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API World 2014: Summary of Day One Events

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The talks at API World on day one of the conference were primarily focused on API design and development practices targeted at developers with a majority focused on the Internet of Things (IoT). Most talks in the API track were vendor centric and lacked war stories from businesses deploying APIs in production.

Similar to last year, API World was co-located with DataWeek and it started with a Hackathon over the weekend followed by technical workshops that were held on Monday. On Monday, Jakub Nesetril, Founder and CEO at apiary.io conducted a workshop on API design workflow. He kicked off the one-hour workshop by defining APIs as the UI of data. He then proceeded to make a case for redefining the API design process to be a rapid iterative process engaging the customer instead of the more prevalent waterfall(ish) approach. This is critical and will seem intuitive to front end developers who are focused on user experience. He illustrated the process using API Blueprint that provides visual documentation, mockups and code samples to further enhance the developer experience.

The day ended with a reception where APISpark from Restlet was awarded the most innovative API infrastructure solution based on a voting process that was conducted on Dev Network. Jerome Louvel, Founder of Restlet, demonstrated the platform's capability to generate a Web API from a Google spreadsheet during his talk on Tuesday. We will be covering the latest 2.2 release of APISpark in great detail in the near future.

Today on the first day of the API World conference track, Irakli Nadareishvili, Director of Strategy, API Academy at CA Technologies delivered a talk on Linked APIs. He feels the current breed of APIs are restricted to siloed data, which isnt enriched by data that crosses organizational boundaries, which in turn places the onus on the consumer. Linked API design focuses on unbundling data storage from the user interface and here are the 3 design principles he defined:

  • use URLs as primary identifiers of the core data entities
  • use URLs to establish references between entities
  • architect API back-end as an index of a distributed storage, rather than a system of record for the underlying data

The sample Linked APIs looked a lot like JSON-LD and shares a similar world view as The Object Network. We intend to dive deeper into this topic in the coming weeks with Irakli, to highlight the similarities and differences in these various approaches.

A couple of popular talks on the API circuit made their appearance, one being John Musser's "10 Reasons Why Developers Hate Your API" and the second by Scott Morrison, SVP and Distinguished Engineer at CA technologies, titled "Best Practices You Must Apply to Secure Your APIs".

There were a number of other API talks that were focused on the Internet of Things and its impact on apps, which is triggered by new capabilities such as indoor location enabled by new low energy transmitters such as the iBeacon.

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