How Is an API Developer Portal Different From API Documentation?

An application programming interface (API) is a computing interface that allows different applications to communicate. It determines the types of calls and requests that can be made between systems, how various data formats should be used, standards to follow, and more. APIs can allow your website to communicate directly with websites owned by third parties, for example. They can also enable systems you’re running in your organization to communicate and share data.

Integrations like this are a huge part of digital transformation, and more companies are looking to integrate their solutions to make big data management easier. API documentation essentially creates a user manual explaining the API’s functions and all the tools you’ll need to work with it. In addition, standardized description formats have made it easier to automate the process, so developers can easily create and update descriptions. Documentation is a great resource, and it’s helped increase awareness of APIs and improve adoption rates, but it’s just one of the resources available in an API portal.


API developer portal bridges producers (creators of APIs) and consumers (developers who work with APIs). The portal lets developers sign up to use APIs and receive all release notes and updates about them. Portals also generate user keys, provide access to the correct users, provide education about each interface’s functionality, and integrate with existing systems. A portal is kind of like a storefront for APIs.

It’s the one-stop shop where developers can learn about and search for whatever products they need. While API providers’ goal is naturally to sell their products, a great developer portal will offer a way for customers to test an API before buying or signing up for it. Developers generally use testing products to ensure their already running systems will work with them. Testing allows them to send request calls to each one and record the time to respond and other useful information.


Why Should You Use a Developer Portal?

You may be wondering if there are any benefits for providers beyond encouraging adoption. There are several. You may be wondering if there are any benefits for providers beyond encouraging adoption. There are several. The developers’ benefits are pretty clear, and developers can even use FAQ sections and discussion boards to get further assistance from third parties offering APIs. Business leaders can use the portal to determine how your APIs are helping your business in each area. They can use this information to reach out to potential partners to showcase how they can help them.

Similarly, your marketing department can use the data to showcase your interfaces’ value when speaking to other organizations. Your technical writers can also improve their documentation by exploring everything available in the portal. Lastly, all your approved employees should access the developer portal to understand everything on offer better and improve their customer service.

create APIs worthy of it. These days, they often involve REST APIs since they use open standards and aren’t bound to any specific implementation style. Much like starting a business, you’ll need to determine the target audience for your interfaces and come up with ways that they can solve your client’s problems better than existing resources. Documentation and portals are excellent resources for developers looking for new APIs, but portals have more comprehensive offerings. Once you have your products, you can place them all in one catalog in your portal.


Writer. Extreme twitter advocate. Hipster-friendly food expert. Internet aficionado. Earned praised for my work analyzing Yugos for the government. Spent 2002-2008 short selling glucose with no outside help. Spent several months developing strategies for xylophones in Ocean City, NJ. What gets me going now is supervising the production of cod in Cuba. Spoke at an international conference about supervising the production of inflatable dolls in Hanford, CA. Spent two years short selling cabbage in Tampa, FL.