The API Evangelist Blog - 2012

This blog is dedicated to understanding the world of APIs and exploring the technology, business, and politics of APIs.


History of APIs: ProgrammableWeb

30 December 2012
While writing about the history of APIs, it is easy to be so focused on just APIs, that you overlook the single most important player in the entire history of the web API--ProgrammableWeb. In July 2005, John Musser started ProgrammableWeb. According to his original about page: ProgrammableWeb is a web-as-platform reference site and blog delivering news, information and resources for developing applications using the Web 2.0 APIs. I started this site because I couldn't find what I was looking for: a technology focused starting point for web platform development. (For a bit more see my initial post.) Although no guarantees, the last time I started a reference site it somehow became Google's highest rated link on the topic...

Insights From API Pioneers: Salesforce Developer Highlights of 2012

28 December 2012
You can learn a lot from the history of APIs, and following what the pioneers are doing.  Salesforce isn't the coolest API within the Hacker News community, but when it comes to building an API ecosystem--Salesforce knows what they are doing. I was reading through the Salesforce top developers highlights of 2012.  Their highlights doesn't just showcase the success of the community, but what Salesforce feels is critical to keeping their ecosystem healthy.  800,000 developers and climbing: the Salesforce Platform Developer Community is growing at an unprecedented rate. Cool new Salesforce technologies: Identity, Salesforce Touch Platform, Force.com Canvas, and Java on Heroku for the Enterprise were released...

The Secret to a Successful API is Internal from #APIDays

28 December 2012
Here is a video of one of my talks from API Days in Paris, France where I walked the internal side of APIs. This talk is derived from my post, the secret to amazons success is internal and stories I've written on Netflix's success with internal APIs. The presentation for this talk is available in my talks section at The Secret to a Successful ApI is Internal. You can find another video from API Days by me called Business Models For Your API as Startup from API Days, in a nearlier post.

Five Areas of Collective Action Around Personal Data

27 December 2012
I'm immersed in deep thought around my personal data, asking some important questions about my digital self--which includes the state of my online personal data. After reading 14 big trends to watch in 2013, by Alex Howard (@digiphile), I got immersed in World Economic Forums Personal Data: The Emergence of a New Asset Class paper. I'm still processing all of my thoughts around the paper, but one statement really stands out: The issues surrounding personal data – political, technological and commercial alike – are numerous and complex. The choices stakeholders make today will influence the personal data ecosystem for years to come. The World Economic Forum then outlines five key area that require action: Innovate around user-centricity and trust...

New API Stories in 2013

27 December 2012
Storytelling in the API industry is critical to the healthy growth of the space. John Musser and ProgrammableWeb have been telling great stories in the tech industry, since way before APIs were all lthe rage they are now. While I was at API Days this year, I was speaking with Mike Amundsen (@mamund) of Layer7, and we started talking about how Amazon, Netflix (and I’d add Twilio) tend to dominate the API discussion. I considered my talks from API Days, and sure enough--Netflix and Amazon were in there multiple times! There are other stories we tell around Twitter, Facebook Google and other smaller APIs, but Amazon, Netflix and Twilio were cornerstones of API folklore in 2012. While I will keep telling these pillar stories (because they matter), as well as evolving other pioneers from my history of APIs section, I want to develop a fresh lineup of amazing API stories for 2013...

Hello IPA Evangelist

26 December 2012
My name is Kin Lane, I am the API Evangelist. While traveling the globe, dedicating my life to API evangelism, I only drink one beer--IPAs. Coincidence? I think not! This blog is dedicated to discussing the amazing world of India Pale Ales, also known as IPAs. Once you have acquired the taste for the hoppiness of IPAs, you'll never go back.

A Time to Reflect and Ask Questions of 2012

26 December 2012
The end of the year is a great time to reflect--looking back at the year with a desire to quantify and understand ourselves. With our increasingly digital (social, cloud, mobile, APIs) lives, there are more opportunities than ever to ask our digital self very specific questions, and with the power the API get an answer back. Over the holidayz, I spent some time asking some questions I wanted to know about my world in 2012--things that were important to me, and help me feel healthy, happy, accomplished and ultimately successful. (aka. Optimize for Happiness) I broke these questions up into interest areas, then using APIs set out to find the services I use, or could use, that would help me answer these questions...

Amazing Visuals, But Lack of API Imagination

22 December 2012
I was scrolling through my feeds today and I came across, "Earth As Art" from NASA. I clicked on the homepage and didn’t think much, and moved on. Then I came across Earth as Art book from NASA on Flowing Data, where they showed an actual image from the “Earth As Art” collection. Sure, I suffer from ADD. But so does much of the world. I work through huge amounts of data on a daily basis, looking for gems. Sometimes I can find them myself, and sometimes I need help. The “Earth as Art” is an amazing collection of satellite photos from NASA. I feel the entire collection could be made into an exhibit, allowing us to experience, take in and discuss the meaning of art, created from space of the planet we live on...

Top 10 Posts on API Evangelist in 2012

21 December 2012
2012 has been a great year to be in the API space. We saw some pretty amazing growth, and everyone is talking APIs going into 2013. I wrote 243 blog posts on API Evangelist in 2012. The top 10 posts for 2012 were: Barack Obama Directs All Federal Agencies to Have an API Twitter Rolls Twitter.com Back to a Server-Side Architecture The Secret to Amazons Success Internal APIs APIs Are Forever, Wait No...They Can Go Away at Any Time!!! 30 APIs To Look At When Planning Your API Let Developers Register for Your API with Their Github Profile Mobile Backend as a Service Roundup and the Future of Web APIs Github is the Social Network of the Future The Building Blocks of a Successful API Open Building Blocks for an API I'm pretty proud of these posts...

You Can't Spell Capitalism Without API

21 December 2012
I like a good API shirt.  If you've ever seen me in person you've seen my API Evangelist shirt(s).  At least you guys hope its multiple shirts, otherwise...ewwwee! I recently started a new design - my Che P.I. t-shirt.   There is an OG API t-shirt that recirculated this week for me--the You Can't Spell Capitalism Without API.  This is an awesome shirt from the social advertising platform, 140 Proof.   140 Proof launched the shirt at the Twitter Chirp Conference, and I think it is a classic, that should never go away. I'm ordering one for christmas!

API Trends

21 December 2012
In addition to helping people understand the history of APIs, I'm looking to help people grasp what the future holds, when it comes to APIs. So, while tracking on the API industry, I'm always on the lookout for patterns of API usage that can help me understand what might be next for the web API movement.  Based upon what I'm seeing across the space I launched a new trends section to API Evangelist, where I'm gathering news, analysis and company data in seven separate areas: Aggregation

Business Models For Your API as Startup from API Days

20 December 2012
Here is a video of one of my talks from API Days in Paris, France where I walked through potential thoughts on business model for a hypothetical startup.  I had a separate talk prepared, but after attending the first day I went and found a french cafe, drank a couple bottles of wine, took what I learned and produced this talk. If you want to see my slide deck from this talk, you can find a published version business for your API as a startup, using deck.js off my talks sections of API Evangelist. Thanks again to Faber Novel and Webshell for putting on such a great event, and producing these cool videos.

History of APIs

20 December 2012
The history of APIs is something I discuss a lot.  The history of modern web APIs is something I include in all my talks, and I'm always surprised by how little people understand some of the more popular APIs that got us to where we are at. To further support this area, I've launched a History of APIs section where I've hung the stories I've already done in this area, and will be looking to dig up the history on other APIs that are shaking things up. When I'm talking to people about APIs, the term APIs can mean many different things. Sometimes it means hardware APIs, or the Java API or various other technical incarnations. Right now when you hear the term API, it probably means web API or an API built using REST, running on the same infrastructure the World Wide Web runs on...

Taking APIs To Next Level With API Scripting Platforms

19 December 2012
I’m working hard to understand the emerging patterns of of how APIs used, work through the details, and grasp the differences in competing approaches--in hopes of identifying what is next when it comes to web APIs. One trend I’m tracking on is the emergence of API scripting platforms. This is a difficult are to track on, because we script against APIs all the time, right? This is different. Scripting platforms are providing platforms and libraries to support easily scripting against multiple APIs. To help me understand this new approach to using APIs I’m studying three separate approaches: Webshell - Authentication, integration and scripting platform. Temboo - Beyond code snippets, into ready-to-use processes, that simply API integration, taking care of authentication, credential management, updates and more Google Apps Scripts - A JavaScript cloud scripting language that lets you extend Google Apps, integrate 3rd party services and build mobile and web applications...

API Driven 3D Printing and Manufacturing Supply Chain

19 December 2012
I'm working on a new trends section of API Evangelist.  One area i'm tracking on is the opportunities around 3D printing and APIs.   I did some fun research, and laid down some interest thoughts on APIs and 3D printing in 2011.  This was part of some research I was doing while working at Mimeo.   As I do with all my research, I blog along the way, to help me learn and organize my thoughts. With this trends research into 3D printing, I am working to understand the major components of 3D printing so I can see where APIs are can have the biggest impact.  I've identified 10 major components of 3D printing: Creators - 3D designers of virtual print objects Scanners - Scanning hardware for generating 3D models Modeling Software - Applications for building 3D models File Formats - File formats for storing 3D models Warehousing - Virtual storage for 3D models Marketplaces - Arenas for showcasing, distributing and ordering 3D products Printers - Companies and hardware that deliver 3D printing Process & Materials - The process and materials that go into 3D printing Makers - The people who understand 3D printers, process, materials and industries Delivery - Logistics behind getting 3D printed products to consumers Of course this is just my perspective of the industry and can evolve as I learn more, and collaborate with other industry players...

The Need for More Domain Experts in the API Space

18 December 2012
The number of available APIs is growing at a neck breaking speed. I have trouble keeping up with individual APIs, and I feel I am losing touch with the nuances and trends within specific areas like music or travel. I am getting more and more questions like this via email and twitter: I am doing some research on music APIs. I am considering using one to integrate music streaming and relevant data into an app. Can you recommend anyone who has technical or business expertise (or both) with these in particular? I would love to speak with an expert to help lead me and my developers in the right direction. Some points I am considering: Technical capabilities (streaming speed, limitations of service, etc...

API Questions for Wade Foster of Zapier over at Startup Juicer

17 December 2012
Some great API questions for Wade Foster, Co-founder & CEO of Zapier over at Startup Juicer today. Zapier is a company that couldn’t have existed even a few years ago as API’s were not commonplace. What other advanced do you envision changing the way businesses operate? APIs are just the first piece, but it’s still the wild west in the API world with APIs constantly changing. One thing that will happen is APIs will move away from polling driven to push driven. That way API consumers don’t have to constantly asking providers for new data like a kid on a long trip asking “are we there yet” but can instead rely on the API provider to send us the data when we get to the proverbial travel destination...

Making An Impact On Environment With Building Management APIs

17 December 2012
I had a chance to talk with the Johnson Controls, Panoptix API team this last week. The Panoptix® community offers: a combination of software and services that easily and cost-effectively helps customers see more so they can do more to achieve optimized building performance and energy efficiency To understand what Panoptix enables...imagine if all of our buildings: Thought for themselves Teach us to reduce energy consumption Diagnose problems in real-time Self correct when necessary Call a service provider when they need repair or tuning Panoptix starts with a cloud-hosted platform that enables buildings to collect and manage data, along with tools for automating operations at the building and space levels providing metering for electricity, water, gas oil steam, carbon and weather--with very granular level reporting up to overall trends of energy use...

APIphany Adds Support for Github, Facebook and Twitter in all API Developer Portals

16 December 2012
API service provider APIphany followed some of my advice this last week, and added support for Github, Facebook and Twitter in all of their developer portals. Using oAuth from Twitter, Facebook and especially Github for API providers, just makes sense in this online world. As a user, I don’t want to create yet another login--I want to pick from my preferred social network. It is good to see APIphany make sure their customers deliver friction-less onboarding for their developers, who are building mobile and web applications on top of their APIphany powered APIs.

Get My New Che P.I. T-Shirts

13 December 2012
While I was in France, the art director at Faber Novel did some cool sketches of me.  Since I'm so graphically challenged (see my logo), I'm stoked to have the artwork to work with. I've been playing around with different versions of it, combine with different messages.  Here is my first one. You can get your own at Custom Ink.  When I find a design I like, I will get quantities printed, so they are cheaper.  But for now they are $26.95 a pop.

Exploring a New Way of Planning and Executing Hackathons

12 December 2012
I started tracking on Hackathons full time in 2011, as part of my API Evangelism toolbox. In 2012 I’ve watched Hackathons explode and become a popular way for API owners to engage and build a relationship with developers. (if done right) As I do with other trending areas, I launched as its own site, hackweekends.com. I’ve gotten a lot of demand from hackathon organizers and sponsors to add events and other news and information. To support this I recently launched Hack Weekends on Github, so anyone can edit pages, write blog posts and add events to the calendar. A sort of crowd sourced hackathon hub. To further support the hackathon community I also wanted to provide an open source hackathon guide, helping anyone understand how they can throw their own hackathon...

Mulesoft Launches API Discovery Hub

11 December 2012
API Discovery is becoming an increasingly troubling problem. As an analyst, I see a dizzying amount of APIs each month. When I get asked to find a particular type of API, or group of APIs in a particular industry--it gets difficult to discover a meaningful results to any query. My options for API discovery historically has been ProgrammableWeb. The OG API Directory. Today there is a new player on the block, APIhub. APIhub is a fresh attempt at solving the API discovery, with over 13K APIs organized by category, type, protocol, format and security. API Hub is looking to provide a solution for two distinct groups: Developers - Developers need an ecosystem to discover, learn, test and use APIs Publishers - Publishers require a platform to publish, manage, engage customers, and monetize APIs With first release APIhub doesn’t have much out of the gate that is different than ProgrammableWeb, except for a much cleaner layout, search tools that is not cluttered by news, mashups and advertising...

What Does Singly's AppFabric Mean?

11 December 2012
Singly is continuing its quest to easily explain what it does for developers.  The San Francisco startup has re-launched defining itself as, fabric for connected apps, or AppFabric.   Singly puts it best: Singly AppFabric empowers you to add social login, sharing and friend finding into your mobile and web applications. Singly DataFabric handles syncing, data formatting, de-duplication, and normalization letting you query by location, keyword, and more. When building mobile apps you are going to need to bridge social networks for your users, allowing them to authenticate with their preferred platform as well as pull friends, images and provide sharing in a meaningful way.  You either do this platform by platform, or you use Singly's AppFabric to do this for you...

Hack Weekends Directory, Hackathon Guide and Site Template

10 December 2012
Hackathons have been a big part of current web API movement. They are one of the most meaningful ways API owners can connect with developers in person.  Twilio, Amazon and Facebook have all used hackathons to build their ecosystems. I started a section on API Evangelist in 2011, dedicated to hackathons. And in early 2012 I rolled this section out as its own site, hackweekends.com.  Over 2012 the number of hackathons has grown significantly--making it difficult to ignore hackathons as channel for reaching developers. This weekend I migrated the Hack Weekends directory to run on Github. It uses Github Pages and Jekyll for the blog. I deployed mustache templates and JSON files for the events calendar and curated news section...

API Evangelist Drawings

10 December 2012
While I was in Paris speaking at API Days last week, a drawing of me was circulated on Twitter.  I was a little speachless when I saw them on Twitter.  I am always looking for new graphics to use in API Evangelist.  I worked for hours to come up with the logo I have, so I was stoked to see someone create something so cool, in the moment. Thanks @bybent, art director @fabernovel for the drawing. I appreciate the work!

