The API Product Lifecycle

Learn about the six phases that constitute the API product lifecycle.

Earlier, we learned about the product life cycle, where we take product ideas through discovery, inception, growth, maturity, and decline. When we apply that concept to APIs-as-products, we get an API product life cycle. APIs are developed in an iterative way, with features focused on the first set of customers who will use them. The best way to learn about customers is to get them to engage, and most of the time, API development teams will do just that.

At first, like any other product, there might just be an idea for building an API. This is a good time to put together an API proposal to evaluate the use cases that the prospective API could serve in order to establish the features of the first iteration of the API.

An API goes through six phases in its life cycle, from the time of inception to the state of being a generally available product ready for all customers to use and trust. Once an API has been published, it must be maintained so that customers can use it reliably. Eventually, it’s possible that APIs may also be deprecated or retired to be replaced by a newer version, and this version will also go through the six phases of being published.

The following infographic outlines the API product life cycle.

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