What Is an API Catalog? Everything You Need To Know

Madhu Murali
Madhu Murali

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APIs are a key part of any successful online business. An API, or application program interface, is a convenient way to make a platform easier to use. 

Person creating an API Catalog for their website

APIs are quickly becoming a popular way to enhance customer experience. It’s more important now than ever to have proper API documentation because an API catalog can help you organize your APIs for your growing business.

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Let’s say, for example, you want to use WhatsApp for your business. You can add the WhatsApp Business API to create a company profile and chat with customers.  

If you’re still thinking to yourself, “what in the world is an API?” No problem. Here’s the ultimate guide to accessing and using APIs.

Now that we know a little bit more about APIs, let’s explore the idea of organizing them through an API catalog. 

Why do you need an API Catalog?

API catalogs are a useful tool in many ways. You can track which APIs are being used the most, or organize them by ease of use. 

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 alike. Instead of creating a new API for every need, developers can just search the catalog.

There are two types of APIs, and both benefit from being cataloged. An internal API can only be accessed by authorized users.

Internal APIs use catalogs to:

  • Avoid duplicate APIs
  • Grant easy access for developers and end-users
  • Track analytics

An external API can be accessed by both developers and end-users. 

Sometimes users have a better grasp of their own needs than developers. This makes them a powerful resource for an organization. External APIs have all the earlier-mentioned benefits of internal APIs along with some of their own.

External APIs use catalogs to:

  • Be user-friendly 
  • Be SEO-friendly API catalogs are easily discoverable by search engines
  • Avoid duplicate APIs
  • Grant easy access for developers and end-users
  • Track analytics

Catalogs are just the beginning when it comes to organizing your APIs. Learn everything you need to know about API management.

API Catalog Example

Here’s an example of how Facebook uses an API Catalog. Take note of how Facebook has structured each API by category. This makes the catalog easy to access and find what you’re looking for whether you’re a developer or an end-user.

Also take note that Facebook has made its API Catalog public. This is because Facebook gains from working with third-party developers. With APIs, its users can tailor Facebook for their own specific needs. This is a fast way to improve Facebook’s customer experience without lifting a finger.

How to Create an API Catalog

Creating an API catalog is relatively straightforward. Figure out which of your company’s APIs need to be organized, and use an API manager tool to create a catalog. Don't forget to make your catalog well-structured and easy to find and access.

This will make things much easier for your developers and end-users if relevant.

Here are a few tools you can use:

If you don’t want to use any tools, all you need to do is add a page to your website for APIs. Structure your page in a way that’s clean and easy to read. You can refer again to Facebook as an example of what this could look like.

Getting Started With API Catalogs

APIs are becoming more commonplace as more businesses go online. Get ahead; start using APIs and catalog them at your organization for an improved customer experience and more advanced web development features.

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