Some Thoughts For the Enterprise Embracing Web APIs

09 December 2012
At the Gartner AADI Conference in Las Vegas, NV last week I discussed the "grass-roots web API movement" with quite a few enterprise folks. Walking through the exhibit floor, where I did my building blocks of an API workshop, I noticed the signage and discussions were all focused on APIs. During my discussions with multiple enterprise developers, analysts, architects and executives, one question seemed to come up a lot: Didn’t we do all of this 10 years ago? What is different this time around? With a strong focus on the technology of web services, many in the enterprise fail to see the difference between SOA and API. In an effort to better tell stories in this area, I wanted to revisit the SOAP vs...

Open Sourcing Hack Weekends Using Github

08 December 2012
I’ve been maintaining a calendar of hackathons for all of 2012. Originally it was just a section off of API Evangelist, but eventually the site needed to be its own project. Up until now its just been a blog and calendar of events I curate from Eventbrite, Twitter, Google, Eventful and event organizers. I spend about 8-12 hours a week curating the events and stories for blog posts, and with the increase in the number hackathons over 2012, so does the time I need to maintain. I was adding an API so other users can add to calendar or event guest post, then I decided I would like to also have databases of hackathon organizers, sponsors, vendors, venues and other key building blocks of hackathons...

The Secret to a Successful API is Internal #APIDays

07 December 2012
I had the pleasure of speaking at API Days in Paris, France this week. The organizers originally asked me to do one talk, but after some speaker shuffle, I ended up with three separate talks on APIs. The second talk I did at API Days was The Secret to a Succesful API is Internal.  This material was evolved from past stories I've done on Amazon's and Netflix's success with internal APIs.   I really want to tell more stories about other companies who have had success with internal APIs. But these are the hardest stories to come by, and I feel they are some of the most important API stories we can tell.   If you have a great internal API story you'd like to tell, I love to hear more...

#APIDays in Paris France Wrap-Up

07 December 2012
I got back last night from France, where I spent the week at the #APIDays conference, billed as the first international event on APIs in Europe. The two day event was organized by faberNovel, who helps large organizations think and act like startups, and byWebShell, who enables developers to easily make advanced web and mobile applications based on APIs After some scheduling shuffling due to speaker cancellations API Days asked me if I’d do three talks on APIs, instead of just my one--resulting in these three presentations: Building Blocks (Bricks) For Your Developer Portal The Secret to a Successful API is Internal Business Models for Your API as a Start-Up While the building blocks presentation is my usual material (but needs to be told over and over to new audiences), the other two talks represents entirely new work based upon other stories and research I’ve done in the past...

Business Models for Your API as a Start-Up #APIDays

07 December 2012
The organizers of APIs Days asked me at the last moment if I'd like to do a third talk at the European API event, due to last minute cancellations.  Of course, I jumped on the opportunity to generate to material and work through it in front of a live audience.   The talk was on business models for your API as a start-up.  On the plane ride over I reviewed John Musser's great material on API business models, and prepared a walk through, from a startup's perspective.   Then after watching Guillaume Ballas (@guillaumebalas) from 3Scale give his talk APIs for Biz Dev 2.0, Which Business Model?  And watching other speakers I decide to scrap what I had put together, and went an entirely different direction...

Building Blocks (Bricks) For Your Developer Portal #APIDays

07 December 2012
I gave a talk at API Days in Paris, France this week.  This talk was using some of my usual material around the building blocks of an API. As I always do, I omitted some slides and evolved my presentation a little further.  This is one benefit of using reveal.js, driven from the API Evangelist database--I can evolve my content and make better with each talk. I discussed 5 main areas to consider when building your API developer portal: History of APIs API Design & Planning API Development API Evangelism Whats Next for APIs? My goal is to keep organizing and sharing my view on API design, planning, development and evangelism so my readers can put to use in their own API efforts...

My API Building Blocks Workshop With Intel at the Gartner AADI Conference

30 November 2012
I conducted two workshops this week in partnership with Intel at the Gartner AADI Conference in Las Vegas. Working from my Building Blocks of a Successful API material, I put together a 30 minute workshop that I conducted at 12 and 6PM on Tuesday. My workshop started with the history of APIs, then walked through API building blocks in 3 areas: API Design  API Development  API Evangelist Then I stepped back and emphasized that APIs are all about research & development and business development for your company. After stepping back, I looked into whats next with APIs with API aggregators like Singly, API automation platforms like IFTT and new API programming libraries like Webshell...

Spectagram Rolls Out Instagrams Embeddable Strategy for Them

30 November 2012
There was a great post last week on ProgrammableWeb from Curtis C. Chen (@sparCKL), on how a company called Spectagram has launched a new JavaScript library built on top of Instagram. Spectagram uses JQuery to provide a basic set of embeddable tools for Instagram allowing users to embed widgets showing latest photos, popular photos, and photos by tag. Instagram has been notoriously focused on their core product, which leaves a lot of areas open to its developer community. Even the first version of the Instagram API was created by a passionate developer. It is interesting to see such a sophisticated Javascript library developed by a developer, essentially rolling out something Instagram should be doing themselves, but obviously haven’t prioritized...

Adigami Aggregates Analytics APIs Into Single Interface

30 November 2012
In 2012 the number of APIs has grown significantly. We are transitioning from “there aren’t enough APIs” to “how do we more intelligently use many APIs”. As I track on this and the future of web APIs, I’m noticing growth in the number of API aggregators like Singly. A couple of weeks ago I was introduced Adigami, a "Singly for Analytics". While Singly focuses on personal data API aggregation, Adigami is focused on aggregating the top analytic platforms used in business today--covering seven key channels: Web - Google Analytics Search - Google AdWords, Microsoft Bing Display - DoubleClick, Yahoo! APT, Facebook Ads, MediaMind Social - Facebook Insights, Twitter Mobile - Yahoo! Mobile, Verve Wireless Email - MailChimp, SendGrid, ConstantContact, ExactTarget Custom - Adigami can import proprietary data...

Does Your API Showcase Its DOers?

30 November 2012
Poster boy for how to properly run your API ecosystem properly, Twilio, recently updated their DOer Gallery to highlight developers in the Twilio ecosystem that build cool stuff on the popular voice and SMS API. Twilio has the best record I’ve seen of any API, when it comes to showcasing and being loved by their developer community, and I'm sure the DOer Gallery plays an important role in that. The Twilio DOer Gallery has the following features: Personal Details Short Bio Skills Other Profiles Projects Devloper Galleries like Twilios might not be for every API platform. But if you have a passionate base of developers you might want to consider giving them their own profile and a gallery where they can not just discover and interact with each other, it can let other companies find potential developers to execute projects via your API...

LearnSrout Says IlluminateEd API is Best Student Information System API So Far

30 November 2012
I got an email from Anthony Wu over at LearnSprout yesterday. If you are not following what LearnSprout is up to, they are bridging legacy student information systems (SIS) and providing easy to use web APIs that application developers can use to build educational apps. The email from Anthony was in regards to a SIS LearnSprout was integrating with, which he said: IlluminateEd is the best SIS API we've seen so far! Clean & simple. OAuth, JSON, no bullshit. If every SIS did this, we could just move on to greener pastures. This kind of thing should be encouraged! I agree with Anthony. The IlluminateEd API is clean and simple. They intelligently use common technical API building blocks like oAuth and JSON, while keeping the API interfaces intuitive and meaningful and provide simple, up to date documentation...

Facebook Provides Developers with Platform Alerts

30 November 2012
Right before the Thanksgiving holiday, in an effort to make the Facebook platform more responsive and dependable for developers, Facebook announced Developer Alerts. Developer alerts are a way for Facebook platform developers to receive critical information about their apps via email or Facebook notification. Facebook Developer Alerts provide the following for Facebook app administrators: Breaking Changes - If your app is using functionality that FB is changing or removing, you will be sent an alert at least 90 days before the change goes into effect App Status Changes - If you have submitted Open Graph actions or created an app detail page for App Center, FB will use Developer Alerts to notify you when the status of your submission changes Policy Violations and Enforcement - If your app doesn’t adhere to FB Platform Policies you will be notified through these alerts Facebook Developer Alerts are more than notifications, it is an issue management system which will allow multiple developers on a project to known when action is required or things have been resolved...

Start-Up Offers Blueprints For 3D Printed Parts

30 November 2012
I read a great post recently about how a company called Teenage Engineering has started providing 3D CAD files that allow their customers to 3D print replacement parts for the products they make. It is awesome to see things I talk about become reality.  I wrote about the concept of a 3D printed junk drawer last year, while doing research on 3D printing and APIs. Teenage Engineering is taking a big step, and potentially leading the industry in new ways.  Can you imagine if companies by default, provide 3D drawings of common replacement parts and pieces for their products? There is still a lot of gaps in how all of this can work, 3D printing is widely available yet, but with retailers like Staples playing around with offering 3D printing on demand, the future for 3D printing is looking pretty bright...

Managing API Terms of Service, Privacy, and Branding with Github

29 November 2012
The legal building blocks of an API can be just as critical as the technical and business building blocks. It makes sense to version and communicate your API terms of use (TOS) , privacy policy and branding guidelines alongside your code. Since Github will allow document types other than code, such as markdown and PDF, it can make sense to use Github for managing the legal side of your API. Using Github for the legal aspects of API operation will provide a level of transparency developers will appreciate, allowing them to download and store for their own records while being able to see the difference between each version, in a format that makes sense to them. Just as with all other areas of an API, Github will allow you to completely manage the evolution of your API terms, privacy and branding in a way that is in sync with all the other technical and business building blocks of your API...

I Will Be At API Days in Paris France Next Week

29 November 2012
I am heading to Paris, France next week for API Days. API Days is December 3rd and 4th in Paris and is dubbed as the "First National Event on APIs in Europe". The two day event is organized by faberNovel, who helps large organizations think and act like startups, and by WebShell, who enables developers to easily make advanced web and mobile applications based on APIs. API Days sees the API economy the same way I do: The Web 1.0 was readable, the Web 2.0 was social, now the web is programmable through application programming interfaces, aka APIs. Web APIs are a unique opportunity for companies, governments and developers to either better organize the governance of their IT into a scalable and flexible model, either leverage a complete ecosystem around the organization, exchanging data through the web for trillion of applications on billion devices...

Chartboost's API Driven Approach to Application Development

29 November 2012
The team over at Chartboost have a pretty forward thinking blog post about what they see as the next generation of web application development. They feel that the future is about creating web applications, not sites. The server side should be an API and the client should be a self-contained app which uses the API as its back-end. With mobile applications following the same pattern. To practice what they preach, Charboost is overhauling their help site to be an API driven web app using the following approach: Push State - Provide site navigation without page refreshes by faking navigation and inserting JavaScript callbacks JSON-API - A REST API providing JSON to drive the site Responsive Design - Providing an application design that responds to mobile as well as it does laptops or desktop computers Vector (Icon Fonts & CSS) - Using a combination of icon fonts and CSS3 to deliver the UI...

Where To Have Your API Sticker Swag Printed?

29 November 2012
Swag can be a critical tool in any API evangelist toolbox. And stickers are one piece of swag that if possessing the right design, can be something developers will take home and put to use. Earlier today Ari Fuchs (@arifuchs), developer evangelist for Aviary asked, “who do you use to print your sticker swag?” attn devangelists and startup marketing masters, who do you use to print your sticker swag? cc/ @baconseason @swiftalphaone @kinlane — ari fuchs (@arifuchs) November 29, 2012 In which Michael Schonfeld (@baconseason), developer evangelist at Dwolla responded with 1800postcards.com. @arifuchs @swiftalphaone @kinlane 1800postcards.com not sure why tho… thats just who our designers chose...

Join Me For AngelHack Los Angeles This Weekend with Singly

29 November 2012
I’m going to head over to AngelHack Los Angeles this weekend (Saturday, December 1, 2012 at 9:00 AM - Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 5:00 PM) with Singly. AngelHack Los Angeles is part of 11 city hackathon competition where winning teams will receive: 6-8 weeks of mentorship and be flown into Silicon Valley for a weekend of events including a Global Demo Day to A-list investors and media, Site visits to, Google, Facebook, Google Ventures, VIP dinners, and raging parties with the Valley startup community. The hackathon is boasting over $650,000 in prizes. Crazy! So if you are in the Los Angeles area this weekend, head over to CrossCampus at 820 Broadway St in Santa Monica. The event kicks off 9AM saturday morning...

PeopleBrowsr Wins Temporary Injunction To Keep Twitter From Shutting Off Firehose

28 November 2012
Social analytics provider PeopleBrowsr has won a temporary injunction against Twitter today, with a complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court. It reads: PeopleBrowsr seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction to prevent Twitter from destroying its business, interfering with PeopleBrowsr’s contractual and prospective business relations, and restraining competition in markets using Twitter data. The complaint was filed in response to a trheat from Twitter to cut off PeopleBrowsr’s access to its Firehose by November 30, 201  PeopleBrowsr has had access to the full Twitter full firehose for over four years. According to the complaint: PeopleBrowsr’s products require the full Firehose feed...

3Scale Launches Open Source API Proxy Built On NGNIX

15 November 2012
Those of you who follow my blog, know my favorite API management service provider is 3Scale. It’s no secret I’m a fan of what they are doing. We share a vision of the API space and what a healthy API industry will look like. In support of that vision, 3Scale just launched a new open source API proxy build on the NGNIX web server technology--a move, I feel is important for 3Scale, as well as the entire API industry. What makes 3Scale’s approach signficant, is that by deploying the NGNIX proxy, API providers don't need to rely on proprietary API proxy solutions, while also gaining additional benefits, such as acess to a library of 3rd party addons and modules available in the NGNIX ecosystem...

The API Fabric for the Next Generation of Apps

13 November 2012
I’m always on the hunt for meaningful API analogies, to stock my evangelism toolbox. Ways that I can relate the potential of APIs, in a way that anyone can understand, even non-developers. In my opinion, the success of the web API movement lies in the ability to extend, potentially complex resources in a very simplistic and universal way. So, as an evangelism I have to abstract away the complexities and make sure I connect with my audience. As I’m tracking on the API space and working to quantify the potential future of APIs, I’m struggling to find meaningful analogies to articulate where API driven platforms like Singly are moving the industry. But just as with the technology, leave it to the Singly team to do this for me...

BandPage Connects Bands To Their Fans Using An API

13 November 2012
BandPage, a hub for musicians to manage and control their online presence, just expanded their reach with BandPage Connect, an API, allowing developers to build apps for the music industry. I wrote about their update once, publish everywhere with an embeddable API strategy back in July, feeling an API would be next. When it comes to a Bands most treasured assets, music is always held up as the most valuable piece of the catalog, but band info, events, venues, videos and photos of the band are essential to the success of these artists--emotionally connecting fans with their favorite bands. This is where BandPage Connect comes in. The API will allow bands to provide content to open API developers, as well as their partners, in a self service approach...

Where Are The APIs For State Health Insurance Exchanges?

13 November 2012
I was listening to a story about Nevada quietly starting their implementation of health insurance exchanges, as part of what everyone loves to call Obamacare. I’m not even going to get involved in the politics and merit of making sure everyone is insured--I want to focus on the execution of it. Immediately I think: Where is the state health insurance exchange platform API? According to healthcare.gov an exchange is: A mechanism for organizing the health insurance marketplace to help consumers and small businesses shop for coverage in a way that permits easy comparison of available plan options based on price, benefits and services, and quality. By pooling people together, reducing transaction costs, and increasing transparency, Exchanges create more efficient and competitive markets for individuals and small employers...

