I’m a big fan of APIs (I even wrote an article on REST API Architecture – Best Practices) because in any given enterprise application in today’s modern world, the API is considered to be one of the key success factors in digital transformation of any business. When you have multiple APIs being exposed and being accessed by a number of entities, there has to be a way to manage those APIs without bursting onto a pain in the ass. That’s where the concept of API management comes into the picture. I have been using WSO2 API Manager for a while now and thought of exploring what are the other opportunities out there. Then I came across Tyk, an amazing product with a bunch of great functionalities.

What’s Tyk

As per their definition,

Tyk is an open source API Gateway that is fast, scalable and modern. Out of the box, Tyk offers an API Management Platform with an API Gateway, API Analytics, Developer Portal and API Management Dashboard.

The package includes pretty much everything you require to manage your APIs within your enterprise. It offers cloud, hybrid and on-premises deployments where I decided to go ahead with the 3rd option and deployed it in a DigitalOcean droplet. I’m running Tyk in a basic droplet with 512MB of memory; surprisingly it works very smoothly.

Installation

The installation documentation is very precise but lengthy compared to other API Managers where they offer single command installation. I had to go through a number of steps to get the Tyk up and running but it gave me an insight on what are the components that I’m installing and how do they work with other components in synergy. You can find the documentation here. If your deployment is successful you can go to this URL to make sure the Tyk is up and running.

You should get a screen like below.

TYK Login

Then enter the username and the password which was generated during the installation process and try to login. If you are successfully logged into the system you should get a screen like below.

TYK Dashboard

Above is the Tyk dashboard.

Tyk Tour

Let’s explore what’s available.

  • In the product as I perceive, they have given more focus to analytics which is good and bad at the same time. The advantage would be you have a holistic view on what’s happening while it has given less prominence (adequate enough) to the API management which should be the key focus of any API gateway. Given that it also provides greatly detailed reports which are really useful.
  • It has a developer dashboard which can function as a frontend where other entities can utilize to see what are the APIs available for them to consume.
  • At the 1st sight, it seems that operations are a bit complex but once you get started it’s easier than you expected. It would be better if they can do a video on how to operate Tyk for the new users because the 1st impression matters a lot.
  • One of the key things I like about the product is its light-weight, because it runs on Golang whereas other API Managers runs on JAVA. Due to this, I presume the performance of Tyk will be higher than the rest of the products in the market today.
  • It comes with web-hooks which are an awesome way to let the others know about an event that has occurred in the Tyk gateway.
  • As per their documentation, they support microservices but I was not able to configure and try it out. This would be a good stepping stone for the microservices lovers to get started.
  • Other than that it contains all the functionalities such as authentication to documentation to throttling which comes pre-built with other API managers which are in the market right now.
  • I’m sure there are much more than it meets the eye and I guarantee that I will let you know everything in my full review.

Summary

Let’s dive into a detailed review on Tyk in another article and this is the 30,000 feet review on Tyk based on my initial experience. In summary, it’s an amazing product I want to keep on exploring and use in future product architectures as an API gateway. The purpose of this article is to give you a sneak peek on what it can do. You can explore the beauty by yourself now. That’s about it! If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below. Don’t forget to give your feedback on the post (happy-face).

 

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