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Amazon API Gateway grants access to cloud resources

Connect external applications to AWS products through the Amazon API Gateway, which allows users to define how service requests and transfers are handled.

Many organizations deploy workloads, such as a database or email server, into the public cloud to serve internal...

business needs. But as public cloud acceptance and use increases, organizations are launching other customer-facing services to the public cloud. The challenge is that developers need a programmatic way to give third-party software developers access to cloud resources and business services. The Amazon API Gateway service connects outside applications to the data, logic and compute resources hosted in AWS.

The Amazon API Gateway allows outside applications to access Amazon Web Services (AWS), including AWS Elastic Beanstalk and EC2 instances, as well as event-driven code running on AWS Lambda. Amazon API Gateway can also call public non-AWS operations located across the Internet, allowing the service to use a growing variety of public compute services.

In most cases, new Representational State Transfer (REST) APIs are created and edited through the Amazon API Gateway console. Creators can select the API's name, HTTP verb (such as GET or PUT) and integration type (such as a URL), and then they define how requests and transfers are handled. They can also set up security parameters and then deploy the API to a stage where it can be cached and throttled while accepting calls.

Colloquially known as its "API economy," Amazon Web Services is oriented toward application program interfaces, which allows applications to connect to AWS resources.

All that functionality is helpful, but developers may want to integrate with software that makes API calls. That's where software development kits come into play. AWS offers various SDKs covering a variety of languages and mobile platforms, all with an eye toward improving the cloud provider's development depth.

SDKs eliminate the need to work with REST API operations and provide downloadable working code systems. But, most importantly, SDKs allow developers to tinker with the functionality of AWS products in order to deploy them in a manner more befitting the enterprise.

On the developer's end, a software development kit (SDK) is also available for developers to download and integrate with software that will call the APIs. Once the SDK is installed on the developers' platform, they can write the code granting access to cloud resources via the Amazon APIs. The SDK supports mobile application development under Android and iOS, though Java support is also available for mobile and conventional computer access such as through Web-based applications.

It is possible to move data into and out of AWS products through the Amazon API Gateway using HTTP-based formats including JavaScript Object Notation and Extensible Markup Language. The API can be configured to translate formats, allowing services to handle different data types (offering more flexibility for software developers employing the new APIs).

Next Steps

New Amazon tools ease app development

Manage your public and private APIs

API tools allow RESTful and Web interfaces to play nice

Secure API calls with Amazon API Gateway

This was last published in September 2015

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