API Management

The ABCs of APIs: Basic Apigee Platform Concepts

Sometimes you just need some basic questions answered about APIs: What’s an API proxy? What’s a resource? How do developers, apps, and products fit together in Apigee Edge? When you understand the basic concepts, you’re better equipped to design and build your API ecosystem exactly the way you want it.

We’ve put together a modest library of bite-sized concepts videos to help you start building your Edge understanding. Here are the first five:

Learn how the API proxy—the facade that goes in front of your API—enables configurable policies, which in turn enable API security, traffic management, and analytics services.
Learn about API resources—the “children” of an API proxy. They are URL-accessible objects that exist in the back-end. Adding them to a proxy results in a dedicated flow to each resource, which expands the possibilities of actions that can be performed for that resource.

Learn about the three-step process of publishing your APIs. This is how you get your APIs into the hands of developers.
Learn about monetizing APIs. It requires the establishment of a transaction recording policy, a package for products you want to monetize, and rate plans.
Learn about the Apigee Edge interface. Create an Apigee account for access to App Services, Mobile Analytics, API Consoles, and the Edge API Platform.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, don’t forget to check out our Getting Started section in the docs to learn how to create an Edge account, dive deeper into more product concepts, and get your hands dirty with tutorials.

 

Apigee Edge Update: A Fine-Grained Look at API Performance

Now that you’ve built out your APIs, do you know how they’re doing? If you’re a regular user of the Apigee Edge dashboard, you may have already noticed some interesting changes to the Analytics graphs and reports. If you haven’t been there for a while, come check it out and see if you discover something new about your APIs among these new features.

Traffic composition reports

The traffic composition report provides a quick snapshot of your top 10 APIs, apps, products, and developers. Use it to quickly determine your most popular APIs and the impact from key apps and developers. This is key to identifying your most prolific contributors so you can engage them in nurturing programs.

Proxy performance, latency analysis, and error analysis reports

The proxy performance report helps you see API proxy traffic patterns and processing times. You can quickly see how much traffic your APIs generate, along with any traffic errors. You can also determine how long it takes for API calls to be processed in both Apigee Edge and backend targets.

An important aspect of monitoring API performance is the ability to measure their response times. The latency analysis report displays a breakdown of the response times for both the request and response paths through Apigee Edge, along with the amount of time spent in the backend targets.

The error analysis report tells you about the response codes received by clients apps from Apigee Edge along with the response codes received from the backend targets. Studying the response codes and their breakdown by API proxy will enable you to quickly isolate issues that could affect the experience of apps that depend upon those APIs.

API proxy analytics

The API proxies page provides a new analytics tab where you can interactively study behavior of individual API proxies based on any dimension. Simply looking at trends of the key API metrics is often not sufficient. You want to drill down and create filtered views based on dimensions that enable you to segment that data in different ways. We've enhanced our interactive charts by enabling you to select from a set of eight metrics (including traffic, errors, data exchange, response times, and transaction rates), and selecting a point on the graph to further drill down and filter the results for individual API proxies based on any of the dozens of dimension variables, such as developer app, location, or target IP.

We hope these improvements facilitate a better understanding of your APIs and enable you to better engage with your developers.

Santa Claus Corp.: Powering Worldwide Joy with APIs

It has been an amazing 2014 for us and for our customers, but at year’s end, we’d like to highlight a customer who has yet to launch. Santa Claus Corp. is known worldwide for its amazing execution and global gift delivery. In this customer story, read how the company took advantage of many offerings to ensure a connected, predictive, digital Christmas.

 

 

2014 Apigee Product Highlights

At this special time of year, we took a moment to reflect upon some of our product highlights. These represent capabilities that we're most proud of in each of our respective user segments. Specifically:


SmartDocs enables API teams to design model-driven APIs and sync the docs

For developers, check out our investment in Node.js, connectors, and Apigee-127

For business leaders, we built a solid platform with scalability and operational analytics

For data scientists, Apigee Insights unleashes the power of data via predictive analytics.

 

Watch the full version here:

We look forward to an even more exciting digital journey in 2015. Join us!

 

The Digital Accelerator Interview: Abhi Dhar, Walgreens

Walgreens chief technology officer Abhi Dhar spoke with us at I ♥ APIs 2014 after his company was named Top Digital Accelerator.

Having served as a CIO at his former employer, Abhi offered a unique perspective on how digital leadership roles are changing as businesses like Walgreens increasingly operate in the digital economy.

“You can call them a CTO, you can call them a chief digital officer—it depends on your business … but what is extremely important is you have to understand data, you have to understand technology capability, you have to understand consumer value propositions, you need to understand economics intimately. And then, in that particular scrum, you represent one point of view."

Because of the new demands of doing business digitally, he explained, traditional titles must evolve.

“There is an opportunity to merge a lot of functions that were traditionally IT or traditionally business into unified roles,” he said.

When Dhar joined Walgreens in 2009, the board of the largest U.S. drug store chain had already committed to “doubling down” on their investment in digital. Their new CTO was charged with boosting the company’s mobile efforts. In this position, Dhar handles both the engineering and commercial responsibilities for mobile, giving him yet another unique perspective on the convergence of roles.

