Building API platforms that delight – part 2: Distributed development teams

Nobody wants to waste time and energy when developing an app or service. After all, the more efficient your development processes, the faster your time to value.

Using an API platform can deliver big rewards when it comes to developing applications and services, helping overcome a plethora of issues when creating and managing APIs as the primary interface to digital products. Get in front of potential issues by familiarising yourself with the pains of API development (we’ve outlined them below). Then get ready to enjoy the benefits that using an API platform in your software development lifecycle can deliver.

How an API platform helps 

An API platform can help in a variety of ways when you’re developing an app or service. It can abstract away and automate administrative requirements relating to security, versioning, cataloguing, testing, monitoring and more. As a result, you can focus on the business logic of your app, the performance and usefulness it delivers and how you’re going to market or improve it. Specifically, use of an API platform during your API development means faster flow by:

  • Getting APIs up to spec and delivered more rapidly and easily, using organisational API best practice guidelines and templating capabilities
  • Collaborating on, mocking and testing APIs in the comfort of well-defined development guardrails in secure test environments
  • Deploying, monitoring and publishing APIs with ease, using automated APIOps pipelines and use of OpenAPI standards.

An abstracted Tyk API platform supported app or service API development workflow 

How an API platform makes software development easier

If you’re currently going through the API development lifecycle, it’s time to consider the efficiencies an API platform can achieve. Before we look at those in detail, let’s consider the API pain points you may need to overcome – and how to do so.


API management pain point API platform strategy to overcome it
You need to set up your own API sandbox testing environment and tooling. An API platform with a user-friendly sandbox environment and automated tooling can fast-track you through the testing process without cutting any corners, meaning you can undertake thorough testing more efficiently.
Your API lacks documentation, making it harder for potential consumers to understand and adopt it. Look for an API experience platform with a built-in developer portal that makes your APIs and documentation easy to discover.
You’re losing time due to poor error handling, meaning you’re focusing on trying to identify problems and their causes rather than solve them. Detailed API telemetry provided by your platform is the answer here. Implementing OpenTelemetry tracing, for example, means you can see and understand what’s going wrong in detail. Then you can focus your energy on finding solutions, rather than playing whack-a-mole.
You’re not an API design expert, yet you want your application to be accessible (and useful) to your eventual consumers. Done right, the use of API specification templates and other API development guardrails baked into your API platform means you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
API security is not your forte, but you’re expected to be responsible for which approach is the best one to take. An API platform can help you easily implement robust security procedures, including watertight authorisation and authentication controls . So you don’t have to lie awake at night worrying. At least, not about your API security.
You’re not sure which API versioning strategy to adopt and are fretting about breaking changes. With the right API platform, you can roll forward and back seamlessly, using full version lifecycle management for your APIs, with an exceptional level of granular control.


Get ready for some big wins

It might feel like that’s quite a big list of API management pain points to address, but a fit-for-purpose API platform can quickly tick them off your list of worries. It can mean getting your app or service APIs to market faster, being confident in their performance and reliability and delivering more valuable API consumer experiences.

API standards templates and low code/no code interfaces are a good example of how an API platform can speed up your application time to market. These provide easily customisable, off-the-shelf starting points that enable you to follow predetermined API best practices (such as authentication types or standard transformation middlewares) within your organisation.

The efficiency gains that API templates deliver can help streamline the development process significantly. On top of this, modern API platforms introduce a range of efficiencies and automations throughout the API development lifecycle, meaning you can get where you’re going faster but without any loss of quality or attention to detail. API platforms with well defined APIOps ‘golden paths’ make it super simple to follow  infra-as-code best practice (such as GitOps or CI/CD). So when it comes to getting APIs to production, the platform does the heavy lifting so you don’t have to.

Enhanced API logs, distributed tracing and monitoring are also major gains when you use an API platform to guide your app development, maintenance and optimisation. These provide detailed insights into the health and performance of your APIs, driving easier troubleshooting and better decision-making during the development process. Using OpenTelemetry, for example, you can take your observability to the next level – hence us flagging it up as one of the top three API trends in 2024.

Another big win is the creativity that you can bring to enhancing your products when you use an API platform. Harnessing the power of superior observability means you can better understand how consumers are using your product, then shape future features and versions of it around their needs. It allows you to be creative while staying perfectly attuned to your users’ needs, which is an excellent way to ensure your underlying product delivers maximum value – and maximum returns.

Developing apps and services using Tyk

As a highly performant, battle-tested API platform, Tyk brings plenty to the table when it comes to application and service API development. Fast, scalable and flexible, we enable you to get to market rapidly and drive more revenue with best-in-class API product development.

Why not book a demo to discover first-hand how you can take your app development to the next level with Tyk? And, while you’re here, check out our API platform maturity model – where you can gain insights into your team’s maturity level, establish clear objectives for growth, allocate resources intelligently, and cultivate a culture of collaboration.

Richard Johnston
Product Research at Tyk | + posts

Rich has a passion for helping businesses develop strategic API initiatives. With 14 years of experience in digital strategy development, and implementation, he is dedicated to empowering you with the knowledge and skills needed to craft a winning API platform strategy.