Socrata Planning Open Source Government Data Server

13 November 2012
Socrata announced today that they are preparing to release an open source, cloud-based, open data system, called the “Socrata Open Data Server, Community Edition.” If you don’t already follow what Socrata does, they are the data platform behind municipal open data initiatives like NYC City Data, San Francisco City Data and Data.gov. The new Socrata Open Data Server is meant to be a reference for the open data standard they are actively evolving to promote data portability throughout open government data ecosystems, and support open source software policies in public organizations around the globe--called The Open Data Substrate. The goal of the Socrata open source strategy is to enable customers to rapidly accelerate the process of breaking data out of traditional database “silos,” move it to the cloud and opening it for mass consumption to end users and developers...

Axway Acquires API Management Service Provider Vordel

13 November 2012
I don’t know if you saw the big news last week, but software publisher Axway announced intent to acquire API service provider Vordel. I’m not a big fan of covering funding, acquisition or launch press releases, unless there a significant business story there. But the acquisition of Vordel is another important sign for the API industry in 2012. Financial terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed, but the acquisition shows the API industry is maturing and producing desirable companies with proven API products, that larger software companies can use as a competitive advantage. While Vordel's API management, SOA governance and identity management will help Axway’s customers, I think Vordel’s customers is probably the type of new client large software companies will want be also seeking out through acquisitions...

Communicate Your API Roadmap with Github

12 November 2012
When you operate an API, you need to make sure and communicate with your developer community about what your plans are for the future, so developers can plan their own roadmap, and keep in sync with the coming changes to the API. In addition to issue management using Github, API providers can use Github to manage their roadmap using the milestones features of the social coding platform. Milestones can be directly related to issues or can be larger goals around where you intend to take your API. Milestones give developers insight into what the plans are the future of an API, using just a title, description and target date. Milestones are one of the simplest aspects of an API, but can go a long way in creating goodwill with your developers...

Still Looking for Evangelists in Portland, Seattle and Austin

12 November 2012
I started actively looking for evangelists, advocates and ambassadors in multiple cities last week. I got a great response from quite a few folks who were already evangelizing in their communities or just curious about evangelism. Even with the response I’m still looking for evangelists in Portland, OR, Seattle, WA and Austin, TX. If you're interested in attending tech meetups and hackathons in your town and evangelizing some innovative API and developer platforms, I want to talk more. I was surprised to get numerous folks contacting me in other cities around the world, saying they were open evangelism in their area. Even though I’m actively looking in Portland, OR, Seattle, WA and Austin, TX, I’m still looking to add other cities to my list--so don't hesitate to reach out...

API Evangelist Development Partner, Concentric Sky

12 November 2012
Mobile app development is at the center of API deployment in 2012. Much of the interest in designing, developing and deploying APIs is so that you can successfully launch one, or multiple mobile applications. I get a lot of questions from companies looking to deploy APIs, where they can find development talent that will help them with their API driven mobile initiatives. Up until now I didn’t have much to offer them, any mobile developer I know that is good, is already snatched up, and without direct experience deploying projects with a development shop, I didn’t have one to recommend. Now that has changed, I’ve been working with a rock star web and mobile dev shop called Concentric Sky...

CloudMine + Singly = Rapid Mobile App Development With Social Baked In

12 November 2012
Backend as a Service (BaaS) provider CloudMine and aggregated social API platform Singly announced a partnership today, to make sure the mobile applications developers are building using CloudMine have social baked in by default. CloudMine is delivering on the BaaS promise and providing all the tools developers need to rapidly develop and scale their mobile applications, by providing a complete backend solution for developers including user management, object storage, push notifications, syncing and other essential tools developers need to be successful. CloudMine + Singly Partnership Announcement from CloudMine on Vimeo. Social is the logical next step in the BaaS evolution. Social authentication, data, friends, followers are also essential for any developer building an app these days, so the partnership being CloudMine and Singly makes sense...

API Strategy & Practice Reboot, February 21st, 22nd 2013

12 November 2012
It’s been 2 weeks since New York City was hit by hurricane Sandy, and while things aren’t back to normal, everyone is beginning to look to the future, and starting the process of moving past the devastating storm. With this spirit in mind, we’ve confirmed dates for the API Strategy & Practice conference! Lock in February 21st and 22nd, 2013and make sure you are in New York City for the reboot of the communities own API industry conference. So far it looks like we’ll have most of the session, panel and keynote lineup as in the original schedule with just a few minor adjustments. With the new dates, we’ll reboot ticket sales and start the countdown. We look forward to having you joining the conversation at API Strategy and Practice in New York City, February 21st and 22nd, 2013...

API Issue Management Using Github

08 November 2012
Github should be the center of your API operations, with the most obvious use being for SDK repositories, but Github offers a lot of other valuable tools that you can use to manage your API platform. One great use of Github is as an API issue management tool. The Github issue management system allows you to easily accept issue reports from your API community and apply labels to organize them into appropriate categories, for processing by your development team. To setup Github Issue Management for your API, just create a new repository, but you won't actually being pushing any code, you will just be using it as a container for running issue management. Think of it as repository for your API itself...

Preparing for the Defrag Experience

08 November 2012
I was trying to explain the experience of being at the Defrag Conference, to a friend the other day. We are both gearing up for the event, next week (November 14th & 15th), in Broomfield Colorado, and he had never been to one so I wanted to share a little about what the experience is like. The Defrag event is organized by Eric Norlin, who also organizes Gluecon and Blur conferences, all at the Omni Interlocken resort in Broomfield. Each of Eric’s events have evolved each year, but currently reflect the following focus: Gluecon - Cloud, Mobile, APIs, Big Data for developers Defrag - What's coming next in technology Blur - Human Computer Interaction (HCI) Eric has a unique way of bringing together the leaders from the space to discuss relevant technologies in a very intimate space...

Publish Your API Presentations and Guides to Github

07 November 2012
Github isn't just for code. Github can be used for HTML documents and PDF's as well. This opens up endless possibilities for management of documents you wish to share with your developer ecosystem. One excellent example of this is publishing presentations from the various talks, hackathons and conferences you present at. When you are done with a talk and would like to share with your community, you can just expose it as a PDF or HTML document, and push to Github. You can also use this same approach for how-to guides and training materials you want to make available for your developers. Allowing them to download and fork, or even follow the changes on Github, for the richest training materials an API provides...

Gil Speaking at Techonomy on The Meanings of Data

07 November 2012
I'm digging on this statement from Gil Elbaz @ Factual.  Gil is participating on a panel “The Forest for the Trees: The Meanings of Data” at the Techonomy Conference on Sunday, November 11th in Tucson, Arizona at the Ritz Carlton.  We live in a world of patterns. Now we’re getting better at discerning them. As we see the big patterns in human behavior, and in the movement of money, products, jobs, weather, energy, disease, and even molecules and stars, a new era of understanding dawns. Can companies and governments draw proper conclusions fast enough? Where will this world of patterns discerned take us? I've heard Gil talk several times, and I am a big believer in his views on data, and supporter of Factual as a platform...

API KPIs Should Be Optimized for Developer Success

05 November 2012
When it comes to measuring the success of an API, we often experience a lack meaningful metrics, with many companies only tracking the number of new developers and quantity of API calls. Going beyond these basic API metrics and identifying true performance indicators (KPI), will be essential if you want to find success with your API. To speak in a more traditional marketing sense, a pretty standard sales funnel can be used to set the stage, defining the intake of developers as the top of your funnel, paid accounts and production applications the bottom of your APIs funnel--giving you a common framework for hanging KPIs on.   However, when using a sales funnel to frame your API marketing efforts, be careful of being blinded that success will all be all about moving developers from the top, to the bottom of your funnel...

Evangelists Needed in New York, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, Denver, Austin and Portland

03 November 2012
I call it being an evangelist, but it has other names, such as advocate or ambassador. Someone who is good at evangelism, in my opinion, starts with a love of hacking but is also having a love of helping others learn and understand technology. I can’t help being an evangelist, it’s just part of my personality. These days, I get enough requests for evangelists, so I decided to start finding passionate hackers within specific communities to help fill requests. Some requests for evangelists are full time positions, some part time, while others involve just going to meetups and hackathons in evenings and on weekends as needed. Currently I’m on the hunt for some passionate hacker personalities in New York, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, Denver, Austin, Atlanta and Portland...

API Developer Profiling Using Github

03 November 2012
One very powerful way to use Github within your API strategy is for developer profiling. This approach requires the deployment of another Github solution, API Developer login using Github. After you implement authentication for you API using Github, the Github API provides a wealth of opportunity for you to learn more about developers. The types of developers you want for your API are also developers who have an active Github profiles. Using Github, you can immediately tell if someone is an active developer based upon their presence and usage of the social coding network. Github provides basic profile details, like where a developer lives and which programming language they use. You can also see which other tools and code they following and commit to, giving an overall profile of their developer lifestyle...

Help EFF Make Case For No Copryight on APIs

02 November 2012
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) needs our help to explain to the Federal Circuit Court on why there should NOT be copyrights on APIs. As EFF published today: Earlier this year, we applauded District Court Judge Alsup for getting it right and holding that, as a matter of law, one could not copyright APIs. The case, Oracle v. Google, is now on appeal to the Federal Circuit, where a three-judge panel is going to revisit Judge Alsup’s ruling. The EFF is soliciting the our assistance in how to help build the case, asking for feedback on two example areas: Software reimplementing someone else’s API, calling someone else’s API, or any other uses of third-party APIs for interoperability, competition, or innovation...

Discuss the API Strategy & Practice Session Lineup in a Live Hangout

02 November 2012
We are wasting no time getting the API Strategy & Practice conference back on track, after being put on hold because of hurricane Sandy. With the current status of New York City, it’s subways, airports, there is no way the event could have happened--we made the right decision to cancel. We are currently discussing the best dates for rescheduling in January and February of 2013, and are hopeful that we will have date finalized next week. While we are awaiting that process we figured we’d spend some time and discuss the session lineup for the conference. We are rather proud of the keynote, panel and session lineup we’ve pulled together, but we feel we can make it even better...

Make Your Own About.json File For Your Company Website

02 November 2012
I spend a lot of time trying to find company logos and a little blurb about what a company does.  You'd think in this cloudy API driven world there would a simpler way.   I decided to create my own solution.  I created an about.json file for API Evangelist. When you need my company logo, a quick description about API Evangelist or other key information like my Twitter account or Blog RSS, you know where to find it. Now, could you please create one for your company?  You can copy my about.json above, go to JSON Editor Online, paste it in and create your own.  When done, make sure and save to your desktop as text file and upload to the root of your site.   I'll always take a look at http://example...

About API Evangelist .JSON

02 November 2012
I spend a lot of time looking for a quick description or logo for companies.  Finding a good quality logo is a pain in the ass! To be the change I want to see in the world, I created an about.json file for API Evangelist. Now you can programmatically pull information about API Evangelist, and I will keep updated as things change.

Postponing API Strategy and Practice in NYC Due to #sandy

30 October 2012

API Developer Login Using Github

29 October 2012
As with most social platforms, Github provides oAuth for their platform, allowing developers to provide secure credentials and authentication for their users via a Github account. Service providers like Singly are providing two click authentication using Github's oAuth. This allows any website or app to offer their users the ability to login with their Github profile. Allowing authentication via Github is no brainer for API providers. Why require users to create yet another login, or even use Twitter or Facebook oAuth? Allow them to login and retrieve API keys via the one social profile that reflects the programmer side of their online profile. Github login can be implemented in any programming language, and because it is oAuth, it is something end users will understand...

REST Web Services & API Security with Intel

29 October 2012
When it comes to API service providers, there is one brand that I would say is widely known, but when we are talking about APIs, often gets overlooked. That company is Intel. In addition to a whole suite of SOA and Cloud Middleware, all with an emphasis on security--Intel has a REST Web Services Gateway. This provides a simple solution to the number concern I get from potential API owners: How do I secure my API? The Intel REST Web Services Gateway provides: Invoke Security Token Service credential mapping or validation Ensure throttling and SLAs by REST service Extend Enterprise audit and compliance to WOA and REST Detailed XML threat prevention and payload inspection Service virtualization, proxy, and abstraction as a policy enforcement point REST API security and management You can find a summary of the product, a full data sheet, as well as some video tutorials over at Intel...

Pearson Sets Example For Other Publishing APIs

28 October 2012
One API I’ve been watching grow and evolve from day one is the Pearson Developer Community. I first wrote about them when Peasron announced a new initiative to build an API platform that give developers access to the publisher's content in May of 2011. Then in August 2011 they launched three APIs: Longman Dictionary - The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English is the flagship Longman dictionary FT Press - FT Press provides essential insights from the best business books and original writings by leading business thinkers Eyewitness Guides - The DK Eyewitness Travel Guides show you what others only tell you After Pearson got acquainted with the ins and outs of API evangelism, and supporting the Pearson developer community, they released two more APIs this year: Pearson Kitchen Manager - Pearson Kitchen Manager is a valuable resource for food enthusiasts and chefs alike, featuring a vast collection of recipes from bestselling Pearson textbooks of top culinary schools Nursing & Health Survival Guides API - The best-selling Pearson Nursing & Health Survival Guide series is the UK's premier quick reference, aide memoire support for health and social care students and professionals while in practice and studying It looks like Pearson is really finding a rhythm with identifying content to make available, as well as the right approach to deploying as APIs...

API Code Samples via Gists

28 October 2012
Code samples in a variety of languages are how API owners help developers understand an API in the language that makes the most sense to them. Not all developers will understand REST, HTTP and other things you might take for granted. Very simple code samples will help demonstrate an APIs functionality, making the learning process a hands-on experience. Github provides a very lightweight tool for publishing API code samples, that can be embedded on any website, called Gists. You can easily copy / paste a working code sample into a Gist and Github returns a lightweight, embeddable JavaScript that you can use in documentation, blog posts and any where you will need to share with users. Github Gists can be a much sexier, and easier to implement alternative to html <code> tags...

SDK Management for Your API with Github

25 October 2012
The most common use of Github by API providers is to publish API SDK's to the popular social coding platform. If you look at most of the the top API providers in operation today, you will find they are actively using Github to not just manage and publicize their API SDK's, but actively interact with their developer ecosystem in the process. Github provides the necessary workflow for initial design, development and publicizing of API SDKs, allowing owners to create separate repositories for web-based SDKs like PHP, Python and Ruby and mobile SDKs for iOS, Android and Windows mobile. By making API SDK's public repositories on Github you get all the code management benefits of Github, but also make them available for social interaction by your developers...

Next Generation of API Service Provider: APIphany

25 October 2012
I get so busy sometimes my stories pile up. Some only seeing the light of day when I get caught up on research, projects, travels and speaking. On story I’ve been meaning to write for almost 3 months now is about APIphany, one of the new generation of API providers. I met the APIphany team in person when I went out to Washington DC in August. The APIphany team was cool enough to come out and support my API Craft meetup in DC, then the next morning I went out to their offices and met the rest of the team. APIphany sees the industry very similar to me, and believe in self-service, pay as you go API services that allow for anyone to innovate around APIs. I’ve been watching their progress and they have 3 very cool projects made public so far: Washington Post - Developer area for Washington Post, providing some endpoints including an Issue Engine API, White House Visitors Log API, and the Campaign Finance API Houston Metro - Developer portal for the Houston area, providing public transit in the Houston metropolitan area for bus and rail The Voting Information Project (VIP) - Offering APIs and developers tools to provide voters with access to customized election information, helping them navigate the voting process and cast an informed vote When I met the team in August, they described how they were building out so many custom projects for customers that were API driven, they decided to standardize their approach and offer a product...

