API Lifecycle Research

I spend most of my time studying how API providers are approaching the technology, business, and politics of their API operations. This work began understanding mostly the technology and business of API management in 2010, but after seven years it has spread to over 70 areas of what I see as the API lifecycle.

This research reflects what API providers should be considering, but is extracted from the best (and worst) practices of the leading API providers out there. Because this is APIs, most of the services I cover as part of my API life cycle research also have APIs, allowing API infrastructure to be managed using APIs, adding an entirely new dimension to the conversation.

Definitions

This is the most important research in my stack in my opinion, focusing on the API definitions, schema, and standards that are being used across the API sector to define every aspect of API operations. These definitions are being used across every stop along this cycle as a sort of central truth, and often providing a contract that defines operations.

Design

A toolkit where I gather all the news, analysis, companies and technology when it comes to designing APIs.

Hypermedia

Hypermedia is the the latest trend in API design to pick up some serious momentum. It is time for it to have its own research area on API Evangelist, allowing me to curate news, tools, companies and individuals who are leading in the space and start evolving my analysis and storytelling in the area of hypermedia APIs.

DNS

DNS is the front-line of web and API operations, and increasingly this area of API operations is API driven, allowing it to be managed using APIs. Making the the frontline of API operations configurable using APIs, making this part of operations a much more agile, flexible, and powerful part of how APIs are done.

Low Hanging Fruit

It can be difficult to get started with APIs, and I have an approach to helping new organizations think about where the lowest hanging fruit is when it comes to providing APis. There are usually two areas I look at as low hanging fruit, involved what is already on the website, and available via existing software systems. This is my work to track what is going on from this area of the API lifecycle.

Scraping

My research into the wonderful and often very controversial world of web scraping and how this can be used to generate data, content and resources for APIs.  I'm tracking on news and companies in the space, but also watching some of the politics and legalities around scraping.

Database

Many API implementations begin with a database. Often times APIs assume the characteristics of the databases behind them. Making APIs available from data that is stored in a central database is the number one way in which folks are deploying APIs, so I wanted to take the time and consider the database implications on the API lifecycle.

Deployment

A toolkit where I gather all the news, analysis, companies and technology when it comes to deploying APIs.

Microservices

My work to cover the latest trend in the API space, and designing your APIs in a very moduler, decoupled way, allowing APIs to do one thing, and do it well, but play an important role in a larger strategy. I see microservices as more philosophy and culture than it is technology, but nonetheless it is an important aspect of API operation.

Algorithms

Many data are APIs, but when they are more programmatic, and algorithmic I will track on details here. I am a big proponent of algorithmic transparency using APIs, where the inputs and outputs of algorithms can be made available via APIs--pulling back the curtain a little bit on the black box that is often algorithms.

Proxy

Proxies and gateways play an important role in defining and deploying APIs, but also help us better understand how clients are using APIs, what request and reponses look like, and the other finer details of operations. This is my work to understand the role proxies can play across the API lifecycle.

Virtualization

Virtualizing APIs and the resources they serve up is an important part of the API design, deployment, management, and testing environments. This is my work to understand how APIs are being mocked and virtualized, as well as the other aspects of API operations, like test data, or may resources for training AI and machine learning. Virtualization is a pretty big umbrella, but this is my research into sorting through exactly what it is.

Containers

My goal is to understand how APIs and containers work together, and as I do with all of my research I setup a Github repo for tracking every piece of container news I read that I feel is relevant, each company doing interesting things containers, tools for working with containers, and ultimately my analysis. Cloud computing will continue to be the lead driver of innovation in the API space, and I feel the introduction of cloud computing in 2006–2008 gave legitimacy to web APIs—you could now deploy global infrastructure using web APIs, game on. I think containerization will take API design, deployment, management and integration to the next phase, and closer the early visions of a programmable web we all started envisioning around 2005.

Management

This is the oldest area of my research, and the first aspect of APIs I started studying in 2010. It has spawned every other area of the API lifecycle I track on, so there are many overlaps and linkages to other stops along the way. API management has matured to include service composition, establishing analysis and awarness, as well as reporting and billing on top of that activity. I'm looking to track on what is happening to API mangement now that it is being commoditized.

Serverless

Another latest trend evolving out of cloud computing and the world of microservices being led by Amazon Web Services with their Lambda service. I'm tracking on how serverless is being leveraged to deploy simple, modular, single purpose APIs that can be deployed in any cloud infrastructure, and leveraged to not just build applicaitons, but also manage API infrastructure that drives it.

Portal

HTML and websites are for humans, and JSON and portals for developers and the applications they are building on top of API resources. I've looked at thousands of API portals, and have been aggregating the common building blocks of the successful API portals I've come across, and aggregated them, and even crafted a simple set of API and developer portal templates that anyone can fork and put to use in their operations.

