Azure API Center: Your Comprehensive API Inventory and Governance Solution
Published May 06 2024 08:30 AM 6,010 Views

In today’s API-first digital ecosystem, organizations are challenged with an ever-expanding network of APIs. This proliferation - known as API sprawl - poses significant challenges in API governance, security, compliance, and reuse. Without a centralized inventory, APIs can become isolated, leading to poor API reuse, lack of alignment with organizational API design and organizational processes, as well as increased vulnerability to security breaches.


Azure API Center provides centralized API inventory for seamless API discovery, reuse, and governance regardless of API type, lifecycle stage, or deployment location. We are excited to share that Azure API Center is now Generally Available (GA)! Azure API Center addresses a critical need for centralized API inventory, ensuring that the extraordinary growth of APIs enhances rather than hinders the development process:


  • Build a complete and current catalog of all APIs - regardless of their type, stage in their lifecycle, or deployment location - to enable API discovery, consumption, and governance.

  • Enable API best practices at-scale and enforce API design rules across your organization to empower API developers to create APIs in line with these standards, ensuring quality and uniformity across all APIs produced.

  • Foster reusability of your APIs by enabling API consumers to quickly discover and consume the right APIs.

  • Improve API producer and consumer developer experience with our Visual Studio Code extension.

Build a Complete & Current API Inventory

API Center enables organization to build a complete and current API inventory, granting API platform teams enhanced transparency and governance over the API ecosystem. APIs in API Center contain built-in metadata including API title, description, type, lifecycle stage, and owner, in addition to information on versions, deployments, and specification definitions.


  • Build a complete API inventory tailored to organizational needs and requirements using the Azure portal, Azure CLI, or Visual Studio Code.

  • Accelerate cataloging for APIs in Azure API Management with the capability to import from Azure API Management into API Center via a single CLI command. This enables the establishment of a centralized API Center across various distinct API Management services.

  • Maintain an up-to-date API inventory aligned with API progression through CI/CD pipelines in GitHub and Azure DevOps.

  • Supplement API Center's built-in metadata with additional custom metadata to monitor essential API information specific to the organization, including source control repositories, business units, or API process milestones like security reviews.

  • Search and filter within the Azure portal’s API catalog to oversee the API inventory, details, and enforce governance rules (such as all preview APIs requiring completion of security review).

At-Scale API Governance

As the number of APIs in your organization scales, it becomes more difficult to ensure APIs follow a common API design philosophy. API Center makes it easy to enforce API design best practices across your organization:


  • Enforce API design consistency across your organization with API AnalysisAzure API Center provides governance tooling that checks API consistency and compliance with design standards across all APIs. This includes automated reports on all your RESTful APIs, ensuring that your APIs adhere to best practices and industry standards. API Analysis performs a thorough analysis of all API definitions, identifying potential issues and suggesting improvements. This preemptive approach to API quality enhances the reliability of your API landscape.
  • Customize API design rules to ensure every API complies with your organization's specific standards and practices. Custom rules enable API platform teams to ensure APIs are high-quality, follow consistent design principles, and follow security best-practices by building your own rules or leveraging the large ecosystem of existing open-source rulesets.


Streamline Your Development: Improving Your API Developer Experience

With the demand for applications in most organizations outpacing team bandwidth to deliver those applications, fostering API discovery and consumption is key to maximizing development productivity and reducing development time and cost.


API Center's Visual Studio Code extension makes it easy for API consumers to quickly discover, try, and consume APIs from your organization's API catalog:

  • Browse and search the organizational API catalog to find the right API, fast. Developers can discover APIs in the flow of how they already work - inside Visual Studio Code - to facilitate API reuse.
  • View API documentation inline directly within Visual Studio Code.
  • Try and test APIs using industry-standard tools like REST Client allowing for immediate testing and experimentation.
  • Generate language-idiomatic SDKs for your developer's language of choice, including C#, Java, JavaScript, TypeScript, Python, and more. SDK generation is powered by Microsoft Kiota - the same engine that powers SDKs for many Microsoft products, including GitHub SDKs.
To maximize success of your API governance efforts, it's critical to shift-left governance early into the API development cycle. This approach allows developers to create APIs correctly from the beginning, saving them from wasted development effort mitigating non-compliant APIs later in the development process. API Center's Visual Studio Code experience includes critical capabilities for API developers including:
  • Evaluating API designs against organizational rules as the API is developed in Visual Studio Code. Set an active API style guide, based on previously defined organizational governance rules. Once the style guide is active, any OpenAPI or AsyncAPI-based specification file opened will automatically trigger a linting operation. Results are shown inline in the Visual Studio Code editor and in the Problems window.
  • As APIs evolve, changes can inadvertently break existing functionalities. Early detection of breaking changes ensures that APIs remain reliable and function as expected, preserving the trust of end-users and stakeholders. The API Center extension includes breaking change detection for OpenAPI specifications, allowing developers to choose two API specification documents to compare and highlights any breaking changes directly in the editor for easy identification and resolution.
Many API programs focus exclusively on API platform teams. Success of API programs relies on developer buy-in, and the API Center extension for Visual Studio Code ensures API producers and consumers are successful with your organization's API platform.

Elevating API Discovery with the API Center Portal

API Center Portal is a web portal that empowers developers and stakeholders to seamlessly discover and engage with APIs. Our reference implementation of the API Center portal enables API platform teams to provide a web-based API discovery and consumption experience to API consumers.
  • Browse, filter, and search for APIs in your API catalog. Explore API definitions by downloading and importing them into your favorite developer tools (like Postman) or opening in the API Center extension for Visual Studio Code.
  • Flexibility to deploy to any cloud hosting environment, or with one step to Azure Static Web Apps. The API Center Portal can be deployed in a single step using GitHub Actions to Azure Static Web Apps. Leverage the power of Azure to refine the portal to the unique hosting needs of your team, including private links and custom domains. Of course, the API Center Portal can be deployed to whatever cloud stack works best for your team.
  • Make the API Center Portal your own. The API Center portal is open-source and powered by React to enable you to customize the portal to fit your organization's needs.
API Center Portal is yet another great option for API discovery for organizations that prefer to enable web-based discovery and consumption experiences for APIs.

Unlock Innovation: Get started with Azure API Center now!

Azure API Center is now generally available, offering a great suite of tools for API inventory and governance. As a key resource for organizations, it enables the full utilization of APIs to drive innovation and operational efficiency. Join the API revolution - Don’t miss out on the opportunity to transform your digital strategy. With Azure API Center, you’re not just adopting a service; you’re embracing an API-first strategy to innovation. Get started today!
Share Your Thoughts! Your insights are invaluable to us. We're eager to hear what you think about Azure API Center and to understand your needs. Is there something specific that would make you and your organization even more successful? Your feedback is the key to our continuous improvement.
If you prefer a more personal touch, feel free to reach out via LinkedIn to our product team at Julia Kasper | LinkedIn, Pierce Boggan | LinkedIn. Thank you for being a part of our journey!

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Last update:
‎May 06 2024 01:45 PM
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