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Charge your APIs Volume 4: Streamlining API Operations with Continuous Integration

31.5.2023 | 6 minutes of reading time

API operations refer to the maintenance and management of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) throughout their lifecycle. This includes everything from design and development to testing, deployment, and ongoing maintenance.

Continuous Integration

Continuous integration (CI) is the practice of continuously testing and integrating code changes into a software project to ensure that the product is always up-to-date and functional. CI is important for API operations because it helps streamline the development and deployment process, reducing the risk of errors and downtime.

We will explore how to integrate CI into your API development workflow and how it can improve your API operations. Through this, you will learn how to effectively manage and maintain your APIs to ensure optimal performance and user satisfaction.


To begin, it is crucial to have a solid understanding of the different stages of API development. This includes designing and creating APIs, testing them, deploying them, and providing ongoing maintenance and support. Each stage has its own unique requirements and challenges, and it is important to have a robust process in place that ensures each stage is executed efficiently and effectively.

One of the key benefits of CI is that it helps to automate many of the time-consuming and error-prone tasks that are associated with API development, such as testing and deployment. By building automated testing into your CI pipeline, you can quickly and easily identify any issues or errors in your code, allowing you to address them before they cause major problems down the line.

Another important aspect of CI is the ability to monitor your APIs in real-time. This involves tracking key metrics such as uptime, response times, and error rates, and using this data to continuously improve the performance and reliability of your APIs. By having this level of visibility into your API operations, you can quickly identify any issues or bottlenecks that are impacting performance and take action to address them.

Overall, the integration of CI into your API development workflow can significantly improve your API operations, streamlining the development and deployment process while also improving the reliability and performance of your APIs. Whether you are just starting out with API development or are looking to improve your existing processes, CI is an invaluable tool that should be a key component of your API operations strategy.

Getting your hands dirty with Github Actions

Now comes the obligatory change in practice, which shows that the introduction of APIOps is feasible in just a few steps. We will also see how much we increase the often quoted developer experience with APIOps. From which the business success is derived again.

Let's see how we can set up a CI pipeline using GitHub Actions with our chosen tools.

Step 1: Create a New GitHub Repository

The first step to setting up our CI pipeline is to create a new GitHub repository. This repository will hold our API code, along with the configuration for our CI pipeline. You can create a new repository by clicking on the '+' icon on your GitHub dashboard and selecting 'New repository'.

Step 2: Set up GitHub Actions

Once your repository is set up, it's time to configure GitHub Actions. Navigate to the 'Actions' tab in your repository, click on 'New workflow', and then on 'Set up a workflow yourself'. You'll be presented with a YAML file where you can define your CI pipeline.

Step 3: Define the Workflow

In this YAML file, we'll define a workflow that automatically runs whenever we push code to our repository. This workflow will include steps to install our tools (Vacuum CLI and Portman CLI), lint our API specifications, and run tests. Below is an example of what this workflow could look like:

1name: APIOps CI Pipeline
3on: [push]
6  build:
7    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
9    steps:
10    - uses: actions/checkout@v2
12    - name: Install Vacuum CLI
13      run: npm install -g vacuum-cli
15    - name: Install Portman CLI
16      run: npm install -g portman
18    - name: Run Vacuum CLI for linting
19      run: vacuum validate ./path-to-your-api-spec-file.yaml
21    - name: Run Portman tests
22      run: portman --cliOptionsFile portman-cli-options.json

Ensure to replace ./path-to-your-api-spec-file.yaml and portman-cli-options.json with the actual path to your API specification file and Portman CLI options file respectively.

Step 4: Reusable Workflows

Reusable workflows are a relatively new feature in GitHub Actions that allows you to maintain a single workflow in one of your repositories and then reference it from other repositories. It can significantly reduce duplication and promote best practices across multiple projects. To make the above workflow reusable across other repositories, you need to define it in a .github/workflows directory of a public repository. Here is an example:

1name: 'APIOps CI Pipeline'
3  workflow_call:
4    inputs:
5      spec-file:
6        required: true
7        type: string
8    secrets:
9      token:
10        required: true
13  build:
14    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
16    steps:
17    - uses: actions/checkout@v2
19    - name: Install Vacuum CLI
20      run: npm install -g vacuum-cli
22    - name: Install Portman CLI
23      run: npm install -g portman
25    - name: Run Vacuum CLI for linting
26      run: vacuum validate ${{ inputs.spec-file }}
28    - name: Run Portman tests
29      run: portman --cliOptionsFile portman-cli-options.json

This workflow can now be referenced in another repository as follows:

1name: 'Use Reusable CI Pipeline'
2on: [push, pull_request]
5  call-workflow:
6    uses: your-org/your-repo/.github/workflows/apiops-ci-pipeline.yaml@main
7    secrets:
8      token: ${{ secrets.token }}
9    with:
10      spec-file: ./path-to-your-api-spec-file.yaml

Replace your-org/your-repo with the GitHub organization and repository where you have defined the reusable workflow. Also, ensure to replace ./path-to-your-api-spec-file.yaml with the actual path to your API specification file.

This setup allows your CI pipeline to automatically lint your API specifications and run tests every time you push code to your repository. With this pipeline in place, you can catch issues early, improve the quality of your APIs, and ultimately enhance the developer experience.

APIOps signifies a paradigm shift in how we manage APIs, automating and streamlining processes, fostering collaboration, and encouraging continuous improvement. By adopting APIOps and setting up an automated CI pipeline, you can ensure that your APIs are always at their best, ready to serve your business needs and drive your digital success.


Embracing APIOps and integrating it into our development processes has proven to be a game-changer. Its alignment with Continuous Integration and other automated procedures amplifies the productivity and efficiency of our workflows. The ability to spot potential issues early on and address them head-on aids in ensuring the robustness and reliability of our APIs.

Through this hands-on exploration of setting up a CI pipeline on GitHub using the Vacuum CLI linter and Portman CLI, we've demonstrated how APIOps can be seamlessly implemented in a real-world scenario. By making these workflows reusable, we've also showcased how APIOps encourages scalable and maintainable practices that can be replicated across various projects and teams.

As APIs continue to be a driving force in the technological landscape, integrating APIOps into our arsenal will undoubtedly be a key ingredient for success. By combining rigorous standards, cutting-edge tools, and the principles of continuous improvement, APIOps stands as a beacon of effective API management. Whether you're just starting out or looking to refine your existing processes, APIOps is a worthwhile investment for any forward-thinking developer or organisation.

In the end, I hope this blog post has enlightened you on the significance of APIOps, inspired you to delve deeper into this methodology, and equipped you with the knowledge to implement a hands-on approach to your API management. The journey to master APIOps is undoubtedly an adventurous one, filled with learning, innovation, and continuous growth. Happy APIOps journey!


GitHub - codecentric/github-apiops-pipeline: An APIOps Pipeline for Github

GitHub Actions Documentation - GitHub Docs

Charge your APIs Volume 2 - Guide your teams to achieve value-adding APIs

Charge your APIs Volume 3: Optimizing API Testing with Contract Testing

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