Getting Started

A getting started page for APIs is all about getting the new and potential API consumer up to speed with what it takes to get started with an API. This is my research to track on the different approaches, and aggregate into a single approach I can apply to my own APIs, as well as share along the way. I have started crafting an API to help me organize all of it, so stay tuned.

Documentation

Documentation is one of the most important building blocks for API operations, and has be continually pointed out as being the biggest pain point when it comes to API integration. You can find news I've curated, organizations doing interesting things, some of the common building blocks I've identified, and open source tooling I've aggregated here in this research projects Github repository.

Frequently Asked Questions

No matter how well designed your API is, and easy it is to get up and running, new users will always have questions. this is a research project, API(s), and tooling to help manage the frequently asked questions that surround API operations. It seems like a simple thing, but can go along way in helping making learning what an API does a lot easier.

Support

I've been tracking on the ways that leading companies who are doing APis handle their support for some time now. I've been formalizing my research, and organizing it here. I will keep working to organize better, and produce guides, and tooling. To help drive some of it I have also developed an API that will help me manage my open APIs, as well as the support on others.

Communications

When API efforts come out of developer and IT groups they often lack one important component, communication. This is my work to track on the successful API efforts and better understand how they are communicating with developers, end users, and other stakeholders who are involved with an API.

Road Map

This is a reserch area to understand how companies are publishing a road map as part of their API operations. My goal is to better understand, and aggregate this knowledge into a single place, so I can learn from, as well share knowledge along the way. I have also published an API to help me organize, and use across my API portals.

Issues

This is a reserch area to understand how companies are publishing a road map as part of their API operations. My goal is to better understand, and aggregate this knowledge into a single place, so I can learn from, as well share knowledge along the way. I have also published an API to help me organize, and use across my API portals.

Change Log

A change log is a critical building block for helping build and keep trust with API consumers. It is about providing enough information as you can about what has changed with the platform. This research tracks on how companies are employing and communicating around their API. I'm aggregating the information, as well as deploying an API to help organize my change log across my projects, as well as share with everyone here.

Monitoring

This is my research to better understand how API providers are monitoring their API operations, and what services and tooling they are using to monitor a variety of API services. Monitoring might be as simple as seeing if an API is up or down, or as complex as ensuring an API meets the requirements of any SLA that is present as part of API operations.

Testing

Augmenting my API monitoring research, I quickly saw that testing APIs was a pretty large realm, and understanding how API testing is occurring would take a considerable amount of work. This is my work to understand the companies, services, tools, and the common building blocks that QA and API developers are using to get their job done.

Performance

Nobody like a slow website, and APIs are no different. This is my research into understanding how API providers are measuring API performance, and what services and tooling they are using to do this. This area definitely overlaps with monitoring and testing, but is worthy of its own look to understand performance across the sector.

Reliability

This is a research project to track on how API providers communicate and demonstrate their platform reliabilitiy to their consumers. I'm tracking on status pages to service level agreements (SLA), anything that helps determine reliability. You can find news I've curated, organizations doing interesting things, some of the common building blocks I've identified, and open source tooling I've aggregated here in this research projects Github repository.

Authentication

This is my work to track on the standard approaches to providing authentication for APIs. As I do with all my research areas, I aggregate the approaches I find, and share the information here. REcently I am working to standardize some of this, and apply to my open APIs, while sharing the information tools, and APIs I create along the way.

Encryption

This is my research to better understand encryption, and understand how it impacts APIs, and vice versa. This research project looks to keep an eye on what API providers are doing when it comes to encryption, as well as keep an eye on the features that API service providers are offering up services, and tooling related to encryption.

Vulnerabilities

This is my research to better understand the types of vulnerabilities being discovered out there. Not everything listed here is directly API related, but I think the wider understand helps my work in this area. Right now it is mostly curated news, but will be expanding information as I have time.

Security

This is my research to better understand, and hopefully define what it takes to secure APIs. This area is the biggest concern of companies looking to do APIs, but is one of the most deficient areas of the API life cycle. You can find news I've curated, organizations doing interesting things, some of the common building blocks I've identified, and open source tooling in this research report.

Terms of Service (TOS)

This is the single most important building block of any API, yet is one of the most under discussed and shared area of the API communities. I'm determined in 2014 to bring API terms of service (TOS) front and center, increase the number of open tools and support services available for API providers and consumers.

Privacy

This is my research to track on how API can be used to the impact privacy of API providers, API consumers, as well as end users. You can find news I've curated, organizations doing interesting things, some of the common building blocks I've identified, and open source tooling in this research report.

