How to Use Your API Science One-Month Free Trial (Part 3)

When you’ve created and configured your first API Science monitor, you’ll want to configure automated notifications to your team when something involving a critical external or internal API goes awry. You’ll also want to study the performance of your critical APIs using API Science reports.

Configuring API Monitor Notifications

While your customers access your product on a 24/7 basis, your data center probably runs unattended during off-work hours. So, what happens if an API (internal or external) that’s critical for delivering your product to customers goes down (or awry, according to your monitor settings) during your team’s off-work hours?

Anytime your product is inaccessible, or it produces invalid or incomprehensible results, the customer experience suffers, along with your product’s reputation. Therefore, it’s critical for your team to know as soon as possible if a critical API has suddenly gone down or started to return invalid results. If this happens with an internal API, your software development team needs to get to work immediately, whatever the hour, to address the issue. If a critical external API has issues, it’s important for you to be able to notify your customers that your product is presently down due to issues with an external data feed — if you can do that, your customers will know your product is presently down, but they’ll also realize it’s not your fault.

API Science includes an option to alert your team whenever an API you monitor is down or fails to pass the tests you’ve specified in your monitor settings. Going to the Dashboard and clicking on one of your monitors will bring you to the summary status page for the monitor. At the bottom of that page (below “Uptime History”), there is an “Alert Rules” section:

monitor-alerts-configuration

The Alert Rules let you configure when and how an alert should be issued, when an API test fails:

  • WHEN VALIDATION FAILS: select “If any call fails (connectivity issue or 5xx)”
  • NOTIFY: select or add a contact to be notified
  • ALERT ON UP: click if you’d like an alert to be sent also when the API test returns to success
  • THRESHOLD: defines how many consecutive validation failures must occur before an alert is sent

For more details see my post Configuring API Science API Monitor Notifications.

API Monitor Reports

When you are logged into your API Science account, at the top of the page you will see a “Reports” navigation link. Clicking this brings you to the “Create Report” page:

create-report

From here, you can run four different reports for any of your monitors, over selectable time ranges. Some reports have the option to include only runs that produced an error. The time range and errors-only options are useful for getting close-up views of periods where users were noticing slow performance in your product, or even experiencing outages from where they were accessing your product.

The available reports are:

  • Check History Report: a high-level summary of the API tests that occurred for the selected monitor during the specified time period;
  • Performance Report: aggregates performance information and displays the data in plotted and tabular format;
  • Alert History Report: provides a table listing the alerts that were sent by the selected monitor during the specified period;
  • Uptime History Report: bins the tests performed by an API into time periods when the tested API was found to be up or down, and provides the start and end time for each period.

API Science’s reports deliver cogent analysis of your API monitoring from the points of view of individual checks, performance times, uptime, and alerts. While your API Dashboard provides a top-level overview of the current state of your APIs and what’s happened in terms of performance and uptime in the past 24 hours, the reports enable you to see what your customers have experienced in aggregate over periods of days.

For more details, see my post API Science API Monitor Reports,

–Kevin Farnham