APIs Can Save Money and Make Government More Efficient

25 October 2012
While I was out in Washington DC this week, one of the Presidential Innovation Fellows in my workshop was from the Department of Energy, and shared one of the best examples of APIs delivering value I’ve seen in awhile. The US Department of Energy has developed the Bioenergy Knowledge Discovery Framework (KDF), which is a platform for researchers and engineers from national laboratories, academia, and private industries to upload files, customize information online, and exchange knowledge with each other. The Bioenergy Knowledge Discovery Framework provides acess to a landmark “Billion-Ton” bioenergy study on fuel resources, providing a wealth of information from a variety of researchers...

A Problem With Finding API Owners in Government

24 October 2012
I had a great discussion with a friend who works in federal government yesterday. We were talking about various ways to “successfully” deploy APIs within the federal government. She gets APIs, understands the benefits, but she had some very realistic perspectives on where API deployment within the federal government can fail. While discussing this with her, we kept coming back to two points: API Garbage Littering the Internet - With some of the tools, making it easier to deploy APIs, the potential to just post meaningless and worthless data sets grows Lack of API Ownership - There are big movements to get APIs deployed, but then very little ownership once its up. Regarding worthless APIs being deployed, I think we can mitigate this by providing some sort of ranking or voting systems for APIs, allowing developers to upvote or downvote and add some critical feedback on what is right, or what is wrong...

A Hackathon Philosophy From Warren Wilbee of Microsoft

24 October 2012
While doing the weekly hackathon roundup in September, I noticed an uptick in the number of Windows 8 hackathons that are going on. I decided to reach out to Microsoft and see if I can get more information on what they are trying to accomplish, and see what their perspective is on hackathons. After talking to several people I was directed to a gentleman by the name of Warren Wilbee (@wwilbee), Director of ISV Evangelism at Microsoft. Wilbee is a passionate evangelist, one that isn't just externally evangelizing, he is actively working to evolve internal culture and options about the value of hackathons at Microsoft. When I got on the phone with him, he said the reason I was directed to him is because he had recently circulated an internal memo regarding the makeup and value of hackathons...

Version Control Your API Documentation with Github

24 October 2012
Out of date API documentation is by far the most common mistake API providers make, and also the number one pain point for API developers. It makes sense that you will want to keep your API documentation in sync with each version of your API, and one way to handle this is to version them both, using Github. To use Github for your API documentation, all you need to do is create an single public repository, which you can use to manage HTML versions of your API docs. By putting your API documentation in its own repository you can keep the version of the API code repository in sync with it's corresponding documentation. With the API documentation in Github, you can then easily publish to your API area or just allow developers to go directly to the Github repository and browse documentation there...

My Presentation to the Presidential Innovation Fellows

24 October 2012
I spent two hours with a handful of the Presidential Innovation Fellows in Washington DC yesterday. They were some super savvy folks from a wide variety of agencies and backgrounds including education, energy and health. During my two hours with them I walked through several areas of the API industry, from my perspective, including: History of APIs API Planning & Design API Development Business of APIs API Service Providers API Tools, Services, Platforms Politics of APIs API Evangelism What’s Next for APIs You can access my innovation fellows presentation off API Evangelist, I’ll leave it up permanently. It’s minus all my commentary and banter, but hopefully it will give you an idea of what I covered...

Open Source Your API With Github

22 October 2012
Github is a frequently used service in the toolbox of API owners. The most common use of Github is for publishing API SDKs in a variety of languages and platforms. But when it comes to truly being an "open API", some API owners are actually open sourcing their API design using Github. Open sourcing the design of your API will not be sensible for every provider. Many companies are looking to ensure developers use their API, maintaining an advantage over competitors. However in some cases, open sourcing the design of your API is a way to ensure interoperability between partners or among mutliple companies within a certain business sector. Simple examples of an API design might be for common systems like blogs, news, links, calendars or other API designs that don't deliver any sort of proprietary offerings...

Alcatel-Lucent's Laura Merling at API Strategy & Practice

22 October 2012
When 3Scale and I first decided to do the API Strategy & Practice Conference in New York, one of the first people I reached out to about speaking and sponsoring the event, was Laura Merling (@magicmerl), SVP Applications Enablement Platform and Strategy at Alcatel-Lucent. As soon as I told her about the event, she said “We are in! What do we need to do, to support it!” I’m stoked to have Laura kick off the event on Thursday, November 1st with a keynote as well as having Alcatel-Lucent as a gold sponsor. If you’ve never heard Laura speak, I highly recommend making sure you are there. She always has great insight into the success Alcatel-Lucent is having within emerging markets and the telco space...

The Right Partnership for the API Strategy & Practice Conference

20 October 2012
The API Strategy & Practice Conference is kicking off in 12 days in New York City. The event will be keynotes, sessions and panels from over 60 leading individuals across all sectors of the API industry. I’ve wanted to have an API industry event that was about ideas, practice and strategy, not just about companies, their products and clients for a while now. This is something that I could never achieve on my own. I just don’t have the money or all the connections to bring everyone together. To make API Strategy & Practice happen it took the right partnership. That partnership is with API service provider 3Scale. The 3Scale team views the industry much like I do, that by openly educating people about the benefits of APIs and discussing the technical, business and political challenges we face in the industry--we can truly make change across all business sectors...

A 100% Open API Industry & Conference

15 October 2012
When I set out to put on an API industry event in early 2012, I had grand visions of what it would be. Getting everyone together to discuss the best ideas, approaches the industry has to offer--while also discussing the critical topics such as open APIs, developer rights, monetization, etc. Fast forward 10 months, and the event is a reality, and even though it doesn’t exactly look like I imagined, it is damn close--with lots of amazing API discussions. After I announced the event has 60 speakers yesterday, I saw a tweet from Dave Winer (@davewiner): A conference about APIs with only speakers representing corporate APIs. Not one open API, so no interop. Lost.0ox.r2.ly — Dave Winer ☮ (@davewiner) October 15, 2012 Now for those of you who don’t read entire posts, I’m NOT going after Dave...

A Rock'n Speaker Lineup for API Strategy & Practice

14 October 2012
I finished updating the speaker lineup for the API Strategy & Practice Conference this weekend. While we still have a couple of panels to finalize and keynotes to announce, the speaker lineup is almost final. We have spent almost 8 weeks reaching out to leaders across the API industry, soliciting submissions for keynotes, panels and sessions. It has been a lot of fun taking all the submissions and crafting the most compelling schedule as possible. It was really important to me that we didn’t just discuss the common areas of the API industry, like service providers, REST, etc. Not that these aren’t relevant--they are! But I wanted to make sure we discuss some areas that are critical to the space, but do not get much airtime...

Heading to Washington DC to Talk APIs with Innovation Fellows

13 October 2012
I was honored this month to receive an invitation from Todd Park (@todd_park), the U.S. Chief Technology Officer, on behalf of the Presidential Innovation Fellows Program, to come out to Washington DC and spend an afternoon coaching and working with some of the Presidential Innovation Fellows on the Open Data Initiatives project. The Presidential Innovation Fellows program brings together top innovators from the private sector, nonprofits, and academia with top innovators in government to collaborate on solutions that aim to deliver significant results in six months, while being supported by a broader community of interested citizens throughout the country. The objective of the OpenData Initiatives are centered around: Stimulating a rising tide of innovation and entrepreneurship that utilizes government data to create tools that help Americans in numerous ways Working with the Innovation Fellows is just one areas I’m working to change the way our government works using APIs...

Does The Way I Look Make You Uncomfortable? Ok Now You're Ready for APIs!

13 October 2012
Lots of big news coming out of Apple's World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC2011) in San Francisco today. We saw major enhancements coming down the pipes with IOS 5 and Mac OS X Lion. What really stood out was their new iCloud. iCloud is free, seamless storage in the cloud for documents and everything else you use on your Mac and IOS devices. This means documents you've written, presentations you've prepared are available on any IOS device. You can view and edit the same document, in its latest state, on all your devices. And since iCloud automatically updates any changes you make, you don't even have to remember to save your work. iCloud will also have a full set of APIs for developers to take advantage of, allowing them to implement iCloud storage, sync, and backup for documents into any application...

Thoughts On Running a Successful Meetup From Jeremia Kimmelman of Mobile Mondays

13 October 2012
As part of my research into how to create healthy developer communities, I've been spending time reaching out to organizers of developer meetups in different cities so I can get some insight into what it takes to successfully organize and run a developer meetup. I recently spoke to Jeremia Kimelman (@jeremiak) of Tout, who runs Mobile Monday Developers. Jeremia took over the Mobile Monday Developers with the idea that he would create a meet up format where tech companies could reach out to developers in a non-spammy way. Companies could sponsor workshops and come in to deliver on topics like HTML5 or HTML5 vs Native Apps, and do it in a way that would add value to developers worlds. This is a model that I'm sure many tech companies would drool over, and very often view meetups as a perfect medium for this type of sales pitch...

The API Evangelist Mission

12 October 2012
Many folks who encounter API Evangelist think I'm working to evangelize a single API.  I field so many questions about this I thought I would address by publishing an API Evangelist mission statement.  The mission of API Evangelist is to educate business, nonprofit and government leaders about the value of APIs to their organizations. API Evangelist is made up of four properties: API Evangelist (apievangelist.com) - Business of APIs API Voice (apivoice.com) - Politics of APIs API Stack (theapistack.com) - API discovery and ranking Hack Weekends (hackweekends.com) - Hackathon news and calendar With API Evangelist I strive to be the independent voice for the industry, providing the public with information about API: Building Blocks Service Providers Industries Tools News Analysis The goal is to provide a wealth of resources for those looking to design, develop and deploy APIs without bias towards a specific platform--allowing them to make an educated choice about what path they should take...

NPR Adds Content Permission Control to their API

10 October 2012
NPR is defining new models for content distribution. One that other media providers can follow, when designing their API driven content delivery platforms. The NPR Story API provides digital access to NPR content and to other station content--allowing both NPR and stations to contribute and consume local and national news stories. In an effort to provide NPR stations with more control over the content they contribute to the platform for distribution, NPR Digital Services has introduced content permissions control via the NPR story API. Currently content stored on the Story API’s platform can be retrieved by anyone with an API key--allowing content pushed across the network to be consumedd in 3 ways: Create Once, Publish Everywhere - Stations and npr...

Developers Resist API Evangelism

08 October 2012
Marketing to developers is no straightforward task, and with the growth in the number of APIs, platforms, tools and active evangelists and advocates, it is only going to get harder. Developers just don’t want to be sold anything. We just want to do what we do, and just be left alone--until we need help and reach out. Then we need you to be there. With API Evangelist I’m evangelizing the importance of APIs to a wider audience beyond developers, while also helping companies understand how they can market their services to developers. Helping non-developers understand about APIs is getting easier each month, while helping API owners market to developers is getting harder. Many companies are even opting to not use the term advocate or evangelist, as these names are beginning to have a negative impression with developers...

Join Me and WSO2 for a Webinar on API Management Building Blocks and Business Value

06 October 2012
I will be doing a webinar with Chris Haddad (@cobiacomm) of WSO2 on October 9th, where we discuss API management best practices for digital business ecosystem. WSO2 is one of my partner API server providers. I’m a big supporter of what they do because they were the first open source API service provider to emerge out of the 20 API service providers in the space. Chris and I will be exploring a couple are of specific areas, regarding the business of APIs: Emerging API economy and digital business ecosystems How to assemble the building blocks of a successful API When a complete open source API management platform delivers business value Future trends in maximizing the value of APIs WSO2 brings a wealth of API experience to the table and I look forward to exploring these areas with Chris...

Github is the Social Network of the Future

06 October 2012
There is a lot of news about social networks in the last couple of weeks, with Facebook reaching 1B users, a brand new look for MySpace giving people hope for the struggling social network, the great Twitter migration to App.net and what a master of improv Dick Costolo is, writing Twitters script. All of these news items are in some way trying to convince us of what the future of social networking will look like, declaring Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and App.net as a contender. While all of these social networks aren’t going anywhere, I think there is one social network that represents the future of all social networks--Github. If you don’t know what Github is, you probably aren’t a programmer...

Hack the Process

04 October 2012
Hackathons are a popular way for developers to come together and hack on mobile and web apps, in hopes of winning prizes and getting noticed for their innovation. Silicon Valley has done a great job of keeping hackathons about building apps, but there are many other ways to apply the hackathon model. One hackathon model that I’ve seen a couple times now, is more about hacking a process, rather than hacking an app. A hackathon where any company, organization or individual can come, with their existing process, and walk participants through what they are looking to accomplish--with the goal of making it better. The process could be anything they already do on a regular basis and are looking to optimize, or a new process they would like to develop...

Just a Few of the People Speaking at the API Strategy & Practice Conference

27 September 2012
The API Strategy & Practice conference added 15 speakers to their API industry event November 1st and 2nd in New York City: Jakub Nestril from Apiary (@jakubnesetril) Mike Reich from Cumula (@therealreich) Matt Bishop of ElasticPath Travis Reeder of Iron.io (@treeder) Miko Matasumura of Kii (@mikojava) Tyler Singletary of Klout (@harmophone) Amit Jotwani from Mashery (@amit) Irakli Nadareishvili, NPR (@inadarei) Mike Swift of Sendgrid (@SwiftAlphaOne) Andrew Mager ♫ of Spotify (@mager) Ross Boucher of Stripe (@boucher) Tony Tam from Swagger (@fehguy) Jason Loup from Temboo (@jasonjloup) Max Katz of Tiggzi (@tiggzi) John Bunting from Tumblr...

Tumblr Launches New Github Site

25 September 2012
The Tumblr engineering team has been hard at work on a new Github page, showcasing the open source projects they've released.   Tumblr has also added a coming soon section, highlighting open source projects they are planning on releasing in the near future. What's interesting is they have also included select presentations from conferences and events Tumblr has presented at.  The Github implementation by Tumblr is pretty unique, and to go even further, Tumblr has also open sourced their whole approach to deploying it on Github. Tumblr's use of Github is worth showcasing.  I think it's an innovative approach that other API owners could follow to showcase the open source project they are working on, as well as valuable event presentations...

The Best Team Page Ever!!

25 September 2012
When it comes to any business, you want to showcase your team, and the value they bring to the table.   One of the things I do here at API Evangelist, is showcase great examples of technology across the API industry.   With this in mind I wanted to showcase the Singly team page.  When you visit singly.com and click on team in the footer, you get immediately see a team member photo carousel: Which isn't very unique, but next you get 3 things that are unique: Average number of hours each Singly team member slept this week Number of Github commits in the last 7 days Distance walked by Singly team members Singly team members provide this data using Quantified Self (QS) data from products like Fitbit and Runkeeper, and social programming networks like Github--driven by APIs...

API Strategy & Practice + Defrag

25 September 2012
When you spend a lot of time going to conferences, hackathons and events, you start really getting picky about which events you go to. To disrupt my regular routine, I need an event that will always add value to my professional career, but also be a good time! When it comes to the latest in Internet technolgy, I always make time each year for the Gluecon and Defrag conferences. Gluecon is usually in the spring and Defrag is in the fall--both occurring at the Omni Interlocken in Broomfield, CO. Defrag is coming up November 15th and 16th--right after November 1st and 2nd for the API Strategy & Practice in NYC. API Strategy & Conference is psyched to be partnering with Defrag in our first year...

