If you are a developer, or just working in IT, you have most certainly heard of API. Normally, when creating software or an application, there is a set of protocols and tools implemented to create a connection between the different systems. That’s what an API does.
In this article, I will tell you more about API gateway, and its multiple uses, especially the Amazon API Gateway, which is the most on-demand API.
What is an API Gateway and how does it integrate with AWS?
API Gateway is a very powerful tool, that can be considered as the front door that leads your applications into the most secure path to access data and the other features and functionalities from your backend services.
It is some sort of bridge of communication between all the services connected together. We all know microservice applications contain many services connected together by a gateway, this one is a much more powerful one as it gives the developer the opportunity to benefit from other services made by AWS.
So, to make it simpler. AWS API Gateway is an API management tool that helps developers to create, publish, and manage multiple APIs for their applications.
And as I said, this tool allows the user to link their applications to other AWS services, like DynamoDB, and also handles tasks like authentication, rate limiting, and caching, and can generate client SDKs for different programming languages.
What Are the main use cases of the Amazon API Gateway?
Amazon API Gateway is not so famous for no reason. It has so many main use cases, making it indispensable:
Creating and managing RESTful and WebSocket APIs:
As I said before, API Gateway is a tool that allows developers to create, publish, and manage APIs for their applications that can be accessed by external users via the internet.
API Gateway has an additional feature, which is the ability to be integrated with other AWS services such as Lambda, DynamoDB, and S3, to create serverless architectures and build powerful applications.
Authentication and authorization:
Additing authentication and authorization services are a great plus to insure your security, and API Gateway allows developers to include it among other services.
Rate limiting and caching:
API Gateway can be used to control the frequency of requests made to an API, and to cache responses as a key performance to make improvements in the future.
Generating client SDKs:
As microservice applications use a combination of so many languages, is it important for API Gateway to be able to generate client SDKs for a multitude of programming languages. This will definitely make it easier for developers to rightfully use the functionality of an API in their projects.
Monitoring and logging:
One of the key options that help developers monitor and troubleshoot the performance of their APIs are metrics and loggings, which API Gateway provides in detail.
The key features of API Gateway in AWS include:
API Gateway in AWS has so many key features, which adds up to the many reasons why it is so on-demand:
Create, publish and manage APIs:
This part comes back to what was said about how the API Gateway allows developers to create, publish and manage APIs for their applications.
API Gateway can be integrated with other AWS services.
Authentication and authorization:
As we said before, these two services are important to assure good security, and API Gateway supports various authentication methods such as AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), and Amazon Cognito.
API Gateway supports HTTPS and SSL/TLS mutual authentication, which are the key services for good security, in terms of web services, and domains.
Caching and Throttling:
To be able to prevent overloading at the back-end level, API Gateway caches the responses of each request. This will help improve the performance and reduce the frequency of requests made to an API.
Monitoring and logging:
API Gateway provides detailed metrics and logging, which can be used by developers to monitor and troubleshoot the performance of APIs.
API Gateway can generate client SDKs for different programming languages.
Custom Domain Name:
While supporting configuration names with HTTPS is good, having a custom domain name is very important to assure the authenticity and also on the marketing level of the products.
Deployment and versioning:
This is a great feature as we see how DevOps becomes very used in the IT world, and by multiple companies. So API Gateway makes sure to create multiple versions of the same API and deploy them separately.
What is an API Endpoint and why is it used?
To make it simple. An endpoint is one end of a communication channel. When an API interacts with another system, the touchpoints of this communication are considered endpoints. It typically includes a unique URL that represents an API resource and is used to interact with the API.
It works as a letter sent by messenger, to a specific destination. This letter normally has the details of the request made by the sender, specifying which service they want to access, and the functionalities they want to benefit from the API.
The functionalities in question are actions like retrieving data, creating or updating resources, or performing some other action.
For example, if a user wants to retrieve weather data, their request will be sent to a base URL of "https://weather-service.com" and a resource path of "/current-conditions". Of course, depending on the request, they can add some parameters for additional information to the URL.
What are the different types of API Endpoints in AWS?
In AWS, there are 5 main types of API endpoints in API Gateway:
These are endpoints specific to the region you belong to. This is usually the default type of endpoint for an API Gateway.
Contrary to the first one, these are global, which guarantees a good performance. They use CloudFront, which is a global Content Delivery Network (CDN) service. This tool will be the sender of requests to the closes regional endpoint to you.
This type of endpoint is useful if you want to keep your API traffic within your VPC for security, which is a great tool and hack to avoid cyberattacks and intrusions.
These endpoints have a specific role, which is to allow you to create, manage and access WebSocket APIs.
These endpoints allow you to create, manage and access HTTP APIs, which will guarantee you a good security level.
How much does an API Gateway in AWS cost?
For the pricing, as with any other service, it depends on so many factors like the number of requests made to the API, the amount of data transferred, and the use of additional features such as caching and throttling, that we talked about before.
But generally, it comes to these simple charges, based on the usage of course:
You should also be aware that some features might cost you more than the simple charges I mentioned, like caching and custom domain names. Some services like Lambda can cost you more.
There is a pricing calculator made by AWS that helps you get an estimate of your monthly cost, based on your usages, features, and services among others.
How to safely deploy and manage an AWS API Gateway?
Now, if you want to safely deploy and manage your AWS API Gateway, here are some tips you can follow:
By following these tips, you will be able to benefit from all the services and features of AWS API Gateway, which will help you have a safe deployment, and also be able to manage and control all your APIs in security and with optimum use.
What are the benefits of using API Gateway with AWS?
This tool has so many benefits, in so many aspects, but I will try to organize it into categories:
These are just the main sample of benefits AWS API Gateway has. Depending on how you use it, you can gain a lot from this tool if you know how to use it well.
You should know that AWS is n constant development, and you should be up to date for any statements regarding new features, that will get you to benefit more from API Gateway.
In conclusion, AWS API Gateway is a powerful tool that allows developers to create, publish, and manage APIs for their applications. It enables backend integration with other AWS services to create serverless architectures and build powerful applications.
Additionally, it offers a range of features such as authentication and authorization, rate limiting and caching, generating client SDKs, monitoring and logging, and more.
It is an essential tool for managing communication and data exchange between different systems and applications and is critical for building robust and secure applications.