The API Diet for Strong, Healthy, and Lean API Management in 2023.

In 2023., you should take your API on a diet! It sounds like a new years resolution but it is an actual possibility. Here's how!

a year ago   •   7 min read

By Leigh Wallett
Table of contents

If software is eating the world, then APIs are the desert. They are bite size, delicious, and hard to resist.

The challenge is making your APIs like a healthy fruit dessert and not a high-calorie layered custard cake with cream.

APIs are so easy to make, it can be hard to keep things simple. Especially when it comes to managing them.

To create a valuable API product, you will need some complexity. There may be relationships between APIs, a myriad of data sources, and the need for speed, security, and scale.

Good API management is meant to keep your focus on the value of your API product. The challenge is there are so many API tools out there.  Before you know it you can be bloated with tools. Suddenly your job is managing the management of your APIs.

It can seem counterintuitive, but constraints can make your API products better.  An API diet if you like. In this blog, we’ll show you how to simplify your API management so you’re making healthy choices instead of being tempted to add layers of tools.

What is Lean API Management

Have you noticed how the most popular management styles are associated with body types? Lean and Agile. Luckily that works well for our diet metaphor. A healthy API is lean, strong, and flexible.

The concept of lean was first used in manufacturing. The focus is on minimizing waste and maximizing value. For APIs, a lean approach is one that is streamlined, efficient, and cost-effective.

Lean API management looks like a clear focus and priority based on value. This immediately helps to reduce waste. Especially when it comes to choosing which APIs to build and which tools to use. With a ruthless focus on value, it’s easier to stop distractions with edge-case scenarios and shiny new objects.

A clear understanding of value requires an iterative process. This means you can constantly test and validate your hypothesis on where you can add value and improve. Fast iterative cycles rely on strong collaboration between design, build, testing, and management.

Speed and quality are enhanced through automation. A lean approach includes automating manual tasks where possible.

Finally, monitoring is essential for lean management. Monitoring brings together your ability to focus on value, reduce waste, remove errors, and improve quality. This all results in a better product and experience for your customers.

Lean API management creates an efficient process. Part of that efficiency is streamlining your toolset.

The API Diet

Diets are notoriously hard to maintain. A lot of support is needed to keep up the motivation for such rigorous restrictions. The best way to stick to a diet is to have a clear goal in mind and a strong support system. Even better, it helps if the diet is easy to stick to. Here is the recipe you need for your API diet success.

Real-Time Transparent Data

What’s more important, weight loss or body fat count? Or could it be hormone balance? Or macro or micronutrient intake?

The most important thing is having real-time, transparent data. For APIs, the clue is in the I for the interface. Their job is to interface with data, systems, and tools. It’s essential to know what, when, where, how, and who those interfaces are working with.

There are plenty of tools that provide information on your API. There are tools for:

- uptime and speed
- some provide data on response size
- and others show if the response is working but don’t give any data on if the response is correct

If something does go wrong there is no way to quickly see the exact moment the problem occurred, from which device, or from where.

It is easy to create a bloated process to gather this data. You could look at Grafana, DataDog, Readme, Checkly and even check AWS logs or something similar, and still not have a clear picture of what's going on. You could spend valuable time on calls with users to retrace the steps they were taking. Depending on the problem, this may take, hours, weeks, months, or at some point, you just give up finding the problem.

Wouldn't it be great if you could slim down your API tool stack and start your API on a healthy diet? It is possible, mind you! Keep reading.  

Effective Communication and Collaboration

Collaboration is essential to create good API products, however, the more people involved, the more complex the communication. The 2022 State of the API report showed on average 15% of time is spent managing others who use APIs, meeting and collaborating on APIs.

It also showed that the number of people who work with APIs is growing. It’s no longer just back and front-end developers. Anyone from the CEO to customer success staff needs to know about APIs.

Who uses APIs

The number of people who need to know about your API is not going to get smaller. So how do you prevent communication from getting sluggish?

A tool like Treblle can act as the eyes, ears, and even mouth of your API. Let your API do the talking and reduce hours of meetings and conversations. Treblle provides enriched data that are presented in an easy-to-understand format.  

The data is as granular or collated as you need. From high-level insight like our unique Treblle API Score that shows how your APIs performance, security, and quality are doing at a glance.

With a score on a scale from 0 to 100 you can quickly see where the action is needed.

Now, is there a tool, or can you at least combine only 2 tools to get your team collaborating in a fast and efficient manner and at the same time give engineering team leads the ability to see how the team is performing at a glance?

If you could somehow combine those things, your API operations could get a bit more "athletic". It's much easier in faster to run a course with no obstacles. Just look at the running records from any athletic event.

Up to Date Documentation

Imagine if you could outsource exercise. We all know part of a balanced diet is moving more, but it requires discipline to make time to exercise each day.

In the world of our API diet, the regular maintenance of good physic doesn’t require any effort. It can be automated entirely!

Documentation is the physical embodiment of your API. 

A sharp-looking API needs to have up-to-date documentation with every minor or major change. This is how the backend team lets the frontend team know how to access information.

The frontend team needs to know if the date in the app they are building is presented in mm/dd/year or dd/mm/year or somehow else.

Just like regular exercise, keeping documents up to date is often not prioritized.

Out-of-date documents become useless to developers that need to use them.

There are certain tools that can help you with writing and presenting documentation. However, this might be a drain on your resources in 2023. It is yet another tool in your tech stack that is specialized for 1 thing and kind of marginally helps with some others. And even then, it still requires a team to handle setting the tools up, manually updating and so on. So it requires humans to do it.

We all know you should try to give the best developer experience possible, but you need help.

Could it be possible to have a tool that can be integrated into some of your stack, or is there a science-fiction-like tool that just does it all the way you wanted? Expertly. Easy to use. At a glance. That would be fantastic for your API diet.

More Money for what Matters

What more could you want than health, wealth, and happiness? The 3 things seem to come hand in hand. Healthy choices can lead to increased wealth, and who's not happier without financial worries?

Our API diet offers this promise. A lean API management approach reduces waste, increases efficiency, and focuses on value. It's the perfect approach for:

  • healthy APIs,
  • lower costs which mean increased wealth,
  • and less time wasted which means happier employees and customers  

To achieve this, change your focus from your process to your product. Only use tools that maximize your product value.

Waste comes in many forms. It can be time wasted moving between multiple tools, doing work manually, or waiting for decisions because of information bottlenecks.

To reduce waste, make conscious choices with your toolset. Use tools that do the work for you, make data transparent and provide multiple use cases.

Simplifying your tools reduces your costs, and gives you more money to spend on what matters. With the recent waves of layoffs, it’s critical to spend consciously.

Recipe: 5-Minute API Miracle Meal

The best part about our API diet is that it takes less than 5 minutes to get results. All you need to do is add the Treblle SDK to your API. This can be done in minutes. What’s more is that you can start for free!

You will get instant access to all of Treblle’s features. We don’t gatekeep for premium plans. We grow with you.

Start your API Diet Now!

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Our starter pack includes:
- our unprecedented API analytics,
- autogenerated API documentation,
- our unique Treblle API score,
- and access to our native Treblle app.


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