API Issue Management With Github

23 September 2012
Github should be the center of your API operations, with the most obvious use being for SDK repositories, but Github offers a lot of other valuable tools that you can use to help manage your API platform. One great use of Github is as an API issue management tool.  The Github issue management system allows you to easily accept issue reports from your API community and apply labels to organize them into appropriate categories. To setup Github Issue Management for your API, just create a new repository, but you won't actually being pushing any code, you will just be using it as a container for running issue management.  Think of it as repository for your API itself. Once setup, you can link the issue management page directly from your API area, allowing users to actively submit issues, comment and potentialy be part of the API product development cycle...

Pulling a Federal Agencies Digital Strategy

21 September 2012
Back in May, when the White House CIO has released a strategy, entitled "Digital Government: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People", which directs all federal agencies to publish HTML, JSON and XML versions of their digital strategy, I wrote a PHP script to monitor the progress.  To date, 25 federal agencies have successfully published their digital strategy, and I have been updating my script regularly to keep up. And while a few of the agencies still have querks with their HTTP Codes and with JSON formatting, the code is starting to stabilize.  So I decided to start sharing it on Github, allowing others to put it to use. The first sample script I'm publishing is a basic example of how to pull the JSON version of a single agencies digital strategy...

Will Your Company Be Found In a Siri Search?

18 September 2012
I’m currently processing several discussion I’ve had with folks about APIs and the future of search when it comes to voice enabled apps, like Apple’s Siri. It started with a discussion with the Webshell folks about their blog post, Webservices supply chain management : the SIRI case. Next I was reading a presentation from Pat Cappelaere(@cappelaere) CEO of Vightel Corporation. called Building Tomorrow’s Web Services API. Pat has an interesting image in his deck, showing who the next generation consumer of your API will be: These conversations reflect a whole new area of consideration for the future of web APIs. Will voice be the dominant way to search via our mobile devices? If so, how do we expose our companies resources, in a way that makes them easily consumed by voice enabled apps? At the simplest, we need to discuss where REST fails us in this scenario, and at the most complex we need to discuss what “activities” will be consumed by voice apps and what types of “supply chain management” processes or framework will we need to manage all of this...

Simple API Developer Tracking Framework

18 September 2012
When you have an API, you track two things: 1) Number of Developer Registrations and 2) Number of API requests. This is how we determine a successful API, right? You should track those two things, but those metrics alone do not define a successful API. You should go much further. Each API owner will have their own definition of success, thus their own set of metrics to measure success. With this in mind, there is no single framework for measuring your API, but here is one suggestion for a basic framework to think about when tracking your API developers. First establish some buckets to put users in: New - Brand new developer Active - Developer actively using API (come up with number) Inactive - Developers who go below the "active" number threshold for X number of days Billable - Developer who is paying you $$ Partner - A developer who are working closer with than rest of developers Internal - Your staff or contractors who actively use your API, even for testing Then make sure and flag each user with a timestmap when they change status: 5/2/2012 - New 5/2/2012 - Active 7/9/2012 - Billable 8/15/2012 - Inactive I like to generate daily, weekly and monthly counts for each bucket, plus see numbers on the churn between buckets...

Generate API Server, Docs and Client Code Using Swagger

18 September 2012
We all have our own approaches to API design and development, many of which will never see the light of day. In the API space we hear a lot about API management and API success stories, but not much about the process of designing, developing and initial deployment of APIs. I just had a little taste of how the Wordnik team approaches it, using Swagger. Often when you hear about Swagger in the industry, you hear about the UI portion. You know the sexy interactive documentation that is fast becoming a standard with APIs, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg--there is a whole lot more power to Swagger, than just interactive docs. “The heart of Swagger is the specification, and from that, cool shit can get done!”, say Tony Tam Wordnik CEO and technical co-founder...

YouTube Moves API QA to Stack Overflow

17 September 2012
YouTube has decided to cease support for Youtube API QA via dedicated Google Group, and exclusively use Stack Overflow for developer QA support. Every developer knows that Stack Overflow is where you go to get the best answers for your programming issues, and API providers are taking notice too. Stack Overflow has always been something I recommend paying attention to for any API evangelist, but more API providers are considering it be the place where all API developer QA should exist. Facebook, Foursquare, and Salesforce have all moved their API developer QA to Stack Overflow. These API providers are still maintaining other API support building blocks like bug ticket systems, email and Twitter accounts, but when it comes to public developer forums they feel that Stack Overflow is enough...

An API Driven Quantified Self

17 September 2012
I’m immersing myself into the fascinating new world of the Quantified Self (QS). If you are not familiar with what QS is, according to Wikipedia: Quantified Self is a movement to incorporate technology into data acquisition on aspects of a person's daily life in terms of inputs (e.g. food consumed, quality of surrounding air), states (e.g. mood, arousal, blood oxygen levels), and performance (mental and physical). As I do with other areas, I start my research by doing a roundup of companies who offer QS products and services--which helps me define the space. Within an hour I easily found 50+ QS device manufacturers, some of which were complete with API driven integration platforms-- way too many to list in a single roundup, but here are a couple of better known companies: Fitbit - Fitbit is a health and fitness tracking device RunKeeper - Runkeeper is a device for tracking, measuring, and improving your fitness Withings - Withings provides connected body scales, blood pressure and baby monitors Zeo - Zeo has sleep tracking and management devices and apps These QS platforms represent a whole new opportunity for the API industry, one that will drive the next generation of healthcare innovation...

Twitter Rumored to Remove Third-Party Image Services From Clients

14 September 2012
I was just reading a post via Buzzfeed, that Twitter was going to remove third-party image services from its apps. “According to a person who was briefed on the company's plans”, the changes will be coming in the next updates to the Twitter client(s). "They're trying to control those eyeballs on their apps, they're an ad-based company, they make money that way,” says Twitpic founder Noah Everett, according to Buzzfeed. One thing is clear. Twitter is serious in its effort to take control over its ecosystem.  It has a plan, and it's systematically rolling it out, taking control over each area it needs to maximize "promoted" revenue.

Steve Klabnik Added to Speakers at API Strategy & Practice

13 September 2012
I’m stoked to announce that Steve Klabnik will be speaking at the API Strategy & Practice conference, November 1st & 2nd in New York City. I just added him to the homepage and speaker line-up. Steve is a highly respected Ruby developer, software craftsman, and an aspiring digital humanities scholar. He spends most of his time contributing to Open Source projects, and maintains both Hackety Hack and Shoes, while also teaching and helping develop curriculum for Jumpstart Lab. Steve has has written book on Designing Hypermedia APIs. Well it’s better than a book. I’d call it a "living digital book". One where you can constantly come back and get fresh content and interact with the books community and author...

Fireside Chat with Albert Wenger at API Strategy & Practice

13 September 2012
We are at an exciting time right now with the API Practice & Strategy conference, where we get to orchestrate the best lineup of speakers, sessions and panels possible. I just added Steve Klabnik to our speaker line-up and now we are excited to announce we’ll be having a fireside chat with Albert Wenger (@albertwenger) of Union Square Ventures (USV). Albert combines over 10 years of entrepreneurial experience with an in-depth technology background. As an entrepreneur, he has founded or co-founded five companies, including a management consulting firm (in Germany), a hosted data analytics company, a technology subsidiary for Telebanc (now E*Tradebank), an early stage investment firm, and most recently (with his wife), DailyLit, a service for reading books by email or RSS...

Rank My API Developers Who Authenticate With Github

12 September 2012
I’m updating the login and authentication for my content management system, APIs and other tools to provide authentication using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Github by default. I’m using Singly as an authentication provider, because their aggregation of API authentication, endpoints and objects across these providers is easy and most efficient way I know to get this accomplished. In addition to it being easy, I’m using Singly for another advantage. Each service Singly provides has a discovery endpoint, which provides me with metadata and the other endpoints each service provides. I want to use this meta data to derive a quick snapshot ranking of my authenticating user...

API Automation is the New SDK

12 September 2012
I’m seeing a lot of talk about API automation using platforms like IFTTT and Zapier these days. It’s one of the fastest growing areas of my future of web APIs series. A sign of this growth can be seen by Sendgrid’s announcement of their partnership with Zapier: Zapier makes it easy to sync data between web applications. They allow SaaS users to create integrations that push data between different web applications without having to waste time coming up with complicated systems. Now you can easily connect to SendGrid along with hundreds of other apps without having to write a single line of code. API automation is allowing API providers to reach entirely new audiences, acting as a sort of icon-based interface allowing anyone put their APIs to work for them...

Twitter's Embed Strategy Gets Priority in API Developer Area

12 September 2012
I’m a big supporter of API providers having a healthy embed strategy. I bundle any widgets, buttons and any API driven tool that allows enables users to take advantage of APIs, under the label, "API embed strategy". I noticed that Twitter gave it’s embeddable tools feature status in the Twitter developer area: Embeddable tools like Twitter’s Embedded Timelines, Twitter Cards, Embedded Tweets, Tweet Button and Follow Button are all great for empowering all your users to take advantage of an API. Twitter’s move is similar to that of LinkedIn, who also de-emphasized their API interfaces and offered various embeddable tools, badge and widget builder tools that help extend the API across the interwebz...

SOA Cloud 2012 Service Technology Symposium

11 September 2012
I'm happy to be a media partner for the SOA Cloud 2012 Service Technology Symposium, the largest international conference dedicated to the exploration of SOA, cloud computing and modern service technologies. SOA Cloud 2012 is happening September 24,25, 2012 in London, UK at the Imperial College London. The first day kicks off with: The Era of Intelligent Service Technology - Thomas Erl's well-known, visionary tour of relationships between and combinations of service-oriented architecture, cloud computing, and semantic Web technologies. New Paradigms for Application Architecture: From Applications to IT Services Speaker by Anne Thomas Manes of Gartner about the convergence of mobile, social, cloud, and information forcing demand that we adopt new paradigms for application architecture and delivery The first day keynotes have not one space agency talking APIs, but two...

NASA Adds a Little Extra Github To Their Digital Strategy

11 September 2012
I’ve been tracking the adoption of the White House CIO's digital strategy, trying understand each agency's mobile and API plans. Today I noticed that NASA, in addition to publishing their digital strategy in HTML, XML and JSON, added a "recent commits" Github widget on their digital strategy homepage. It’s a small, but very important addition. It shows that NASA sees the importance of not just using Github, but pushing code and interacting with developers via the social network. Github is a service that is getting more traction within government, and I hope that more federal agencies don’t just put it to use, but make it part of the culture within their organization. Github is more than a code repository, it will also help your agency be more "collaborative and open by default"...

What If APIs Should Be Finding Developers Instead of Developers Discovering APIs?

10 September 2012
I was spending time thinking about API discovery methodologies this afternoon (I know...I have issues), but with ProgrammableWeb approaching 8K public APIs, its a very real problem. Currently, as an application developer, when I have an idea, I start by sketching what I want to build and set out to find all of the resources I will need to make it a reality. I pick my platform of choice and then set out to find other API resources I will need to bring my app to life. I will need a database, user management and some analytics for my back-end, selecting a Backend as a Service (BaaS) provider like CloudMine or Kinvey. Next I need authentication and social integration with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn using Singly...

What Drives Me Crazy When Integrating With a New API?

08 September 2012
I was directed to an API question today, that needs to be asked constantly in the space: What’s your biggest web API pet peeve? What drives you crazy when integrating with a new API? — Wynn Netherland (@pengwynn) September 8, 2012 My response was: Reply to @pengwynn my top 4 R 1) incomplete or cumbersome docs 2) lack of code samples 3)senseless rate limiting 4) no self-service reg — Kin Lane (@kinlane) September 8, 2012 This is such a relevant topic I wanted to continue the conversation by listing the top 10 things that drive me crazy when integrating with a new API: Incomplete or Cumbersome Documentation - Definitely something that will keep you from a achieving a successful integration and make you walk away from an API Lacking Code Samples & Libraries - The programming language i’m using could vary from project to project, and the code samples and libraries can make or break my successful integration Senseless Rate Limiting - Rate limits are an essential part of API management, but placing of rate limits unecessarily and without pressure release options, doesn’t make sense No Self-Service Registration - As a developer, I need instant gratification...

API Can Be a Liability Without Proper BizDev Process

08 September 2012
At first glance, APIs seem like something very technical, and the REST pundits do a good job of maintaining this perspective. Even though at the core of what we currently know as a “web API” there is plenty of tech, web APIs can be much more business than tech--a notion first introduced by Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake when she coined the term BizDev 2.0. APIs in practice, are a new approach to business development, using a partner or public facing API that allows consumers to sign up, start accessing valueable business assets in a self-service way--allowing a company to scale business development opportunities with fewer human resources. Developers can start building applications and businesses around a companies assets, utilizing exposed API resources and self-service tools to establish a business relationship on their own...

Introducing the Next Generation of Communication Using APIs

07 September 2012
APIs are everywhere. The number of public APIs available on ProgrammableWeb are growing at a dizzying pace, with current count being at 7,207. The number of API service providers and tools supporting the new demand for simple, web APIs that mobile and web developers can use has seen the same pace of growth. I’m getting requests for API 101 materials across all business sectors from healthcare to the federal government. The pace of API consumption is growing as well, and up until recently, we only communicate in single words using APIs--we checkin, post, share, get, friend, like.  Now that we have learned the basic words, we need a way to form more "meaningful phrases and sentences to communicate using APIs"...

Ok, Geoloqi Has the Coolest Platform Pricing Page

07 September 2012

API Strategy & Practice Conference NYC

06 September 2012
The API industry has come of age in 2012. ProgrammableWeb has rolled over 7000 public APIs available, President Obama has mandated that all federal departments and agencies deploy APIs, and there are now two major, enterprise quality open-source API management solutions available. The industry is ready for its own, vendor neutral event where all API service providers and API owners can come together and discuss both the business and technical side of API design, deployment and management. With this in mind, I’d like to announce the API Strategy & Practice Conference, in New York City, on November 1st and 2nd 2012. Whether you already have API or are looking to better understand the strategy and best practices around API management, this is an event for you...

The Next Generation of API Programming Using Temboo and Webshell

06 September 2012
I’m exploring the future of web APIs, and have come to what I feel is what of the most fascinating areas of evolution in the usage of web APIs.  An approach that is very developer centric, which is something you don't always see in the current API service landscape. There are two companies working hard on developing new libraries for popular programming languages that abstract away much of the authentication and other complexities developers face when using APIs. Temboo and Webshell are two pioneers that are taking API development to a new level. Temboo is building libraries in Java, PHP, Python, or Ruby and Webshell is building libraries in JS, PHP, Ruby as well as providing a command line interface for programming against APIs...

Alcatel-Lucent Open Sources their API Management Platform

06 September 2012
Following the creative commons release of their API lifecycle methodology, telco API service provider Alcatel-Lucent has open sourced the “underpinnings” of their Open API Platform(OAP). The API management capabilities in OAP are being released under the name apiGrove. According to Alcatel-Lucent’s methodology there are four major components to API infrastructure: Management Composition Monetization Analytics Alcatel-Lucent is opening sourcing the first of the four components, allowing companies to deploy APIs and meter usage to support a variety of monetization plans, provide authentication via API key, username/password for REST and SOAP APIs. Alcatel-Lucent’s goal is to initially open source the API management component, while providing paid upgrades to API service composition, monetization and analytics, and are considering open sourcing other components in the future, when it makes sense...

