Tutorial: Use the Azure API Management extension for Visual Studio Code to import and manage APIs

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In this tutorial, you learn how to use the API Management extension for Visual Studio Code for common operations in API Management. Use the familiar Visual Studio Code environment to import, update, test, and manage APIs.

You learn how to:

  • Import an API into API Management
  • Edit the API
  • Apply API Management policies
  • Test the API

Screenshot of API in API Management extension.

For an introduction to more API Management features, see the API Management tutorials using the Azure portal.


Import an API

The following example imports an OpenAPI Specification in JSON format into API Management. Microsoft provides the backend API used in this example, and hosts it on Azure at https://conferenceapi.azurewebsites.net.

  1. In Visual Studio Code, select the Azure icon from the Activity Bar.
  2. In the Explorer pane, expand the API Management instance you created.
  3. Right-click APIs, and select Import from OpenAPI Link.
  4. When prompted, enter the following values:
    1. An OpenAPI link for content in JSON format. For this example: https://conferenceapi.azurewebsites.net?format=json.

      This file specifies the backend service that implements the example API, in this case https://conferenceapi.azurewebsites.net. API Management forwards requests to this web service.

    2. An API name, such as demo-conference-api, that is unique in the API Management instance. This name can contain only letters, number, and hyphens. The first and last characters must be alphanumeric. This name is used in the path to call the API.

After the API is imported successfully, it appears in the Explorer pane, and available API operations appear under the Operations node.

Screenshot of imported API in Explorer pane.

Edit the API

You can edit the API in Visual Studio Code. For example, edit the Resource Manager JSON description of the API in the editor window to remove the http protocol used to access the API.

Screenshot of editing JSON description in Visual Studio Code.

To edit the OpenAPI format, right-click the API name in the Explorer pane and select Edit OpenAPI. Make your changes, and then select File > Save.

Apply policies to the API

API Management provides policies that you can configure for your APIs. Policies are a collection of statements. These statements are run sequentially on the request or response of an API. Policies can be global, which apply to all APIs in your API Management instance, or specific to a product, an API, or an API operation.

This section shows how to apply common outbound policies to your API that transform the API response. The policies in this example change response headers and hide original backend URLs that appear in the response body.

  1. In the Explorer pane, select Policy under the demo-conference-api that you imported. The policy file opens in the editor window. This file configures policies for all operations in the API.

  2. Update the file with the following content in the <outbound> element:

        <set-header name="Custom" exists-action="override">
            <value>"My custom value"</value>
        <set-header name="X-Powered-By" exists-action="delete" />
        <redirect-content-urls />
        <base />
    • The first set-header policy adds a custom response header for demonstration purposes.
    • The second set-header policy deletes the X-Powered-By header, if it exists. This header can reveal the application framework used in the API backend, and publishers often remove it.
    • The redirect-content-urls policy rewrites (masks) links in the response body so that they point to the equivalent links via the API Management gateway.
  3. Save the file. If you're prompted, select Upload to upload the file to the cloud.

Test the API

To test the API, get a subscription key and then make a request to the API Management gateway.

Get the subscription key

You need a subscription key for your API Management instance to test the imported API and the policies that are applied.

  1. In the Explorer pane, right-click the name of your API Management instance.

  2. Select Copy Subscription Key. This key is for the built-in all access subscription that is created when you create an API Management instance.

    Screenshot of Copy subscription Key command in Visual Studio Code.


    The all-access subscription enables access to every API in this API Management instance and should only be used by authorized users. Never use it for routine API access or embed the all-access key in client apps.

Test an API operation

  1. In the Explorer pane, expand the Operations node under the demo-conference-api that you imported.
  2. Select an operation such as GetSpeakers, and then right-click the operation and select Test Operation.
  3. In the editor window, next to Ocp-Apim-Subscription-Key, replace {{SubscriptionKey}} with the subscription key that you copied.
  4. Select Send request.

Screenshot of sending API request from Visual Studio Code.

When the request succeeds, the backend responds with 200 OK and some data.

Screenshot of the API test response in Visual Studio Code.

Notice the following details in the response:

  • The Custom header is added to the response.
  • The X-Powered-By header doesn't appear in the response.
  • URLs to the API backend are redirected to the API Management gateway, in this case https://apim-hello-world.azure-api.net/demo-conference-api.

Trace request processing

Optionally, you can get detailed request tracing information to help you debug and troubleshoot the API.

For steps to enable tracing for an API, see Enable tracing for an API. To limit unintended disclosure of sensitive information, tracing by default is allowed for only 1 hour.

Clean up resources

When no longer needed, remove the API Management instance by right-clicking and selecting Open in Portal to delete the API Management service and its resource group.

Alternately, you can select Delete API Management to only delete the API Management instance (this operation doesn't delete its resource group).

Screenshot of deleting API Management instance from Visual Studio Code.

This tutorial introduced several features of the API Management extension for Visual Studio Code. You can use these features to import and manage APIs. You learned how to:

  • Import an API into API Management
  • Edit the API
  • Apply API Management policies
  • Test the API

The API Management extension provides more features to work with your APIs. For example, debug polices (available in the Developer service tier), or create and manage named values.