end services that make it easier to deploy API integrations and share their configurations with other development teams. The following elements make up API management solutions:

  • An API gateway acts as the access point to other linked systems and services. Its gateways route composes and translates client and external protocol requests. API gateways ensure API security by employing TLS encryption and OAuth (Open Authorization) protocols. API gateway lets developers use microservices as controlled APIs.
  • API developer portal: An API developer portal has several uses, but its main advantage is that it gives developers a place to view and distribute API documentation on their own. Developer portals enable developers to quickly explore, create, and test their APIs while also facilitating communication across teams.
  • Reporting and analytics: The ability for companies to measure user numbers in various ways is another crucial feature of API management tools. API platforms employ a synthetic technique to track the availability, response time, and general performance of an API. API systems can also incorporate analytics tools and make use of protocols for data extraction for automated reporting and long-term analysis. These analytics tools help businesses make better decisions about their apps and services by detecting and resolving potential integration problems.
  • API lifecycle management: API integrations are a vital component of strategies for digital transformation and are crucial to assisting businesses in growing their operations. Enterprises gain from API management solutions’ ability to manage an API’s complete lifespan, from conception through all of its development phases and eventual decommissioning. API management offers a long-term approach to developing, testing, onboarding, and administering APIs while providing sufficient version control at each stage.

Best API Management Tools

Following is a list of some of the top options for managing APIs:

#1. Apigee

One of the best API management solutions available is Apigee, which is great for partner applications, cloud apps, consumer apps, systems of record, IoT, and employee apps. You can develop, protect, evaluate, and grow APIs with this software solution from any location. Additionally, this tool enables you to fully control your APIs and observe how everything functions.

Features

  • Delivering the answer (the desired outcome) via a proxy, agent, or hybrid is helpful.
  • By doing so, it makes it easier for developers to create new cloud-based apps using data and resources.
  • Developers are free to create and distribute their own applications if they so choose.
  • Additionally, it aids in tracking and measuring. The product has analytics built in that show API traffic data and also aid in KPI measurement.

#2.  Software AG

The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Industrial Internet of Things, 2019 recently categorized this API management platform as a visionary. This is due to its API infrastructure’s strong integration and innovative design.

Features

  • gives users access to several open API standards
  • assists users in controlling the full API lifecycle
  • has a developer site that is totally customizable and has a secure analytics gateway that can assist you in scaling and adapting your API

#3.  MuleSoft

Why is Mulesoft well-known? because one of the greatest API administration tools for linking apps is this solution. Additionally, it is effective for creating and administering APIs. It also offers guidance on how to build an application network from scratch.

Features

  • Having a single API platform
  • creates a community for you to use in order to foster and work with other developers

#4.  Axway

Axway is a popular API management software that provides cloud-based data integration. Its products include content collaboration, app development, B2B integration, and API administration.

Features

  • Analysis of API trends and API predictive analysis
  • Development guidelines that are already in place and simplify the job of developers

#5.  WSO2

What exactly does WSO2 mean? The developers of this platform for managing application programming interfaces chose a name that alludes to a chemical analogy. The term translates to “oxygenated web services.” Given how the program functions, this name fits. WSO2 is an open-source, cloud-, on-premises, and service-ready API management system. When you want to control the whole API lifetime, including administration, monetization, and policy enforcement, it is helpful.

Features

  • Highly-customizable
  • Permit developers to profit from the platform.
  • controls API traffic, protecting it from future threats.
  • has an analytics platform that measures and monitors outcomes

Which Is the Best API Management Tool?

Kong Gateway is the name of the most popular open-source lightweight proxy-based cloud-native API gateway. It was built in Lua and is run by Nginx. It is a template engine that contributes to the event time being sped up. Regardless of where they are running, it promises to provide unmatched latency performance and scalability for all of our microservice applications. The Kong API gateway is widely used by organizations including Nasdaq, Honeywell, Cisco, FAB, Expedia, Samsung, Siemens, and Yahoo Japan.

Kong provides a number of features, including:

  • Authentication
  • Traffic Control
  • Analytics
  • Transformations
  • Logging
  • Serverless
  • Extendable using Plugin architecture

Kong’s compatibility and documentation are top-notch. Additionally, You can use it with whatever cloud service you like.

Open Source API Management Tools

In the construction of sustainable contemporary applications, microservices and open source API management tools (short for Application Programming Interfaces) have practically become standard. APIs are the engine of microservices, and they define how a user of the API can interact with and make use of the underlying service. Furthermore, microservices are architectural design that divides an application into tiny, self-contained, and manageable services/pieces.

The best 10 open-source API gateways and API management tools for your IT infrastructure are listed below. Please take note that the list below is not arranged in any specific hierarchy.

#1.  Kong Gateway (OSS)

A well-liked, open-source, and sophisticated cloud-native API gateway with cross-platform compatibility is Kong Gateway (OSS). It was created using the Lua programming language, supports hybrid and multi-cloud architecture, and is designed with distributed and microservice architectures in mind. Kong was designed from the ground up to be highly performant, extensible, and portable. 

#2. Tyk

Tyk (pronounced “Taik”) is an open-source, lightweight, robust API gateway written in Go. Its cloud-native, open-standards architecture is easily extensible and pluggable. Self-contained, it needs Redis for data storage. It can publish and manage legacy, REST, and GraphQL services (supports GraphQL out of the box).