"Alcatel-Lucent Open Sources their API Management Platform"

06 September 2012
Following the creative commons release of their API lifecycle methodology, telco API service provider Alcatel-Lucent has open sourced the “underpinnings” of their Open API Platform(OAP). The API management capabilities in OAP are being released under the name apiGrove. According to Alcatel-Lucent’s methodology there are four major components to API infrastructure: Management Composition Monetization Analytics Alcatel-Lucent is opening sourcing the first of the four components, allowing companies to deploy APIs and meter usage to support a variety of monetization plans, provide authentication via API key, username/password for REST and SOAP APIs...

Providing API Developers with Github Login Using Singly

05 September 2012
I’m building a small API that I want to allow developers to register for. I don’t want to make it a complicated registration process, I just want them to provide some sort of credentials and I will issWue a key that they can use to make API calls. To keep it simple I’m offering a login using a Github account. Every developer has a Github account right? Well if they don’t, they should. The easiest way there is to enable your API with a Github login is Singly. Using Singly, I sign in with my Github account (this is where I got this idea), then I add a new application, giving it the root URL and callback URL of my API developer area. Next I need to link up my Github account to my Singly account, by adding an application to my Github account...

How an API Strategy can Create an Innovation Engine for Engineers and Scientists

04 September 2012
This is a case study sent to me from National Instruments.  I just had to post it as is, because it just shows the serious potential of APIs.  If cloud computing and mobile hasn't convinced you that APIs are here to stay, take a look at what National Instruments is doing. Over the past five years, National Instruments (NI) has been using an API strategy to enable a developer ecosystem, based on their LabVIEW software platform.  NI equips engineers and scientists with tools that accelerate productivity, innovation, and discovery – and a strong ecosystem is core to their philosophy.  This case study takes a look at one approach, and the business role that APIs play in expanding into new markets...

Mobile Application Builder Platforms

04 September 2012
In my quest to understand the possible future of Web APIs, I’m trying to understand the opportunities available for APIs when it comes to latest wave of mobile app builder platforms. I’m the most familiar with two leading platforms, Cabana and Tiggzi, but wanted to take a look at what else is out there. What I’m classifying as a mobile app builder platform, is a web-based platform (not something you have to download), that lets you build a mobile application and usually (but not always) without any development experienced. There are a lot of sites that claim the ability to build mobile apps in minutes, but many of them clearly are spammy crap. I tried to sort through as many as I could to come up with this short list of mobile app builder platforms: AppBotic - Mobile app builder supporting iPhone, iPad, Android and HTML5 with no visible support for APIs...

Why Don't I Have Easy Access to all My Online Personal Data

01 September 2012
I was just downloading all of my Facebook data. You can go under your account settings and there is a little link that lets you download everything.  It takes some time to generate a full archive, but once my archive is ready, they’ll email me and I can get at my data and see what the download format looks like. While waiting, I wanted to see what Google had to offer. Google has an amazing acount management dashboard which provides you access to your settings, some of the data, but Google is also working on their takeout service which gives you downloads for individual services and across multiple services. That is a pretty good start. Two of my biggest networks allow me to download data...

Crowdsourced API Terms of Service

30 August 2012
API terms of service (TOS) is one of the most critical, yet one of the most silent links for developers who are building apps and business on top of APIs. Terms of service determine what you can or cannot do with an API, and often times developers do not understand these terms, leaving them vulnerable to some very negative outcomes. Following in the footprints of a larger project, called “Terms of Service Didn’t Read”, a group of us have gotten together, and created “API Terms of Service Didn't Read”, which aims at creating a transparent and peer-reviewed process to rate and analyze API Terms of Service, to establishing a rating classification that all developers can understand...

146 Planned APIs from 19 Federal Depts and Agencies as Part of their Digital Strategy

30 August 2012
Three months after the White House CIO mandated that all federal departments and agencies have a digital strategy, we are getting closer to having access to some high value APIs, across almost twenty participating departments and agencies. Up to now, it is just a lot of talk about strategy, without much detail on what will be deployed.  Now that there are 20 digital strategies published, we can start seeing some of the APIs the departments and agencies will be deploying in the coming months. Here is a list of "systems" that each participating department or agency will be deploying: Department of Agriculture (USDA) World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates Meat, Poultry and Egg Product Inspection Directory USDA Newsroom - Provides USDA's comprehensive forecasts of supply and demand for major U...

Efficient Social API Development with Singly

29 August 2012
Last week I announced that API Evangelist and Singly were partnering, and while I’m helping Singly with their API Evangelism strategy and they are providing me with some vital data on some of the most important APIs in the industry and how developers are using them--I’m fascinated by the Singly unified API model and how it can simplify developing apps that use social and personal data. As I do with any API, I sign up for an account, come up with an idea for a prototype, start hacking, then get to work telling the story of the process. To get started using Singly, I wanted to build a simply social data explorer that would help me understand how the platform works, but also give me a simple example for explaining to other developers...

Open Source Mobile Backend as a Service

28 August 2012
I did a roundup of Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS) providers last week, which brought in a couple recommendations of other companies I should include, and some interesting feedback on how APIs can be integrated with MBaaS platforms. A very interesting comment left on the post was about MBaaS vendor lock-in: The big problem, IMHO, using a BaaS provider is the so called "vendor lock in". What if my backend provider changes the pricing models, or dismisses the service and go out of the business? To address this issue, the commenter said they are building an open source MBaaS platform, which anyone will be able to download and install on the server or cloud platform of their choice. Just like with the recent addition of an open source API management platform, I think an open source Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS) would benefit the space tremendously...

Mobile Backend as a Service Roundup and the Future of Web APIs

22 August 2012
I’m continuing my research into the future of web APis, and after watching leading Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS) provider Kinvey start building APIs into their platform, I think MBaaS providers show a lot of potential for providing developers with quick access to API resources. To help me monitor the MBaaS market I spent some time rounding up as many of the providers as I could, and so far I’ve found 24 of them:   API O Mat - Create a back-end for your application in minutes. Apigee UserGrid - Apigee Usergrid is a free and open source mobile data platform for developers building apps that need social networking, user and data management, notifications and geolocation...

Landscape Analysis and Monitoring as Part of Your API Evangelism

22 August 2012
One very important aspect of API Evangelism is landscape analysis. When you launch an API, you need to have an intimate understanding of the landscape where you will be evangelizing your API and engaging with potential consumers. I always start by establishing potential 10K foot target areas that I will focusing on in my research. While these may vary from industry to industry, my starting list is: Individuals - Who are the key individual influencers in your target landscape Competitors - Know your competitors, you can learn a lot from what they do right or they do wrong Platforms - There are an endless amount of platforms that may benefit your company, such as Drupal, Wordpress and Salesforce Media - Who are the relevant media and blogs you should be following and engaging with Partners - Existing partners who you should be in tune with on the landscape After tackling these areas and identifying who the players are, you will identify other areas that are unique to your API evangelism efforts, so don't stress over whether you have the right areas in the first week...

API Automation Platforms

21 August 2012
I’ve been doing lots of research into the future of web APIs lately, and one area that is definitely gaining more traction is the ability to automate tasks, by defining triggers and actions on top of web APIs. If you’ve heard about API automation, it’s probably due to the attention If This Then That (IFTTT) and Zapier have been getting. While these are two of the most popular platforms currently, I wanted to dive in and understand the entire landscape. Currently I’ve found 8 API automation platforms: Cloudwork - Cloudwork is a service that allows users to automate tasks between Google Apps, Salesforce, Evernote, Zoho, Twitter, Freshbooks, MailChimp, Zendesk, Dropbox, WordPress and others...

11 More Federal Departments and Agencies Have Published Their API Digital Strategies

21 August 2012
I’ve been running a monitoring script every night, so that I could tell when any of the federal department and agency have launched their digital strategy pages, per Barack Obamas Presidential directive that every Federal Government agency should have an API, and the White House CIO's strategy, entitled "Digital Government: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People" I noticed that many of the departments and agencies aren’t properly using HTTP response codes, and when I pulled pages, I often get 302 redirects to 404 pages, so I tended to treat 301, 302, 500 as 404’s. Today, I noticed that some of them actually were redirecting to their digital strategies, published at alternate locations, other than directed by the White House strategy, which was [domain]/digitalstrategy...

API Evangelist Partners Up with Singly To Evolve The Social and Personal API Space

20 August 2012
The world around us is being redefined and a new currency is taking shape. Tweets on Twitter, wall posts to Facebook, pictures on Instagram, files on Dropbox and health data via Fitbit are emblematic of the emerging API-driven economy. This data isn’t just social, nor just a currency. It is vital personal data that contains details from intimate aspects of our daily lives. Platform players like Facebook and Twitter have shown through their APIs the possibilities that emerge when developers can build, unfettered with their own creativity on top of this data -- enriching people’s lives in a richer, more connected way. With the number of social and personal data APIs available today, it is getting increasingly difficult for developers to keep up to speed on which platforms are most important to their end users, the technical differences between each platform’s APIs and where to keep up with the changes from each platform as they are rolled out...

This Week Is First Milestone in White House Roadmap for an API Driven Digital Strategy

19 August 2012
It will be 3 months since the White House CiO Steven VanRoekel released a federal API strategy, entitled "Digital Government: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People", part of the Executive Order 13571, directing all federal departments and agencies to make open data, content and web APIs the new default. This Thursday, August 23rd 2012 will be the first major milestone for departments and agencies, where they should have met two goals: 2.1 - Engage with customers to identify at least two existing major customer-facing services that contain high-value data or content as first-move candidates to make compliant with new open data, content, and web API policy 7.1 - Engage with customers to identify at least two existing priority customer-facing services to optimize for mobile use I’ve been monitoring 246 departments and agencies and so far three have released drafts of their strategy: Department of Commerce Department of Education (ED) United States Agency for International Development (USAID) While the Department of Commerce and Department of Education have only published paragraphs discussing how they are engaging with users, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has identified three datasets for the web API portion and two optimized for mobile use...

API Craft Washington DC

18 August 2012
Continuing my API Craft road show, I landed in Washington DC for the second week in August. As I planned my trip to the nations capital, I planted the seeds for an API Craft DC version. I chose a popular H Street watering hole, the Queen Vic to host the event, and in tune with API Craft PDX and API Craft SFO about 10-15 people showed up to drink beer and discuss APIs, DC Style. I was impressed with not just the energy for APIs in DC, but the startup buzz occurring in a city, many like to associate with slow moving government bureaucracy. API Craft DC brought out one API Service Provider APIphany, and an assortment of companies that contract for the government and several other private companies including API geeks from QVC...

My API Talk at Montgomery County Java User Group in DC

18 August 2012
While out in Washington DC last week I was invited to speak at the Montgomery County Java User Group in Rockville, MD. Without much of an understanding of who my audience was I chose to talk about the Building Blocks of a Successful API. There was about 25 developers attending from various companies with a heavy health care influence, since the building that hosted the event was home to several health care technology companies. There were also developers from firms who contracted with federal agencies ranging from Census to the Department of Defense. I was pleasantly surprised to find out how hungry many of these developers were for information about the API movement and what is working in the open, public API space...

API Craft San Francisco

18 August 2012
On the heels of the successful API Craft meetup in Portland during OSCON, I was landing in San Francisco for a few days and at the request of SFO API folk, quickly organized a meetup at the Chieftain Pub, and thanks to @abraham it was a great turnout. 10-15 people showing up seems to be about the normal for these events, and this API craft had a good showing of API Service Providers with 3Scale, Apigee, Mashery and Mashape representing. Then we had API folks from IFTTT, Pearson and SendGrid. It was also great to have out fellow evangelist and unicorn herder, @abraham. The SFO API Craft meetup was another great gathering in a growing trend within the API community, and I plan on having them in every city that I can, I hope you do too!

The Building Blocks of a Successful API

12 August 2012
When I started API Evangelist two years ago, I noticed some common practices by API owners, in how they tailored their API areas, and I started calling these API building blocks. I started a section of the site dedicated to my building block philosphy and showcased what I felt were the most common building blocks across the most successful APIs. Two years later, and after having viewed just about every API publicly available, I have updated my building blocks section, based upon the practices of 1500 of the most successful APIs. Along with this update I have also published a white paper called The Building Blocks of a Successful API. The Building Blocks of a Successful API is not meant to provide detail on implementing these building blocks, but shed light on the common ones used by the top APIs...

Thirty APIs To Look At When Planning Your API

08 August 2012
When planning an API, I always tell people to go look at as many of the top APIs as they can before crafting their own API strategy. I'm always surprised how many API owners I talk to don't actually use other APIs. They can usually reference the main ones like Twitter and Facebook, or the usual rockstar Twilio--but very few can cite 10 or more APIs they like. Recently I spent some time looking through all of ProgrammableWeb's APIs, and I made a list of the 30 APIs I like, and would reference when designing an API strategy. Since I'm more about the Business of APIs and not just the finer, technical points, these I feel are unique because of their business approach to delivering their API. Here are 30 of the best APIs I think you should look at when planning your own API strategy: Amazon Web Services - Cloud Computing Bitly - URL Shortening Box...

The APIs That I Depend On For My Business

02 August 2012
I maintain an active list of online services I depend on for my business, in Evernote. Each month I spend an hour or two maintaining this list, to make sure it is complete and actively change my logins when appropriate. As a recovering IT guy, and maintaining infrastructure for myself, but also Audrey Watters--so I keep good tabs on the various services I use. While going through this my services list this month, I added a new section to it, and started tracking if I depend on the service for their API. I have enough automated jobs running on top of APIs I needed to make sure I keep good track of which APIs I depend on. Here are some of the API I depend on to keep my business operational...

Disqus Uses Twitter #HashTag to Support Developer FAQs

02 August 2012
I’m always on the lookout for extremely simple ways API Evangelists can support their developers without rolling out complex tools or platforms. The latest approach comes from the Disqus API, and how they are using Twitter to answer developer questions. Tweet with the hashtag #DisqusFAQ to get your frequently asked questions answered by @disqus! — DISQUS (@disqus) July 25, 2012 Using a #hashtag is a great way to allow developers to ask questions without learning some new system or complex process. They can simply Tweet out their question in real-time, in a format they are hopefully already familiar with. As an API owner, you can quickly help solve a developers problem, allowing them to get back to developing...

API Driven Twitter Advertising

29 July 2012
I’m playing around with my Twitter Advertising account, trying to understand Twitter’s path to monetization. The Twitter Advertising interface is pretty clean and simple, allowing me to promote my account or tweets in four easy steps. Step 1 - I can choose the locations where I want to reach users anywhere in the world, in specific countries only or in specific US cities: Step 2 - I can promote my Twitter account prominently in the who to follow section to users that are most likely to be interested in my account--I only pay for new followers that I gain: Step 3 - I can promote my Tweets, prominently displaying them to other users with similar interests: Step 4 - Then plug in my credit cards to pay for the ad spend I setup for my promoted account or tweets: Twitter Advertising is pretty straightforward...

What is the Future of Web APIs?

27 July 2012
Photo by Nicholas_T APIs are about to enter a new phase, one where developers can easily program using multiple APIs at once, and non-developers can easily introduce API automation into both their business and personal worlds.  A time where APIs are seen as a valuable resource anyone can quickly put use, not just as a technical interface only the geekiest of us understand. Web APIs have matured out of its earlier service oriented architecture (SOA) roots, often shedding a rigid SOAP approach to a more flexible RESTful implementation, increased efficiency by opting for more lightweight JSON over bloated XML, and becoming more accessible with API explorers and interactive documentation like Swagger, Mashery I/O Docs, and Apigee’s Console...

