What Is API Lifecycle – How Can RapidAPI Help?

Mon Jul 25 2022

8 min read

APIs have become fundamental to every software organization. API lifecycle gives directions for managing an API from when it is created to when it is retired.

In modern API programs, APIs take the driving seat; they become the foundation, and all implementations revolve around their consumption. This approach ensures that an application's complete functionality is accessed through APIs. We need to build consistent and reusable APIs to implement this, and a lot of thinking goes into creating, managing, and consuming these APIs. API lifecycle comes to the rescue here, providing a clear-cut plan for the entire lifespan of an API. So. we can take advantage of this lifecycle to create solid API solutions and avoid potential barriers and mistakes.

Why Follow The API Lifecycle?

Why should you care for the API lifecycle? Before we go further and present a breakdown of an API lifecycle’s stages, here are some immediate benefits of adhering to the API lifecycle.

Tracking API Status

In an API organization, a lot of work depends on the current state of the API. API lifecycle helps to track the status of the API. It lets managers understand how prepared it is and tells developers its current operating state. While keeping the different teams on the same page, the API lifecycle also helps in reducing the number of errors, reduce the cost, and time management.

Standardization of APIs

API lifecycle provides a well-defined plan that makes it easier to conform to predefined API standards. This translates to better APIs and a smooth developer experience.

API Evolution

As technology advances and new features are introduced, your API will need to keep up with the changes. API lifecycle streamlines this evolution using a proper plan for API versioning.

API First

The API-first approach gives APIs a foundational role and has many benefits to it. API lifecycle provides a way to implement it.


All teams can collaborate effectively during all the lifecycle stages reducing developer friction and accelerating time to market.

API Lifecycle Stages

From a higher level, the lifecycle of an API involves three key phases — create, control, and consume. Keeping them in mind, we can break down the API lifecycle into these seven stages:

  1. Design
  2. Develop
  3. Publish
  4. Secure
  5. Discover
  6. Monitor
  7. Deprecate

At first glance, these stages may seem overwhelming, but for every step of the API lifecycle, RapidAPI is there to back you up. Let’s cover these stages.


An API’s lifecycle starts with planning and designing the API in question. After deciding the type of architecture (REST, SOAP, GraphQL, etc.), target audience, and kind of API (public, private, or partner), it is time to lay out the API requirements in an API specification file.


A common format for specifying APIs is the OpenAPI Spec. It provides a standard interface that allows both humans and computers to discover and understand the service's capabilities without access to source code or documentation. With RapidAPI for providers, you can import the OpenAPI file and specify your API.


Mock APIs imitate and represent the real API by emulating the responses, response behaviors, and endpoints it will have in production. Mock servers are generated to test the API requirements early in the lifecycle, even before the API is ready. Ideally, API mocking should not consume too much of the lifecycle. That is why RapidAPI Hub empowers you to set up mocking for your API in no time. The interactive component below uses a mock API we built in five minutes using RapidAPI.

Choose an endpoint:
Get mock data of a single user
Get mock data of all the users


When its design is ready, it is time to develop the API. A team of API developers works on implementing the API according to the decisions and specifications in the design plan. An organized development phase includes implementation using a language or framework of choice, debugging, testing and documentation.


In order to accelerate API delivery, developers need to debug, test and interact with the API while it is being developed. It is done to ensure that all the API operations are correct before it goes into production. Streamlined development workflows are required for this, where RapidAPI Client comes in. It is a feature-packed API developer tool to collaboratively develop, debug, test, and interact with APIs.


API development is a collaborative task and is mostly done by a focused team of developers. Therefore team management, versioning, branching, sharing, and real-time updates are simple yet critical requirements for the development phase. RapidAPI Client offers all these features, and if you want the collaboration to extend beyond the development phase, you can use RapidAPI for teams to manage the entire organization.


Testing and development go side-by-side. A lifecycle that incorporates testing ensures that the API satisfies the required objectives and also accelerates its time to production. An ideal testing workflow includes functional testing, validation, and performance testing integrated using a CI/CD pipeline. RapidAPI Testing is a full suite of API testing solutions that offers testing workflows and seamlessly integrates with CI/CD pipelines with popular platforms like Jenkins, GitHub, CircleCI, and more.


At the end of the development phase, it is time to deploy the finished API to development, staging, and production environments. Then, we can make it available to the end-users by publishing it. Whether your API is intended for internal use or external use, you need an API platform where you can publish your API and expose it to your end consumer.

You can build your platform, implementing security, gateways, monitoring, access controls, and authentication all by yourself. Or, you can use the industry-leading API platform RapidAPI Hub, which has all these features and then some. It allows you to manage all your internal and external APIs in one place and monitor them.


The secure phase is a key part of the API lifecycle and should never be neglected. It starts with authentication and access control to stop unwanted identities from accessing the API. RapidAPI provides a standard authentication and allows you to double up on it. More advanced security features include request schema validation, proxy timeout, threat protection against injection, limiting request size, etc.

The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) has listed 10 API security vulnerabilities that can break your API. It is critical to perform regular security testing of your API to avoid these vulnerabilities. Fortunately, RapidAPI protects against all of these vulnerabilities from within the dashboard.


In this phase, the objective is to expose your API to developers and potential API consumers to increase the adoption of your API. We can also call it the monetize phase for cases when you want to sell your API as a product. Today, more and more companies are using third-party APIs to abstract everything from authentication and geolocation to payments. So, API developers need a platform where they can showcase and monetize their third-party APIs.

Publishing your API on RapidAPI Hub will put it in front of over 3 million developers. The interactive component below can give you an idea of the potential income you can generate by accessing all these developers. Whether your goal is to increase your API’s discovery, adoption, or monetization, there is a huge potential here.

Loading component...


Now, when the API is up and running, it will be connected to multiple consumer applications that rely on it for data. In other words, these applications trust the API to return exactly what they ask for. The API should be reliable to keep this trust. So, the API enters the monitoring phase, where all parameters are checked to ensure the API is working correctly.

API Analytics

With RapidAPI, API monitoring is as easy as it gets. It has a dashboard with all sorts of information like the total number of API calls, average error rate, average latency, etc. You can also filter all this analytical data based on different endpoints. API analytics also logs all the API calls your user makes. This helps you address the edge cases and introduce bug fixes when the API call fails.

API Alerts

In the event of an issue with the API, you would want to be immediately notified. You can set custom alerts for your API inside RapidAPI Provider. These alerts can prevent catastrophes by informing you immediately once an alert metric crosses a threshold.


Like every technology, APIs are expanded and updated over time to support new features and business values. In the API industry, backward compatibility is a significant concern, which is why older versions must work long enough after newer versions are launched. Therefore, after proper planning and monitoring, the older version or API enters the last stage, where it is retired.

Versioning is easy with RapidAPI Provider. For each version, you can define different base URLs, endpoints, transformations, and more. You can build on top of an existing version or separately, providing backward compatibility to your end-users.