MuleSoft API Lifecycle Management

Learn about the lifecycle of an API managed with MuleSoft, from the design and build stages, to implementation and management.

Learn about the lifecycle of an API managed with MuleSoft, from the design and build stages, to implementation and management.

thumbnail   By: Arun Yaligar


1. Introduction

In today’s competitive landscape, businesses need to make decisions quickly; whether it’s a new marketing campaign, a new product enhancement, a new partner portal, or an employee productivity app, businesses are competing on speed. What is needed is flexibility. And what better way to do this than to create purposeful, agile application building blocks that can be easily pieced together with well-designed, well-managed APIs to quickly create what is needed. Connecting these building blocks results in a network of interchangeable functionality — a network of sub-functions, or applications. We call it the application network.

Let’s future-proof ourselves and hedge against uncertainty by creating these building blocks, and then allow for the flexibility to rapidly piece them together on an on-demand basis.

1.1 Welcome to the Application Network

The application network is the future. It emerges from the creation of multiple API-enabled microservices; connecting these microservices with a strategic API approach results in a composable network. The network allows the flexibility to rapidly piece together different services for multiple functionalities an on-demand basis, providing business agility and a robust platform for innovation.

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1.2 The Anatomy of an Application Building Block

An application network is composed of application building blocks. These have multiple elements. and it’s critical to separate the concerns between each. The API interface, the API implementation, and the API management aspects all have their own specific, unique lifecycles to follow. This building block should itself be treated as a product since these characteristics are common to what a good product should also have. Therefore, it makes sense to treat a building block from a product-centric approach.

We see this product-centric lifecycle as having three distinct stages: design, implementation, and management.

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1.3 The Lifecycle of an Application Building Block

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2. Design

2.1 How to Design an API

Designing an API starts with an acknowledgment ahead of time that the API production process will start from an outside-in perspective, beginning with the “interface/contract” of the API. That is to say, let us first decide what the API will look and behave like before we actually begin to code the backend logic.

Often, developers build APIs without knowing the API has been validated and accepted. As a result, there is always this air of uncertainty: “Is this what my consuming developers want?”

2.2 “Outside-In” Done Right

API developers must design the user interface of the API first – this is also known as the API contract. This approach is typically known as a “design-first” approach, and it should follow a deliberate API design lifecycle in order to optimize for the best API experience. As a result, it is important to be able to do this in a human-readable fashion — to specify the contract in a way that humans can easily digest.

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2.3 Soliciting Feedback on the API’s Design

At this point in the process, the API designer (i.e. the designer of the API contract) is ready to have the API validated and tested by the API consumers (i.e. a client mobile app/website developer, or another API provider in some cases).

The currency of conversation between both parties will be interactive tools such as the API Notebook and interactive documentation, to name a few. There are many other tools that can be referenced from the raml.org site. This process of validation may be brief or extended over numerous iterations.

2.4 Repeatable Design

Any well-designed API will have repeatability, as well as repeatability across other APIs. This can easily be encapsulated into best practice patterns both at the structural level of the API (nouns/resources), as well as at the method level (verbs). So as API developers go about the design process, it is important to be able to discover and share repeatable patterns.

3. Implementation

3.1 Connect Systematically, Not in an Ad-Hoc Fashion

API implementation is a critical piece in enabling a next-generation enterprise. Enabling for dozens, potentially even hundreds or thousands of APIs to be connected down to a backend and connected to each other will be key. This must be done in a systematic manner (as opposed to point-to-point code).

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3.2 Put API Design Principles and Best Practices in a Common Repository

Benefits of a best practices repository:
• Increase business agility.
• Share best practices with reusable templates and logic.
• Leverage best practice patterns.
• Rapidly deploy APIs: fail fast, succeed faster.
• Minimize point-to-point logic and future-proof for stability.

3.3 Testing the API Implementation

At this point in the process, the API provider (i.e. the developer behind the API implementation) is ready to have the “guts” of the API tested. MUnit is MuleSoft’s testing solution, which is incorporated into the full application building block lifecycle. Test automation tools are critical here, as this integrates into the DevOps processes of continuous
delivery and deployment.

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4.1 Embrace DevOps

Embracing modern DevOps-centric processes and tooling is critical to reducing mean time-to-production, and this should apply to your application building blocks as well.

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Once the application building block has been assembled and tested, deployment should be as easy as the click of a button.

The use of a hybrid integration platform that is lightweight, easy to install, and suitable for CI/CD workflows is key. The ability to have seamless support for dependency management, testing, version control, and automated deployment tooling should be an assumption.

