Almost every enterprise that I know takes a very cautious approach to this new API game. They build it, test it, try it, do a limited release, then fix the necessary areas, test it again, and finally, when they are satisfied they are ready, they get it out in the open. Unlike fly-by-night operations, established businesses have a lot at stake when it comes to putting APIs out in the open. Their reputation! This is key before you can declare your APIs as business assets.

When the APIs move from a “lab exercise” to being an enterprise channel, they need to be solid and managed like a real product. So a mature product life cycle management needs to be in place. As part of that exercise, a mature testing/QA process also needs to be developed.

Let us face it. With APIs, the API consumers are given so much priority and importance. Every effort is made to arm them with enough information about APIs – from documentation to code snippets to easy discovery to sample usage patterns to sample SDKs, etc. – so much so that the developers seldom stop for a moment to check the API characteristics before they start using it. In other words, they never bother to test/ QA the APIs and assume that it will work as expected and start using it as soon as they discover it. That in itself is a problem if you are an API provider; you are expected to provide enterprise-grade APIs from day one (and version 1). This means those APIs that you put out meet not only your quality standards, but they are expected to meet your consumer quality as well.

In order to ensure that your APIs are “battle ready”, you need to do at least load test, stress test, security test, functional test, etc. of your APIs. As an API provider, most often when our customers do this testing, they have to import or create the definitions in a test tool and certify the APIs after testing. Then the release team approves the API release. This manual process can be a nightmare if it is not managed properly.

After listening to multiple customers, we realized that there is a glaring need for API providers to do this in an automated fashion. After considering the test tools in the market carefully, it made sense for us to go with the leading test tool vendor to automate this process.

We are proud to announce today a joint venture between IBM API Management platform and SmartBear Ready!API platform to provide this link that was missing in the market for the longest time.

With this plugin, you can read and import APIs directly from the IBM API developer portal and have an option to publish the API back to the portal. This means you can browse the list of available APIs in the API platform, from within the test tool (Ready!API from SmartBear), and import them into the tool for testing. The Ready!API platform provides you with tools to test your API readiness. Once your API is ready, you can publish the API from the Ready!API platform to the IBM API portal with one push instead of a manual process. This eliminates the manual need to create the necessary artifacts and the notification back and forth, thereby streamlining the process.

Until now, only the API consumers were spoiled with ease of use, discovery, and quick TTM functionalities. Now, with this release, we are bringing the same elegant usage to API providers and API testers as well. Furthermore, you are not just restricted to REST-only APIs. This combination is so powerful that it can cater to both REST-based as well as SOAP-based APIs.

Before you can liberate your APIs, you need to make sure that your APIs can handle the business, as if your business depends on it, because it does!

To try the IBM API Management plugin, download your free trial of Ready! API (or use your existing licensed copy) and select the plugin from the Plugin Manager. You will be able to access the IBM API Management portal to read in an API from the platform or publish an API to the portal.

Follow me @AndyThurai to find out more.