Nowadays, almost every company uses software and analytics tools to assist daily operations.
These tools provide critical support for their decision-making - especially for
software-as-a-service companies, to help them stay ahead of the competition. Another possible
way to provide better, faster, and more reliable services is by implementing microservices.
API-enabled microservices is a trending software design architecture that breaks apart
monolithic systems. Often, applications are built altogether in one big code repository.
Currently, there’s a paradigm shift, where applications are constructed with a more functional
approach, delivering the functionalities as a service in a single web application − commonly
known as microservices. Each service serves a specific functionality independent of the other
functionalities present in the application.
An API or a microservice is an independent process that provides a unique business capability.
Communication between these services often happens via the HTTP protocol. Generally, it uses a
REST API or a simple messaging queue.
What is an API Catalog?
You might be familiar with a variety of catalogs. For example, many stores release product
catalogs that list the products they sell. The listings in a product catalog have information,
including a short description, pictures, and price. Just like a product catalog, an API catalog
is a collection of various listings of APIs. Companies or teams use API catalogs to organize
private internal APIs.
A catalog allows developers to discover and use internal APIs rather than having to search many
places or contact multiple people to find APIs. In a large company, developers might not even
know what internal APIs already exist, but an API catalog can help solve this problem.
Relevance of API Catalog
Companies often run into the problem of different teams creating duplicate APIs. An API catalog
solves this problem by having one hub for developers and users. Instead of creating a new API
for every need, developers can just search the catalog and reuse the same.
Following are the major benefits of having an API catalog in an organization:
- Avoid duplicate APIs
- Grant easy access for developers and end-users
- Track analytics
- Easily discover APIs
Characteristics of API Catalog
An API catalog should have the following characteristics -
A catalog can help create documentation that is clear and consistently formatted. This
makes it much easier for developers to know where to find documentation and what to
expect. An effective API catalog makes it easy to format and maintain documentation.
Flexible search functionality is another main characteristic of an API catalog. Since
the main purpose of the catalog is to allow developers to find APIs, the ability to
search and sort through various API listings is important.
Other key considerations include who can access the API catalog and setting role-based
API catalog implementations take different forms. It is even possible to have multiple
different internal API catalogs for different categories or teams. For example, a
company might have 3 different internal API catalogs — one for frontend developers, one
for backend developers, and one that all developers in the company can access.
MuleSoft’s API Catalog CLI
As part of operating in a multi-cloud world ridden with diverse architectures, organizations are
investing in four areas:
- Global visibility by providing access to all APIs
- High-performing and versatile gateways to support modern architectures
- Consistent security and governance while operating in diverse environments
- Vibrant API ecosystems to maximize the value of API investments
MuleSoft introduced API catalog CLI to help developers automatically discover API
specifications built anywhere, including their related metadata and documentation using CI/CD
Steps to publish the API Specification to MuleSoft Anypoint Exchange using API catalog CLI
- Download and install the latest LTS version of NodeJS
- Run the following command from the terminal:
npm install -g api-catalog-cli@latest
- To publish the API spec to exchange from the command line using api-catalog-cli the below
permission has to be enabled in the Anypoint Platform.
- Go to the root directory of the specification file (OAS/RAML) to create the Description
- Execute the api-catalog command to create the Descriptor File.
- Publishing the API specification to Exchange.
Anypoint Exchange – Single Source of Truth
MuleSoft Anypoint Exchange is a curated catalog of reusable assets such as APIs, policies, API spec
fragments, API groups, templates, examples, custom assets, and integration assets such as connectors. You
can catalog (publish), share, discover, learn about, and reuse assets within your organization to facilitate
collaboration, boost productivity, and promote standards.
Catalog your APIs, reusable components, and Connectors
MuleSoft provides users means to automatically catalog any API – built in Anypoint Platform or
elsewhere – in Anypoint Exchange using their existing development lifecycles with a CI/CD plugin. This
plugin can be dropped into a CI/CD pipeline that extracts the relevant metadata and documentation and
catalogs the API directly into Anypoint Exchange. This is a more scalable approach to cataloging and
managing an API. Anypoint Platform also provides a way to manually upload specifications or sync GitHub
repositories to read specifications. With these capabilities, Anypoint Exchange can act as your single
source of truth for all enterprise APIs.
Standardize your APIs to get them ready for consumption
Once your APIs are in Anypoint Exchange, API product managers can create a frictionless onboarding and
consumption experience for each API by creating standard metadata to ensure discoverability (e.g., tags,
categories), clearly articulated value proposition, and top-notch reference documentation.
Additionally, architects from security teams can ensure consistent quality and conformance to governance
standards. Anypoint Exchange works seamlessly with Anypoint API
Governance to flag APIs that do not conform to organization-specific standards. These flags can
guide API product managers to filter APIs that are ready for internal and external consumption.
Catalogs in the API environment centralize the knowledge about your APIs. Additionally, they ensure proper
documentation of the life cycle statuses of each API and reusability by avoiding duplicate implementation,
thereby saving time and effort. By implementing Anypoint API governance, the API catalog platform ensures
the APIs are adhering to the organizational standards.