4.2 Govern and Secure All Traffic

It is critical to ensure your application building blocks are following best practices in security and
architectural governance by applying policies to them at runtime. Monitoring all traffic is equally critical because it just takes just one weak link to bring the ship down.

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4.3 Don’t Forget About the Discoverability and On-Ramp

Imagine your company with hundreds — if not thousands — of APIs in your expansive application network. Imagine you’re adding several new ones every day.

Being able to appropriately publish them so the consuming developer can find, research, and understand them easily could make or break your entire program. There is no point in building something that won’t ever be found, let alone used.

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4.4 Just Like Any Product, Application Building Blocks Change

Building blocks will change. It’s a WHEN, not an IF, so be ready for it, which requires a carefully planned set of policies, procedures and the right platform to seamlessly migrate clients across new versions of APIs.

Getting this migration wrong will affect your customers. That’s not a risk worth taking.

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It takes a village to have an application network.

So, Now What?

For more background on full lifecycle API management, take a look at the Gartner Magic Quadrant, in which MuleSoft is a Leader. You can also take a look at their further resources on API strategy and API development.


Arun Yaligar is a MuleSoft Developer at ennVee, a professional services firm headquartered in Naperville, Illinois (outside of Chicago). Learn more about ennVee: www.ennvee.com/about.html

This article was originally posted to The Integration Zone 

ennVee is attending MIDHEUG Alliance 2017

ennVee will be attending this year’s Midwest Higher Education User Group (MIDHEUG) conference from October 12th-13th at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, IL.

ennVee will be attending this year’s Midwest Higher Education User Group (MIDHEUG) conference from October 12th-13th at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, IL. This is the first year that we are attending, and we look forward to connecting.

The Midwest Regional User Group (MIDHEUG) is a HEUG online community that includes Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The annual Alliance conference will bring together higher education institutions in the region who use Oracle applications/technology.

We will highlight our current business intelligence initiatives and Oracle Discoverer migrations for colleges and universities across the US. If you’re attending, stop by our booth and pick up some freebies.

Register to attend at https://www.heug.org/e/in/eid=349

Oracle E-Business Suite 12.2.7 Available Now

Oracle has announced the latest release of Oracle E-Business Suite, R12.2.7.

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September 8th, 2017
Oracle has announced the latest release of Oracle E-Business Suite, R12.2.7. Download and installation information can be found here.

New Features and Improvements

Release 12.2.7 provides a myriad of updates and enhancements across the entire suite. Highlights include:

  • Statutory and regulatory updates
  • Stability, performance, and security enhancements
  • All one-off patches made available on 11.5.10, 12.0, 12.1.3, and earlier 12.2 releases
  • Extended support for themes (earlier 12.2 releases): recurring revenue business models, user interface modernization, and increased operational efficiency
  • New functional and technical capabilities for iProcurement, Procurement, Project Procurement, Projects, Order Management, Logistics, Manufacturing, Value Chain Planning, Asset Management, Service, Financials, HCM, and Tools and Technology.

For all new features and improvements introduced in release 12.2.7, click here.

 

R12.2.x Upgrade Automation?

All non-standard objects (Database, Setup, RICEFW) and custom code must be remediated to enable online patching (ADOP), and comply to new architectural standards in 12.2. As a result, project timelines, cost, and resource requirements can increase tremendously, turning the manual-laden upgrade process into a trial by fire. ennVee ENNABLE™ has helped organizations simplify and accelerate the 12.2.x upgrade process by automating each phase from assessment, to segregation, remediation, migration, and testing.

Learn more at ennvee.com/ennable.html and contact us for a free live demonstration at connect@ennvee.com.

White Paper: BigMachines CPQ and Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) Integration

Integrating Oracle BigMachines (CPQ) Cloud and E-Business Suite to streamline the configure-to-quote-to-order process

Overview

The client is a leading manufacturer of physical infrastructure for Data Center, Enterprise, and Industrial environments with operations throughout 112 countries.

The demand for configure-to-order capabilities led the client to transition a major portion of their business to configure-to-order and assemble-to-order (CTO/ATO), while retaining current make-to-stock capabilities for the remainder of the business.

ennVee was asked to deliver a cost-effective solution that would address all business requirements and effectively leverage their investment in IT systems. ennVee proposed an Oracle CPQ-BigMachines-based solution that integrates with their existing Oracle E-Business Suite ERP system.

Solution Approach

Our approach was to implement Oracle BigMachines (BM) Quote to Oracle EBS Order Import Process within the client application architecture framework. This would enable CTO/ATO capabilities, thereby streamlining the entire configure-to-quote-to-order process, including product selection, configuration, pricing, quoting, ordering, and approval workflows.