Transparency

APIs can contribute significantly to transparency of organizations, and this is my work to better understand how wider transparency is achieved (or not), and the role APIs can play. You can find news I've curated, organizations doing interesting things, some of the common building blocks I've identified, and open source tooling in this research report.

Licensing

This is my work to try and understand, and separate the layers of API licensing. It can be easy to think of APIs as code, and apply related licenses, but as the layers separate, copyright, and patents are coming into play more. You can find news I've curated, organizations doing interesting things, some of the common building blocks I've identified, and open source tooling in this research report.

Branding

This is my research on how different API providers are handling the branding around their API operations. This area is a huge concern for many companies looking to do APIs, but there are few tools or services to help providers handle. You can find news I've curated, organizations doing interesting things, some of the common building blocks I've identified, and open source tooling in this research report.

Surveillance

The Internet is quickly becoming a vehicle for surveillance, and something APIs are playing a significant role in--I want to better understand this. You can find news I've curated, organizations doing interesting things, some of the common building blocks I've identified, and open source tooling in this research report.

Cybersecurity

The world of cybersecurity is exploding, and APIs are sometimes how breaches occur, but more often it is how the story of the breach is broadcasted. You can find news I've curated, organizations doing interesting things, some of the common building blocks I've identified, and open source tooling in this research report.

Regulation

Government regulations are slowly finding their way into the world of software, and increasingly APIs are playing a role in providing regulators a look into company operations, and pulling data to better understand regulated industries. This research area was started to better prepare for how regulation will be applied to APIs, as we see government and the tech industry continue to collide.

Patents

This is my research into better understanding, and documenting which companies have API related patents, which I will merge with other research, for my analysis around the politics of APIs. You can find news I've curated, organizations doing interesting things, some of the common building blocks I've identified, and open source tooling in this research report.

Discovery

This is my research around the world of API discovery, as well as how you get your APIs discovered. This is both a provider and consumer issue, and something that is vastly more complex than just web search. You can find news I've curated, organizations doing interesting things, some of the common building blocks I've identified, and open source tooling in this research report.

Client

This is my research around the evolution of API clients. Not the integrated type of SDK or code client, but the growing number of of web and desktop tooling for developing with APIs. You can find news I've curated, organizations doing interesting things, some of the common building blocks I've identified, and open source tooling in this research report.

Command Line Interface

The command line interface (CLI) is the preferred interface of many developers and is often available alongside, or built on top of APIs. I want to better track on this added layer to the API world, and understand how it augments and overlaps with APIs. You can find news I've curated, organizations doing interesting things, some of the common building blocks I've identified, and open source tooling in this research report.

Bots

This is a research project to help me better understand exactly what a bot is these days, and how APIs are used as engines for these increasingly aware, active, nuggets of compute. I am looking at how APIs are used to drive bots, but also how are bots employed via API driven platforms like Twitter, and Slack.

Internet of Things

This is one of my larger buckets of research that I've carved several other smaller projects out of like automobile and home. I still do a lot of tagging of news as Internet of Things, so I needed a single place to aggregate, then carve off smaller trends other research projects. Pretty much any connected object gets lumped here, until I decide otherwise.

Industrial

This is my research around the evolution of API industrials. Not the integrated type of SDK or code industrial, but the growing number of of web and desktop tooling for developing with APIs. You can find news I've curated, organizations doing interesting things, some of the common building blocks I've identified, and open source tooling in this research report.

Network

This is my research around the evolution of API networks. Not the integrated type of SDK or code network, but the growing number of of web and desktop tooling for developing with APIs. You can find news I've curated, organizations doing interesting things, some of the common building blocks I've identified, and open source tooling in this research report.

IDE

This is my research around the evolution of IDEs that have more support for APIs. Early examples were from SalesForce and Google, using Eclipse plugins, and now we are seeing more movement from Visual Studio, and new player Atom from Github. You can find news I've curated, organizations doing interesting things, some of the common building blocks I've identified, and open source tooling in this research report.

SDK

This is my research around the conversation, and approaches to SDKs. They can be very controversial sometimes, but there are plenty of interesting approaches to using SDKs that I've seen across the API sector. You can find news I've curated, organizations doing interesting things, some of the common building blocks I've identified, and open source tooling in this research report.

Embeddable

An embeddable strategy is an important part of any API providers strategy. This research is trying to understand the best approaches and technology when it comes to embeddable tools that depend on APIs.

Visualization

Large amounts of content, data, and abstract, often algorightms are often difficul to wrap you mind around, and visualizations can help bring things to life. This is my work to understand the intersection of APIs and visualizations. You can find news I've curated, organizations doing interesting things, some of the common building blocks I've identified, and open source tooling in this research report.

