API Discovery Is Now at Your Fingertips: API Portal for VMware Tanzu Is GA

May 5, 2021 Sunny Xia

Chris Sterling, Shruti Iyer, and Aditya Tripathi contributed to this blog post.

APIs—the key component of any company’s microservices model—are driving digital transformation in modern enterprises. Indeed, “66 percent of organizations report using private or B2B APIs,” according to the Gartner report, “Create API Portals That Drive API Adoption Among Internal and External Developer Communities” by Akash Jain and Mark O’Neill, November 2020. However, this explosion of APIs also poses a growing challenge: How do developers discover, learn about, and manage so many APIs without becoming overwhelmed?

There are many solutions that help users search and discover public APIs and allow for endpoints to be tested before use. However, enterprise developers often find it hard to search and access APIs that are offered internally across teams or by partner organizations. Sometimes even testing internally-offered APIs can carry additional overhead. 

With that in mind, we are delighted to launch API portal for VMware Tanzu, a new way for enterprise developers to discover and manage internal APIs. 

API portal for API managers and consumers

Driving internal API adoption starts with powerful discovery and search, which is why API portal provides a simplified user interface that lets consumers quickly identify available APIs.

API managers can register OpenAPI-compliant APIs to create a single window view for API consumers. Leveraging the OpenAPI format enables consistent overviews of APIs with verbs, response/error codes, and routes. API portal also allows API managers to 

  • define API caching and customize refresh frequency

  • connect multiple API portals that may belong to different lines of businesses, environments (e.g., dev, test, prod), or organizations (e.g., partners, service providers)

API consumers can then view all registered APIs and quickly understand the functionality behind each of them. They can also

  • search APIs by keywords and review documentation to see verbs, headers, security information, and response codes associated with individual APIs

  • try out endpoints and receive sample responses without writing a single line of code!

Our beta customers loved the collaboration that API portal enabled, both between API producers and consumers and across teams and departments.

API portal landing page, which lists API groups that belong to different microservices

Users can review verbs, headers, parameters, and response codes for each API

API portal displays OpenAPI documentation automagically

Last year, we launched VMware Spring Cloud Gateway for Kubernetes and VMware Tanzu, which allows teams to route, secure, and monitor API requests. API portal can seamlessly integrate with any Spring Cloud Gateway instances you may be running. For example, API managers can leverage Spring Cloud Gateway’s API route configuration capabilities to automatically generate OpenAPI documentation, which is then dynamically shared with API portal. 

To demonstrate this capability, we created a sample Spring animal rescue application to build API documentation in Kubernetes.

This example of a frontend API configuration file will add API routes to a Spring Cloud Gateway instance: 

On Kubernetes, an API manager can add an ingress to the Spring Cloud Gateway operator to expose the generated OpenAPI endpoint.

The API manager can get the source URL from the Spring Cloud Gateway operator and add it to api-portal-server deployment in the installation namespace. 

To access detailed workflows for VMware Tanzu Application Service environments, please refer to this documentation

Deploy multiple API portals across use cases and users

Many API management solutions available today are based on a centralized design whereby a central IT team manages the installation and deployment of the API gateway. This creates burdens for those teams, such as having to update route configuration on behalf of API teams and apply complex central security policies across teams. As developers aren’t able to publish and access APIs themselves, the API development process slows down and self-service is eliminated.

API portal can be deployed in a distributed model designed to support scale and self-service:

  • Individual teams can install and deploy their own API portal instances to manage their own API route configuration

  • API managers can configure any number of API portal instances in various environments (e.g., dev, test, prod) and share custom views of those portals with different user groups—such as lines of businesses—based on how the overall business is organized

  • Both development teams and API managers can easily set up API portal with their OpenID Connect provider to support single sign-on 

Get started with API portal today

We are excited to see how you will use API portal to discover and manage your APIs! API portal is available for download on Tanzu Network today. To get started, be sure to take the following steps:

Watch the Spring Cloud Gateway webinar and What Is/How To featuring API portal, both with Kelly Fitzpatrick, industry analyst at RedMonk, and Chris Sterling, product manager at VMware.

About the Author

Sunny Xia

Sunny Xia is the product manager focused on API development experiences and efficiency at VMware. For more than six years, she has worked with enterprises to transfer legacy systems to modern digital platforms with APIs as the core part of the strategy. Sunny has brought her passion for API development and empathy to developers to Tanzu's product portfolio.

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