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How to manage a public API

Amy Reichert discusses how to overcome concerns of managing public APIs.

In this podcast on application program interface (API) management, veteran software developer and tester Amy Reichert talks about the rising complexity of working with APIs, the ins and outs of offering and using public APIs, and must-have features in API management tools.

Reichert discusses why and when API management practices and tools are a must. If you're planning on working with APIs, it's best to start with a management plan in place.

She goes into detail about the responsibilities that come with releasing APIs to the public. For instance, how do you manage customer service? How can developers protect API intellectual property in a public environment? Often times, there are issues with ensuring customer quality as APIs become public, leaving users with frustrations. Reichert cites examples of how to protect intellectual property and maintain customers' needs; particularly making sure your endpoint is secure and not altering the API internally, causing users issues. Another key point is making sure security is working and continually monitoring security lines.

Other API concerns include the risks of opening an API to the public for developers and ISVs. The biggest risk for a developer is if the API changes and therefore breaks the application. Ensuring you're aware of the functionality of the API is a necessity in order to update the application. The API service provider has ways to share this information, via a blog or email blast or FAQ page. Version control of API, and having a policy and integration plan, are other pain points Reichert touches upon.

Common mistakes include not having a management plan in place and not having upper management involved or fully aware of the API. Listen to Reichert in this podcast to find out what she has to say on these important API topics.

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What are your thoughts on public APIs?
Definitely good for the developer community. Specifically the mobile app developer community. There are plenty of mobile apps out there that couldn't exist without access to public APIs. 
Public API's help tremendously with those who are looking to develop de-facto standards for communication between applications. Personally, i think this is the way to make an app indispensable, the ability to play well with others, and broadcast that intention via a public API.
Justin and Michael, you both make good points. There are a lot of benefits to having a public API.