Analysis

Analyzing the growing amount of content and data we are generating and storing is growing more important. It is something that will need to increasingly be automated using APis. This is my work to understand the intersection of APIs and analysis. You can find news I've curated, organizations doing interesting things, some of the common building blocks I've identified, and open source tooling in this research report.

Webhooks

This is my research around the use of webhooks with APIs. Webhooks make APIs a two street, and can help make API integration much more efficient. You can find news I've curated, organizations doing interesting things, some of the common building blocks I've identified, and open source tooling in this research report.

Logging

This is a research project to keep the different approaches to logging using APIs, and logging solutions that focus on using APIs. You can find news I've curated, organizations doing interesting things, some of the common building blocks I've identified, and open source tooling in this research repo.

Aggregation

As the number of APIs grow, there is a lot of aggregation going on in social, personal and other prominent sectors like cloud computing. This research is trying to keep an eye on this potential trend.

iPaaS

Interoperability between businesses, non-profit organizations, government and the individual is being fueled by API driven sites, applications and devices. APIs enable interoperability, two way communication that are in the interest of all parties involved. This research site focuses on how APIs are being abled to facility reciprocity between indivdiuals and groups in this connected world.

Orchestration

My research project to keep track of what is going on with API orchestration, continuous integration, and possibly devops. You can find news I've curated, organizations doing interesting things, some of the common building blocks I've identified, and open source tooling in this research repo.

Real Time

Our connected lives are becoming increasingly real-time, and much of this is being driven by APIs. I'm looking to understand who the key players are, what they are up to, as well as where the opportunities lie by aggregating news, analysis, companies and technology in a single project.

Voice

This is my research into how APIs are driving voice, and how voice is driving API consumption. There are many different ways voice enabled tech overlaps with APIs, and this is the exploration of that affinity. You can find news I've curated, organizations doing interesting things, some of the common building blocks I've identified, and open source tooling in this research report.

Spreadsheets

I've seen enough movement in the area of Microsoft Excel and Google Spreadsheets being used with APIs to warrant closer monitoring. To support this I've started publishing most of my research to an API Evangelist spreadsheet research site, which will allow me to better track, curate, tag, and tell stories around spreadsheets and APIs. As I do with my 60+ API research projects, I will update this site when I have time, publishing anything I've read, written, and companies I think are doing interesting things spreadsheets and APIs. I'm pretty convinced that spreadsheets will be another one of those bridge tools we use to connect where we are going with APIs, with the reality of where the everyday person is, just trying to get their job done.

Investment

I started this area because I wanted to have more links to link to when talking about which API companies I track on were getting investment, going public, etc. There is still a lot of work to be done here, but eventually I'd like to have more VC related information, as well as SEC filings. For now it will be just a list of curated news and anything I write about related to investment.

Monetization

This is my research into how APIs are being monetized across the space. Not all APIs make money directly, and I work to track on the indirect benefits as well. You can find news I've curated, organizations doing interesting things, some of the common building blocks I've identified, and open source tooling in this research report.

Plans

This is my research into the plans of leading API providers, across a variety of the top business sectors. I am looking to establish a baseline for how APIs are planned acrosss the industry today, establish models others can follow. You can find news I've curated, organizations doing interesting things, some of the common building blocks I've identified, and open source tooling in this research report.

Partners

This is my research into how leading API platforms conduct their official partner programs, adding additional layers to the API partnerning and management process. You can find news I've curated, organizations doing interesting things, some of the common building blocks I've identified, and open source tooling in this research report.

Acquisitions

As part of my work I keep an eye on some of the acquisitions going on that are API related, not because I'm interested in the funding, more about the reliability, stability, and viability of individual APIs, as well as the perception of the API space.

Evangelism

This is my research around the different approaches to API evangelism, advocacy, and other ways API providers are reaching out to developers, and API consumers. You can find news I've curated, organizations doing interesting things, some of the common building blocks I've identified, and open source tooling in this research report.

Showcase

I am always interested to see which API providers are proud of their developers, and the applications and integrations they have built on top of a platform. I find it is a sign, when API stop showcasing their developers and applications, of things are not right. This is my research into who is showcasing their devs, and how they do it.

Deprecation

This is my research around the different approaches to API evangelism, advocacy, and other ways API providers are reaching out to developers, and API consumers. You can find news I've curated, organizations doing interesting things, some of the common building blocks I've identified, and open source tooling in this research report.

Integration

This are used to be where I had client, monitoring, and other client side areas. Since I've created separate research projects to study those areas I am making this about general integration concerns. Overlapping with integration platform as a service (iPaaS), and definitely still clients, but it will be focused on the issues developers and even average users face when trying to making things work with one or many different APIs.

Each of these projects exists on Github, and can be forked, or integrated with directly via the YAML and JSON data stores that drive each area of my research.