Update Once, Publish Everywhere with an Embeddable API Strategy

25 July 2012
Embeddable tools like widgets, gadgets and buttons built on top of an API are nothing new. A healthy embeddable strategy was behind the success of popular platforms like Youtube, Google Maps, Twitter and Facebook. Even with this success, embeddable tools often get overlooked by many companies when planning their APIs. I was recently introduced to BandPage, formerly known as RootMusic, who made a name for themselves by building a successful band promotion application within the Facebook ecosystem, and have crafted a very interesting embeddable strategy. To recover from a recent Facebook platform change, BandPage employed a robust embeddable strategy to quickly decouple their business from Facebook, enabling bands to not only deploy on Facebook, but manage music, photos, tour dates across the web...

Definition of API Craft

20 July 2012
The current API development space is very self-ruled, in that web API developers have freed themselves of earlier SOA attempts to rigidly define and ultimately constricted API growth, into a more grassroots, community-owned approach to RESTful API design. You can see this happen in real-time on the public Google Group called API Craft. API Craft was started by Apigee, as an open forum for sharing and developing knowledge and skills around APIs, where you can find the latest throughts, from the smartest people in the space.   I thoroughly enjoy the online version of API Craft, and just experienced my first offline version of API Craft at OSCON in Portland this week. Several API folks got together for beers and API Craft discussion at the White Eagle Saloon creating an awesome real-time, face-to-face extension of the online API Craft group--an experience I intend to initiate whenever I am in new cities around the country, and I encourage you to do the same...

A Unified Interface for Social APIs with Singly

18 July 2012
Web APIs come in all shapes and sizes. The differences between API authentication, interfaces and data types can be a big challenge when developers work with multiple social networking APIs like Twitter, Facebook and social media APIs like Instagram and Flickr. Each API tends to run with their own interpretation of what a RESTful API means, leaving developers left with navigating not only the differences between various APIs, but the changes a single API will make from version to version. Many industry pundits claim this will become unmanageable. I think its the nature of the web API space, and we should leave API owners to do what they do best, rather than forcing them to agree on standards...

Let Developers Register for Your API with Their Github Profile

18 July 2012
I was playing with Singly, a unified social API last night. One of the first things I saw, after landing on the home page, were two choices for signing up as a developer--one with Facebook or the other with my Github account. I’m seeing Github as an option for API developer registration, more frequently these days. And it makes sense. Each of my social networks have a place in my life--Facebook is my more personal social network, Twitter my more public persona, Google is my business platform and Github reflects my developer profile. When registering for APIs and development centric platforms I’d much prefer to keep these associated with my Github profile. And for an API owner it makes sense to have developers linked using Github, because of the social effects and interactions possible with code library repositories and documentation...

Dwolla's New Developer Area is Not Just for Developers

16 July 2012
Next generation payment platform Dwolla just revamped the home page of their developer center to speak to the widest audience possible. When you land at developers.dwolla.com you are given two options: I can code - You know the difference between Java and JavaScript and just want to dive into our API documentation I don't code - You're a non-technical executive, the master of partnerships and products, and want to know why Dwolla is right for you This is an approach I've been long advocating for, and rarely see in API areas. The best case study I always point out is the LinkedIn developers area, who provide buttons, widgets and embeddable tools that non-developers can put to use. Why do this? Well according to Dwolla, "One of the biggest misunderstandings about API portals is that their purpose is only for developers...

Don't Forget About the API Pioneers When You Think APIs Won't Work

12 July 2012
As we continue to stress over all the news of API ecosystem battles, and how APIs owners are evil, and once a business grows up, it has to choose between being a hobby developer platform or real grown up business--let’s remember the web API pioneers. Salesforce, eBay and Amazon are all three going strong, making money, treating developers as part of the equation and continue to operate legitimate business via APIs for over a decade now. These three API pioneers set the stage for the API industry during the first “dot com bubble” in 2000 and Amazon in 2002, and 10 years later still proving you can become an Internet powerhouse with the help of your API developer ecosystem...

Two Years of API Evangelism

11 July 2012
According to Techcrunch, Twitter suspended Mobber, a platform that rewards users for distributing promoted content through their social media accounts, from using the Twitter API. Mobber's service is obviously in direct competition with Twitter's Promoted Trends, part of Twitter's suite of advertising products, which also includes promoted accounts and promoted Tweets. Of course it's Twitter's platform, they can shut off anyone's access, and easily file it under a terms of service violation. But ultimately wouldn't it make more sense if Twitter opened it's advertising platform with APIs, and allowed developers to innovate, enabling Twitter to still make money, but providing a much wider reach and audience? Mobber's story is just another casualty in Twitter recent efforts to take control of it's platform, leaving developers to wonder, who is next?

Where Do I Learn More About APIs?

10 July 2012
I’m closely following the Oracle v Google case playing out in a court of law right now, and more specifically the Tweet stream of Wired writer, Caleb Garling. According to Garling: "A jury has ruled that Google infringed on Oracle’s copyrights in building a new version of the Java platform for its Android mobile operating system, but it was unable to reach a decision on whether this infringement was acceptable under the law." Google quickly moved for a mistrial based upon this incomplete decision, and in a statement to Wired, Google says: "We appreciate the jury's efforts, and know that fair use and infringement are two sides of the same coin,” reads a canned statement from Google sent to Wired...

Twitter Acquisitions

09 July 2012
Acquisition of technology startups by companies is a regular part of business today, providing a way for these companies to get the technology, talent, as well as user and market share they need to be successful. These acquisitions play an important part of API ecosystems, with API owners hoping developers build the next killer feature that users will love, something they can invest in, and developers dream API owners will notice their work and purchase their “startup”. Looking back at the acquisitions made by a company can function as a sort of “tea leaves”, allowing us to interpret the companies motivations, possibly telling us where they are headed and who they might acquire next...

How to Run a Successful Hackathon for Your Open APIs

09 July 2012
Hackathons are exploding in popularity and open API publishers are quickly realizing the power they have to attract developers. For API publishers, hackathons represent one of the most powerful means for growing an API’s profile and engaging directly with talented developers. If you want learn more about hackathons, attend an upcoming Webinar, hosted API management vendor Layer 7 Technologies and guest API evangelist Kin Lane, will deliver the advice an organization needs in order to throw hackathons that contribute to the real-world success of an API publishing program. You will learn about: The background and purpose of an API Hackathon Types of Hackathons The role hackathons play in developer engagement Planning and executing a successful hackathon Adopting best practices Avoiding common mistakes Creating a plan Where hackathons are going Presented by: Kin Lane API Evangelist and Co-author of Business of APIs  When: July 12, 2012 @ 9:00AM PDT | 12:00PM EDT | 5:00PM BST Register for How to Run a Successful Hackathon for Your Open APIs

Not All APIs Are Bad

01 July 2012
When covering the API space, it is easy to talk about the APIs that are doing it wrong. When Twitter gets ready to screw over developers, Facebook breaks something or Google changes their approach--the blogosphere and twittersphere eats it up. What is harder, is finding the stories about success in the space. I see a lot of comments on recent posts about how developers are fools for every believing in APIs, and what positive outcomes have their been with APIs? Has there been a great success story of building a company around an API/platform (not an OS) you don't control? Does that ever end well? — Tim Carmody (@tcarmody) July 2, 2012 In response, I always step up with Twilio. Twilio is the poster boy of how to do it right...

Twitter Continues to Restrict Access to Our Tweets

29 June 2012
Twitter has become a global communication platform, allowing anyone in the world to express anything, from simple everyday thoughts, to ideas that some say have the potential to be the seeds of revolution. Twitter’s success was made possible because of open access to Twitter via the web and mobile phones via either SMS or native apps--with a large portion of this access made possible via an open Twitter API. While the Twitter API is still showcased as an important part of the platform, access via the API is certainly not what it used to be. While most every feature on Twitter.com is accessible via the API, overall access has been diminished through what is known as “rate limiting”...

The API Economy Welcomes Its Early Trade Wars

29 June 2012
I’m on a roll tonight, writing about tension between API owners and consumers. After some driving around California this week, I’ve had time to ponder three recent episodes with Netflix, LinkedIn and Craigslist. This is my last post tonight, and was inspired by a Tweet from James Watters (@wattersjames): RT @kinlane: Tension Between API Owners and Consumers - bit.ly/MtqeoR via @kinlane <-API economy welcomes its early trade wars — James Watters (@wattersjames) June 24, 2012 I thought about his Tweet for the last week and he’s right. While it’s easy to run and get our pitchforks in these situations and demonize API owners, or bitch about how much API developers suck, this all is just the beginning of something greater--the API economy...

What Does Your API Do?

27 June 2012
After looking at over 6000 APIs, the most irritating thing for me when reviewing an API, is when I have to work to figure out what an API does.  Many APIs just don't communicate what their API does and articulate the value for developers. Every API should have a quick introductory paragraph at the top of the first page that clearly defines the API in 250 words or less. Many APIs have a description, but it often reads like this: The [Insert Company Name Here] API delivers programmatic access to all the features available in the [Insert Company Name Here] web application. Developers can use the API to build web and mobile applications using the functionality it provides. Ok? You just told me nothing...

Tension Between API Owners and Consumers

24 June 2012
We’ve had a couple of new API ecosystem flare ups in the last week. one from LinkedIn and the other from Netflix. I’m still working on my thoughts about both of these, but in the meantime I can't help but think about the tension between API owners and their consumers. This tension doesn’t exist in all ecosystems, but seems default by nature in others. In these flare ups, I can’t help but empathize with both sides and see each others perspective: API Owners - This is my company, our resources and our brand. I may “eat our own dog food” to show I share your pain, but I really don’t understand the developer perspective because I don’t use other people’s APIs, let alone depend on them for my business livelihood...

The 100% Open Source API Platform I Was Looking For

19 June 2012
This is a much quicker follow-up to last week’s post, Where Is The Open Source API Platform, than I anticipated. I just finished a demo of WSO2 API Manager, a completely open-source API management platform. I got quite a few emails and DM’s from folks after that post, and while there are other open-source API offerings like API Axle and Cumula (which I will write about separately), I was looking for a full platform tool, and it appears WSO2 is what I was looking for. WSO2 API Manager is a simple, easy to understand API platform, but has all the hardened enterprise goodness many of you will be looking for when it comes to security, governance, policy enforcement, etc. The platform is broken into three main buckets: API Gateway - To secure, protect, manage, and scale API calls API Publisher - Enables API providers to easily publish their APIs, share documentation, provision API keys, and gather feedback on APIs features, quality and usage API Store - Provides a space for consumers to discover APIs functionality, test APIs online, subscribe to APIs, evaluate them and interact with API publishers They break the API users into what I think are important target segments: API Creator - The technical owner of an API API Publisher - The business owner of an API API Consumer - The developer or consumer of an API I really like this distinction, because it acknowledges that many APIs are not born out of technical departments, and allows for duel ownership of any API from the technical and business disciplines-- which is very important to the success of an API...

Launching APIs One Book At A Time

18 June 2012
Last May, Pearson Publishing began the roll-out of their new API platform, by doing initial tests using their DK’s Eyewitness Travel Guide material, before moving on to a wider range of subjects. By the end of the summer they had rolled out a total of three APIs: Eyewitness Guides FT Press Longman Dictionary A year later, they now have APIs for the Pearson Kitchen Manager and most recently the Nursing & Health Survival Guides API. Pearson is obviously being very cautious with their precious business assets. Taking time to do it right when bundling up these resources and making available for developers via a RESTful interface. The Pearson Developers community has many of the essential API building blocks like documentation, blog, forum, and FAQ...

Everyone is an API Evangelist in an API-Driven Company

15 June 2012
I’ve had some amazing feedback on my post about the demand for API and developer evangelists. One great perspective was from the team over at Iron.io, who do cloud messaging, event handling, workers, scheduling and provide a key/value data caching. Ironi.io’s has a unique company philosophy that addresses the need hire an API or developer evangelist. Their approach is that in an API-driven company everybody is an API and developer evangelist. Iron.io has their entire team monitoring their public chat, which has lead to everyone in the company understanding customer pain points as well as hearing the praise and positive feedback from the community. While it sounds simple, spreading core philosophies like this company-wide can have a transformative power...

Roundup of 20 API Service Providers in 2012

15 June 2012
Its been over six months since I did my roundup of 11 API service providers on ProgrammableWeb.  I've been seeing enough new entries into the space, I think its time to do another roundup, providing a single list of API service providers for you to explore. I will start with I called the grandfathers of the space.  The ones who were doing it before APIs became all cool. Atmosphere - The SOA Software, Atmosphere™ provides a secure, robust platform that companies can use to share their APIs with the developer community of their choice. SOA Software Atmosphere manages, monitors, and secures companies’ APIs ensuring that they deliver the level of service customers and partners require; the security of corporate and customer information and assets; and the integrity of the corporate brand...

The Demand for API and Developer Evangelists

11 June 2012
I just got off the phone with a recruiter of a major API management company, looking to recruit me as a developer evangelist, and last week I talked with two companies looking for developer evangelists. My profile comes up in a lot of searches on Google, LinkedIn , and with the growing number of APIs, the number of companies looking to fill the role, grows as well. It makes sense that I come up in searches and get a regular stream of calls. Most recruiters I decline, as I’m looking to pay attention to the bigger picture, beyond just a single API--and tell them I will put out a signal to my network, about the role. I do this knowing, there really is nobody to fill the role. The recruiter today asked an interesting question...

Where Is The Open Source API Platform?

11 June 2012
Every couple weeks I get posts that really strike a chord with my audience, like Barack Obama Directs All Federal Agencies to Have an API, which has received 40K+ page views and 1000+ tweets. When it comes to sustained traffic numbers, two posts seem to really bring in eyeballs each and every week via organic searches: Open Building Blocks for an API Open Source API Billing and Traffic Control These posts are successful, not because of searches driven from a couple of hours on the home page of Reddit or Hacker News, these get page views because users are searching for open source API tools on the open Internet. Seeing these sustained numbers validates for me the need for an fully open-source set of tools for API deployment and management...

RESTGit - Deploying APIs from My Github

11 June 2012
I have a workflow for dealing with the steady stream of ideas that fly out of my arse on a daily basis. First, I write them all down in Evernote. If an idea sticks with me and keeps nagging on me in the back of my mind, I usually give it a place on the internal wiki that I use for managing my world. Then if an idea sits on the wiki for over a year and I haven’t finished building it, and successfully deployed or integrated into my platform--I set it free. The one year expiration date has come for one of my ideas, and I want to publish here so maybe someone else will run with it. Project Idea: RESTGit Summary: A RESTful interface for any public or private Github repository. I just want a quick way of throwing up a RESTful front, with or without authentication using 3Scale API management...

Brand Control Within An API Ecosystem: Twitter Edition

06 June 2012
Right after security, controlling your brand is the biggest concern I get from companies interested in deploying APIs. They are worried about being able to control their brand and overall message portrayed by their potential developer community. Branding guidelines and a robust image, button and UI gallery is something I encourage API owners to invest in from day one, because it’s easier to set the stage early on than trying to take control after the unicorns are running wild. One example of this is the darling of the API industry, Twitter. Twitter has took further control of their brand today, with the release of #Twitterbird. As Twitter states: Starting today you’ll begin to notice a simplified Twitter bird...