Tyk’s pre-loaded features include authentication, quotas and rate-limiting, version control, alerts and events, monitoring, and analytics. Virtual endpoints, on-the-fly modifications, and service discovery are supported. It allows mock APIs before release.

#3. KrakenD

KrakenD is one of the open-source API management tools, and a pluggable, stateless API gateway. It was built in Go for speed. portable and database-free. It’s easy to configure and supports unlimited endpoints and backends. KrakenD includes monitoring, caching, user quotas, rate limitations, QoS features like concurrent calls and circuit breakers, granular timeouts, transformation, aggregation (merging sources), filtering (whitelisting and blacklisting), and decoding. It incorporates SSL, security rules, and proxy services, including load balancing, protocol translation, and Oauth.

However, using KrakenDesigner, a GUI that lets you graphically construct an API or continue an existing one, you can manually or automatically specify API gateway behavior. KrakenD’s flexible design allows adding additional functions, plug-ins, embedded scripts, and middleware without modifying the source code.

#4. The API Platform for Gravitee.io

An open-source, Java-based, user-friendly API management tool called Gravitee.io assists businesses in securing, publishing, analyzing, and documenting their APIs. It has three main modules, which are as follows:

  • API management (APIM) is an open-source, simple but effective, customizable, lightweight, and fast solution for controlling who accesses your APIs, when, and how.
  • Access Management (AM) is a lightweight, open source identity and access management system. It’s an OAuth2/OpenID Connect-based identity provider broker. A unified authentication and authorization service protects apps and APIs.
  • The Alert Engine (AE) module enables customers to simply and effectively monitor their API platform by configuring alerts and receiving notifications. It also facilitates the identification of questionable conduct and multi-channel alerts.

#5. Gloo Edge

Gloo Edge, an open-source, Go-based, Kubernetes-native ingress controller built on Envoy Proxy, supports traditional apps, microservices, and serverless. It links to your environment so you may choose security, persistence, and scheduling tools. It allows hybrid applications produced with different technologies, architectures, and protocols on different clouds and provides functional-level routing (allowing integration of traditional apps, microservices, and serverless).

Furthermore, gloo Edge provides rate limiting, circuit breaking, retries, caching, external authentication, and authorization. It offers security, automated discovery, service-mesh integration, and transformation. Gloo Edge combines GraphQL, gRPC, OpenTracing, NATS, and others to give top-notch functionality. It helps future open-source initiatives.

What Is API Management Example?

Popular API management tools include, for instance:

  • Google Apigee API Management Platform
  • CA Technologies
  • MuleSoft Anypoint Platform
  • WSO2
  • Apigee Edge

Is Postman an API Management Tool?

Not really, Postman is rather used to create APIs

What Kind of Tool Is Postman?

An API platform called Postman is used to create and use APIs. In order to speed up the creation of better APIs, Postman streamlines cooperation and simplifies each stage of the API lifecycle.

Free API Management Tools

Top 4 Free API Management Tools:

  • MuleSoft Anypoint Platform
  • Workato
  • Tray.io
  • Kong API Gateway

#1. MuleSoft Anypoint Platform

The MuleSoft Anypoint Platform is a free market-leading management solution for API-led connectivity that, when deployed on-premises or in the cloud, enables the creation of an application network consisting of apps, data, and devices. iPaaS, enterprise service bus, and a unified solution for API management, design, and publishing are all included in this hybrid integration platform.

#2. Workato

It is the most popular platform for integration and automation today. Workato, which is widely regarded as a market leader, is a free API management platform that enables business and IT teams to automate business workflows and tools to link their respective applications without jeopardizing data security or compliance. It gives businesses the ability to influence the results of business events in real-time.

#3. Tray.io

Tray.io is the industry’s premier general automation platform. Its cutting-edge, serverless design gives business users and technology professionals the ability to swiftly automate operations that are critical to the organization. With enterprise-level security and support, the low-code Tray Platform enables quick digital transformation across whole businesses. This is made possible by democratizing automation across the board.

#4. Kong API Gateway

As your company’s software architecture evolves, you need a better way to broker service information sharing. Distributed systems and microservices offer new issues for architectural communication. The Kong API Gateway is quick, scalable, and versatile. It is a free and open source API management tools or part of Kong Enterprise, which secures, maintains, and monitors all your services to speed innovation across all platforms, protocols, and deployment patterns.

What is Restful API?

Safe online information exchange between two computer systems is made possible by the RESTful API. To carry out various duties, the majority of business apps must interface with other internal and external applications. For instance, in order to automate invoicing and connect with an internal timesheet application, your internal accounts system must exchange information with your customers’ banking system in order to create monthly payslips. RESTful APIs facilitate information sharing because they follow secure, reliable, and effective software communication standards.

Conclusion

Every digital company needs API management tools. They create, distribute, and integrate APIs to stimulate innovation and help businesses compete. Businesses risk falling behind in a rapidly expanding global market without a good API strategy. A successful API stack is vital because it drives innovation. Your company’s goals and budget will determine the best API management tool, but our summary may have given you some suggestions.

API Management Tools FAQs

Which of the following is an API management tool?

 Apigee Edge is a platform for developing and managing APIs

Who controls an API?

The product manager is typically the person who defines the APIs for an organization. 

What are the 4 types of API?

The four most prevalent forms of application programming interfaces (APIs) seen in modern web-based applications are public, partner, private, and composite.

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