“It is no longer about IT and business,” he said. “It’s about a consumer value proposition enabled by technology.”

Walgreens partnered with Apigee to help drive that philosophy. That said, the relationship goes well-beyond developing an API strategy.

“We could have done a lot of this stuff ourselves,” Dhar said. “We wanted to partner with a company that lived in this ecosystem, and understood the changes that were coming in this ecosystem, which is fundamentally changing all the time. So we partnered with Apigee.”

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Apigee Edge Update: New Node.js Features

We recently released a scheduled update of Apigee Edge, which gives free, open access to the same enterprise-grade API platform used by industry leaders like Walgreens, eBay, and AT&T.

This update adds some new features to Apigee’s set of resources that enables you to build Node.js applications that run on Edge.

Using apigeetool: the new CLI

Apigeetool is the CLI utility we use to deploy both Node.js code and regular proxies to Edge. Even though everything apigeetool does is in our public API, the process of packaging up a Node.js app and its dependencies entails many steps; combining it into a single tool simplifies things.

The original version of apigeetool is built in Python, and a lot of people have been using it. However, as part of the Apigee-127 project, we’ve built a new version in Node.js. It’s better and faster in a few ways:

  • Because it’s built in Node.js, it’s easy to perform certain tasks in parallel, which makes it run faster.

  • It breaks up the contents of the node_modules folder into different files and uploads them separately. This means that Node.js apps that were too large to deploy using the old Python tool can work with the new Node.js tool.

  • It can be embedded in larger Node.js apps, like the a127 CLI utility, which is also a part of the Apigee-127 project.

  • When you set the -R flag, it can automatically run npm on Edge in the cloud, as described below.


Installing the tool is simple if you’ve already installed Node.js and npm. Just run:

sudo npm install -g apigeetool

And here is an example of the command that will deploy a Node.js application to Apigee:

$ apigeetool deploynodeapp -n myNodeApp -d . -m server.js -o myorg -e test -b myNodeApp -u ntesla -p myPassword -R

For more details about apigeetool and the -R flag, see "Deploying a standalone Node.js app."

Run npm on Edge in the cloud

Since we first introduced Node.js support, Edge has required that Node.js app dependencies (all the stuff in the node_modules folder) be uploaded when the app is deployed. This caused problems for some of our users because the modules—and the entire collection of modules—often grew too large, causing deployments to fail. This dependency upload requirement also meant that with every deployment to Apigee, apigeetool needed to push several megabytes up to the Apigee cloud.

Now enter a recent release of Apigee Edge that supports the ability to run npm in the cloud. This reduces the amount of stuff that needs to be uploaded for apps.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Use the new Node.js-based version of apigeetool to deploy your app.

  2. Apigeetool uploads everything in your app, with the exception of the node_modules folder.

  3. Once everything’s been uploaded, apigeetool makes an API call to Apigee that runs the npm install command. This installs all of the dependencies referenced in your app’s package.json in the Apigee cloud.

  4. App deployment proceeds as usual.

This “npm in the cloud” feature has an API, of course, which makes it possible to run and rerun npm on the same revision of an application. It supports a number of npm commands:

  • install

  • update

  • pack

  • outdated

  • prune

For information about using the npm API, see the Manage Node Packaged Modules SmartDocs.

Securely store sensitive data

Node.js apps that use the Volos Connectors often need to do things like connect to databases. These connections often require security credentials, such as passwords. Previously, this meant carefully storing credentials in the code or in a file and trying to ensure that they aren’t accidentally emailed or pushed to GitHub.

The Edge secure store feature is designed to help solve this problem. You can use it to upload secure values, such as passwords, to Edge via the vaults API. The secure values are encrypted and stored as entries in vaults, which are secure storage areas in the secure store. The secure values are decrypted and made available only to Node.js applications that are running inside the correct context and that use the apigee-access module to retrieve them.

Vaults can be scoped to either the organization or environment levels. For example, each Edge organization has a set of secure stores and each environment, such as test, dev, or prod, has an additional store. In this way, organizations and environments that have different security requirements for different backends can store different secure values.

For more information about the secure store, see “Using the secure store.”  To learn more of the basics around Node.js on Apigee Edge, check out this webcast with Greg Brail (@gbrail) of Apigee.

To get all of the details, see our Apigee Node.js docs.

The Apigee-SAP Partnership: Accelerating Digital Business

We are super excited to announce a strategic partnership with SAP, a world leader in enterprise software. Under this partnership, SAP will offer its cloud and on-premises customers a comprehensive API management product built on the Apigee Edge digital acceleration platform.

SAP is committed to enabling enterprises to embrace mobility and use data to create high-value customer interactions. With Apigee Edge, they are helping customers take giant steps in advancing their mobile initiatives by extending their SAP investments—using digital assets to grow their customer, partner, and developer relationships to impact market opportunities and revenue streams.

This partnership underscores Apigee’s technology leadership in helping businesses build and operate end-to-end mobile initiatives using APIs and data, and it will accelerate the adoption of APIs and digital business globally.

Most important, it’s a huge win for customers of both SAP and Apigee and for enterprises in every sector, worldwide. 

View the press release.