The integration would enable the client to utilize a single set of master product data between both applications and to automatically transfer data between both systems, including header-level quote totals and metadata, product line items, opportunity values, contact data, etc.

ennVee provided a single solution for the entire inquiry-to-order process, reducing duplicate data, generating more accurate sales reporting, and enabling its customers to easily submit orders online, convert quotes to orders, and approve orders through a customized workflow.

Solution Process

  1. Item Master Outbound Interface between Oracle EBS and Oracle BM
  2. Item Master related attributes Outbound Interface with Oracle BM
  3. Model BOM outbound Interface between Oracle EBS and Oracle BM
  4. Configured Part Item Inbound Interface between Oracle BM and Oracle EBS
  5. Get Net Price (Distributor Price) in BM CPQ from EBS
  6. Oracle BM Quote to Oracle EBS Order Import Process

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Topology

  • Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) R12.x
  • BigMachines CPQ Cloud
  • Oracle Fusion Middleware
  • Oracle Forms / Reports / SQL Developer

Business Benefits

  • Client quotes to customers increased 10-fold, which increased revenue generation by 120%
  • Shortened quoting process from 3-7 days to less than one hour
  • Sales increased by 400% with zero quote error rates

This was accomplished by:

  • Streamlining multiple hand-offs for approval via automated workflow
  • Eliminating redundant data re-entry into multiple systems
  • Minimizing manual and time-intensive proposal generation
  • Maintaining consistent quote and proposal formats
  • Automating updates of CRM system with quote and order information
  • Tracking quote success rate and improving forecasts and sales reporting

 


Download the full white paper

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Are you experiencing any integration challenges? Do you want to get it right the first time? Let’s talk pain points. 

 

Client Case Study: Customer Access Portal

Creating a complete online ordering system that integrates to the corporate website, and back-office Oracle ERP system.

Client Snapshot

  • Industry-leading manufacturer and supplier of brake system components
  • 5,100 employees worldwide
  • $550 million (USD) annual revenue
  • Location: Chicago, IL (USA)

Project Overview

The client manufactures and sells brake system components via B2B, B2E, and B2C channels. Their primary objective was to build an interactive online ordering system for customers called the Customer Access Portal or, “CAP”. The desired system needed to be secure, provide multi-lingual capabilities, a polished UI for ease of use, and maintain consistent performance site-wide.

ennVee partnered with the client to build the complete ordering system that would ultimately increase customer satisfaction.  Additionally, the online ordering system was to be linked to the client’s corporate website, and integrated to their back-office Oracle ERP system.

Topology

  • HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, Ajax, Java, REST and SOAP Web Services

  • Oracle and MS SQL Server

  • Oracle E-Business Suite R12

  • Magnolia CMS

  • Photoshop, Sublime, Eclipse, Apache Tomcat

  • Load balanced instances: Development (2), Staging (2), Production (2)


Download the full case study

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Are you experiencing an issue with a current custom development project? Would you like assistance with an upcoming project? Contact us. 

 

 

Client Case Study: Technician Center Portal

ennVee partners with an industry-leading manufacturer to solidify partner loyalty by creating an exclusive, interactive “Technician Portal”, where registered technicians can provide feedback and inputs that benefit the greater partner community.

Client Snapshot

  • Industry-leading manufacturer and supplier of brake system components
  • 5,100 employees worldwide
  • $550 million (USD) annual revenue
  • Location: Chicago, IL (USA)

Project Overview

The client’s primary objective was to create a portal that would provide relevant information to registered technicians, and a reward system to encourage them to utilize the system. This secure, access-controlled “Technician Center” Portal would be the nerve center for product and part information, and ultimately help solidify partner loyalty.

Topology

  • HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, Ajax, Java, REST Web Services
  • MS SQL Server
  • Magnolia CMS
  • Photoshop, Sublime, Eclipse, Apache Tomcat
  • Load balanced instances: Development (2), Staging (2), Production (2) 

Download the full case study

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Are you experiencing an issue with a current custom development project? Would you like assistance with an upcoming project? Contact us. 

 

Integrating NetSuite and Tableau using MuleSoft AnyPoint Studio

We integrated NetSuite with Tableau to enhance our analysis and reporting capabilities. Download the white paper to learn how you can too.

ennVee TechnoGroup uses an internal employee time sheet system that was designed and built on the NetSuite ERP platform. We decided to build the NetSuite to Tableau integration using MuleSoft. As a result, our analysis and reporting capabilities were significantly enhanced.

Fill out the form to download the NetSuite integration to Tableau white paper.