0 People Found This API Useful, Be the First!

05 June 2012
I just wrote a post on how the iContact Developer Area delivers, and now for an API area that doesn't quite deliver. Notice the text in the bottom corner, 0 people found this useful. - Be the first! Default wiki settings might now always be the way to go, when your trying to deliver a marketing message about your API!

iContact Developers Area Landing Page Delivers

05 June 2012
I look at a lot of APIs, the first page you land on makes a big impression, and I can always tell when someone cares enough about developers to craft a simple, quality API Area landing page. I’ve talked about what it takes to qualify for my API stack, and today’s winner for simply and elegantly qualifying for the API stack is iContact. Upon landing on the iContact Developers Area main page I visually see what I need to get going: Get Started Self-Service Registration Documentation Code Samples Resources Blog Then in the footer you can immediately connect with other areas of the company: Legal Twitter Facebook LinkedIn The iContact Developers Area landing page is well crafted and as a developer, makes you feel like someone considered you while designing...

Rise of Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS) API Stacks

03 June 2012
Mobile is fueling a lot of API growth right now. Or is it APIs fueling a lot of Mobile growth right now? Either way, APIs and Mobile go together like chocolate and peanut butter (or Nutella as my girlfriend would say). With this growth in mobile, we are seeing a rise of Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS) providers, delivering a basic stack of storage, messaging, notifications, user management and other essential components for mobile developers. The goal of MBaaS providers is to make it very easy for developers to setup and operate a backend for any application. After delivering the essentials like storage, messaging access, push notifications, etc., it makes sense that now developers will need easier integration with the data and resources available in web APIs...

Tracking Federal Agencies Progress on API Deployment

02 June 2012
I’m excited about Barack Obama directing all federal agencies to have an API. The President has given federal agencies 90 days to create a page on its website, located at www.[agency].gov/digitalstrategy, to publicly report progress in meeting the requirements of the Strategy in a machine-readable format, and implement the requirements of the Strategy within 12 months. As I said in my post, I wanted to setup a page to monitor this activity. I found a dataset of federal executive branch Internet domains, thanks to Anthony Sutardja, one of my readers. In the dataset there are 1467 domains, with 106 distinct agencies running those domains. The President states "executive department and agencies" in his directive...

Thoughts For Federal Agencies About to Deploy Web APIs

02 June 2012
I wanted to publish some thoughts, on what Federal Agencies responding to the Executive Order 13571 issued on April 27, 2011, and the White House CIO’s, "Digital Government: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People" strategy should be considering. These thoughts are in the business and marketing aspects web API deployment, with light thoughts in the technical areas. My speciality is not with technical deployment of APIs, I recommend agency leaders visit API-Craft, an industry forum with some seriously smart API industry leaders discussing the finer, technical points of web API deployment. Where I would like to share some thoughts is in the business of deploying and managing Federal Agency APIs...

Self Service vs Sales Oriented Web APIs

01 June 2012
I’m doing some big data work. Ok it isn’t really, but feels like I should use that label. What I’m actually doing is analyzing the Twitter activity of top APIs. I have the twitter handles of 100 of the popular web APIs. I have been pulling and analyzing the Tweets from each of these accounts via the Twitter API for some time now. It is time that I scale this to about 500 API twitter accounts, and also start monitoring mentions of each of these APIs on Twitte, while also performing searches for some keywords associated with each API or a group of APIs. At this stage of growth, it was clear I was outgrowing the regular Twitter API and since what I’m doing is more big data, than twitter client app, I am looking at the two approved Twitter resellers Gnip and Datasift...

Barack Obama Directs All Federal Agencies to Have an API

01 June 2012
As a follow-up to the Executive Order 13571 issued on April 27, 2011, requiring executive departments and agencies to identify ways to use innovative technologies to streamline their delivery of services to lower costs, decrease service delivery times, and improve the customer experience--Barack Obama has directed federal agencies to deploy Web APIs. The Whitehouse CIO has released a strategy, entitled "Digital Government: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People", providing federal agencies with a 12-month plan that focuses on: Enabling more efficient and coordinated digital services delivery Encouraging agencies to deliver information in new ways that fully utilize the power and potential of mobile and web-based technologies Requiring agencies to establish central online resources for outside developers and to adopt new standards for making applicable Government information open and machine-readable by default Requiring agencies to use web performance analytics and customer satisfaction measurement tools President Obama has set the timeframe for roll-out and accountability at: Within 90 days of the date of this memorandum, create a page on its website, located at www...

Is Your API Big Data Ready?

01 June 2012
Many "public APIs" are launched with well, very "public" intent--to extend the reach of the brand and platform. Many of these APIs are setup to pull data, enabling developers to use it in their applications for free or paid, with the understanding they’ll properly attribute the source. Many of these APIs like Amazon E-Commerce, eBay, Google Places and Foursquare are engineered to publicly extend the central platform, all feeding back back to the “mother ship”, either through linking or other type of attribution. As the Internet evolves, and the era of "big data" takes hold, and as the need for processing data and deriving meaning out of the flood of data available to us online grows--so does the demand for API access that isn’t marketing centric...

API Monetization: API Affiliate Network API + Google URL Shortener API

31 May 2012
In my quest to understand the monetization opportunities via APIs, I’m studying the possibilites around tracking, and now monetization of content and URL’s served up via APIs. The other day I considered wrapping URLs for another layer of metrics in your API, and today I’m thinking about how to evolve API monetization beyond advertising, defining entirely new API driven conversion events where both API owners and consumers, can realistically make money. I first talked about an advertising network dedicated to APIs and developers last year, and everytime I come back to it in my Evernote list, I can’t help but consider using the Google Affiliate Network as an engine. I don’t have any access to Google Affiliate Network (I submitted request), so all of this is speculative...

Healthcare Imaging API

31 May 2012
There is a new API edition to the healthcare industry this week. lifeIMAGE launched an API that can be used by developers of healthcare applications, to enable the secure exchange of medical images and related patient records. Norman Young, President and CEO of ClearCanvas, said “We were founded on the simple belief that medical imaging informatics should be accessible to all. Now, using the lifeIMAGE API, users of our FDA-cleared diagnostic viewer will be able to instantaneously share images that are in front of them with any one.” The healthcare is industry that is ripe for API adoption, so I’m always looking for “healthy” new API stories for the space--lifeImage API is perfect...

An API Could Be The Fancy's Kill Move Against Pinterest

31 May 2012
Pinterest and The Fancy are locked in a deathmatch, if you hadn't heard? Compete wrote back in February that The Fancy was poised to take over a chunk of Pinterest's traffic with their new webstore. Fast forward 5 months, The Fancy has just launched an update to their iOS which includes the ability to purchase products from the mobile app with just one click. Nice move! The Fancy is definitely an easier and cleaner looking site than Pinterest, and with a monetization move, The Fancy could gain even more market share against Pinterest. Now if The Fancy wanted to seal the deal and put a death nail in Pinterest's coffin, they should launch an API, and make The Fancy a platform. Don't just open up API access to your content--open up API access to your new commerce layer as well...

Be a Feature in Other Platforms with an API

31 May 2012
I talk with a lot of entrepreneurs in my travels to conferences, hackathons and online with my API evangelism. I get a lot of ideas pitched to me, asking me for feedback, and ultimately if I think their startup is viable. I hear a lot of good ones, and bad ones. Even the good ones face an uphill battle to get noticed in an extremely crowded and noisy landscape. The one piece of advice I leave with all startups about how to get their web or mobile app noticed? Develop an API!! The one thing an API can do for your startup is allow your product to become a feature in other platforms. If you deliver only as a mobile or web app, you are leaving out numerous opportunities to become the next killer Facebook or Salesforce feature, or something smaller like a Wordpress add-on, but ultimately something that could make enough of a mark, that your startup could survive...

Provide Release Valves for API Rate Limits

31 May 2012
In my effort to better understand API access, I’m studying how API owners control access to their APIs, with most recently being around Rate Limiting. The other day I asked, why do we limit API access for developers, and even explored rewarding developers for heavy usage. As I continue to understand the impact of rate limits on developers it’s becoming clearer that for an API to successfully impose rate limits, you should also be offering rate limit release valves in the following ways: Increase Request Form - There should be a formal, self-service way to request rate limits either for valid uses that you hadn’t considered bumping up against rate limit ceiling, or quite possibly for non-commercial purposes...

API Management Platform for Universities

30 May 2012
I recently stumbled across the University of Washington’s Web Services area, where they are working to create a single place to learn about, discover and connect with various APIs that are available at the University. As the home page says: Web Services at the University of Washington is a method of getting important institutional data from and/or into your applications. Web Services are a way for applications or systems to talk to one another and does not usually involve human interaction. I’m always trying to understand where the next wave of API growth might come from, and while the enterprise is definintely sitting on a treasure chest of information and resources, just waiting to be exposed via APIs--I think Universities might be in the same position...

Twitter Rolls Twitter.com Back to a Server-Side Architecture

29 May 2012
Twitter just rolled back their architectural approach for Twitter.com back to a server side implementation. If you remember back in September of 2010, Twitter rebuilt Twitter.com to use a web application architecture that pushed all of the UI rendering and logic to Javascript running in the browser and consumed the Twitter API directly. Now they are "taking back control" of their front-end performance by moving the rendering back to the server. They don't say whether they don't use the APIs at all, but I am working under the assumption that they abandoned them. Twitter felt the API driven web application architecture broke new ground, offered a number of advantages, but it lacked support for various optimization techniques available only on the server...

University Information Services with APIs

29 May 2012
APIs are making information more accessible across many industries and sectors, but one area I haven’t seen a lot of movement, until recently, is at Universities. Last month, Harvard openly licensed their library meta data and through a partnership with the Digital Public Library of America, made it available via APIs. But today’s story is more about APIs driving the operations side of higher ed at the University of Washington. Under the Universities of Washingtons web services site, you can learn, discover and connect to 29 separate University APIs: Academic Calendar UW's authorization management service Bandwidth Quota Service Benefit Rate Service Catalyst Crowds Catalyst WebQ CSE - MyUW Conduit CSE Cloud Auth CSE Grades CSE Host Rec CSE Provisioning and Mail Routing Web Service CSE Times Away CSE Undergrad Exit Survey CSE User Rec Decision Support Web Service Device Repository Financial Web Service Graduate Applicant Service Groups Web Service HRP Web Service IdCard Web Service (Photos) IT Connect News Person Web Service R25 Classroom Scheduling Web Service Space Web Service Student Web Service Study_Abroad_Public UW Events Calendar UW GoHuskies Athletics Feed Its grest to see that the University is trying to create a single directory of all University web services, and even has an API suggestion service where students and faculty can submit and vote on ideas for new, useful campus APIs...

Why Do We Limit API Access for Developers?

29 May 2012
I am putting a lot of thought into why we limit API access for developers.  I understand requiring keys to access APIs, and tracking who has access to your API, so you can understand how they are using it. What I don’t understand is why you’d want to limit API access. By limit, I mean...here is an API, you get 100 calls, then no more! No option for paying, begging or pleading for more access. There are some APIs (I will evaluate specific APIs in the future), that have this approach, and it just doesn’t make sense to me. Last year I touched on this subject with a post in ProgrammableWeb called, Should We Be Limiting Developers’ API Usage? Where I flip this model on its head and showcase two API providers, YellowAPI and ironically enough Qwerly (another story by itself), and how they were actually rewarding developers for more API usage...

Wrapping URLs for Another Layer of Metrics in Your API

26 May 2012
I’m documenting Twitter’s process of wrapping the URLs contained within tweets, using a shorter URL like t.co. I’m interested in understanding the opportunities around URL wrapping (aka URL shortening) as an API business strategy. From an API business perspective, the reasoning for implementing URL wrapping as part of your API would be: Saving Space - By shortening URLs you are reducing the length of any string that contains URLs, and in cases like Twitters, every character counts Security - Twitter is actively combating URLs that carry malicious intent Analytics - Each shortened URL provides a mechanism for tracking clicks on URL within content Shold URL wrapping be something API owners adopt for all content served up via an API? Could every URL within content served up via an API be wrapped, allowing tracking of clicks through that URL--no matter where that content ended up living after it left the API? Just some initial thoughts, but it seems that a comprehensive linking strategy could be established, bundled with a URL shortening service like Bit...

Lack of Pinterest API is a Lack of API Business Strategy

25 May 2012
Here we are going into June, and I still don’t see a publicly available Pinterest API. Jay Yarow wrote in Business Insider back in February, "Pinterest's API Is Coming Soon, And VCs Are Super Excited" and Adam Duvander wrote in ProgrammableWeb, "Pinterest API: Coming Soon or Already Here?". There is also a reply to a Quora thread by Yashh Nelapati, Lead Engineer at Pinterest from May 2011, saying the API is 2-3 weeks away. It’s now a year later and there is no official API (there is a Rogue API). Business Insider says, Pinterest fears having a "Twitter problem”. Meaning that when Twitter released its API, it was still an immature company, allowing developers to build applications with features that it was missing--then Twitter matured, and it wanted to control its platform, it began adding building its own features and poaching from the Twitter API ecosystem...

The API Driven Life of Your Facebook Mobile App

25 May 2012
One of the best ways to explain what APIs are to someone sitting next to me on the plane is to find something the user does every day, that is driven by an API, and explain how an API drives the functionality they take for granted. I tend to look for industry specific examples if they are an accountant or stock broker, but the most common example I use, is Facebook. Facebook is technology everyone I meet has exposure with. My story always starts with Facebook.com, and how the social networking website was built for people. People go to www.facebook.com and they see HTML web pages, that allow them to interact with the community. Next I move to the Facebook application on their mobile phone...

Developer Insights Into Facebook Open Graph API Usage

24 May 2012
Facebook provides an interface for Open Graph API developers to better understand how users are interacting with content via their applications, called Insights. With Insights you can monitor the number of your unique users that are seeing and accessing a Facebook authorization dialog, number of unique users publishers stories through Open graph as well as viewing and clicking on those stories. While the number of users clicking, viewing on stories is very cool, I’m interested in their stats regarding the authorization dialog. Insights provides data on how many times people access your dialog authorization, with the number of acceptances, while also breaking down the number of views, acceptances into a corresponding conversion rate...

Visions from the API Economy

24 May 2012
I’m always looking for solid examples of how more and more of our every day world is being driven by APIs. Examples I can use to help explain APIs to every-day business folks. I came across one example that will speak to many business executives today via an Apigee Innovator Spotlight on their client TradeKing. When asked about the vision of their API program Dan Raju CIO of TradeKing says: We are one of the top-ranked online brokerages in the country, growing very rapidly. We manage people's assets, give them a set of capabilities to trade, and offer an extremely transparent pricing structure. However, we recognized that our customers’ demands for next-generation interfaces are rapidly changing, and our API helps us stay in front of that...

Nike Sustainable Products Index API

23 May 2012
Nike is working on a new API as part of their Nike Better World initative. The API provides access to a materials sustainability index, which evaluates the environmental impact of materials used by manufacturers. The scoring system evaluates the environmental impacts of materials used in products using a combination of materials-specific data, covering areas such as Chemistry, Energy and Greenhouse Gas Intensity, Water and Land Use Intensity, and Waste. The Nike Materials Sustainability Index API is only in alpha stage right now, and is undergoing for a peer review process with Duke University. You can follow their Nike Maker’s Blog to get more information on the initiative and get notified when the API will be available to the public...

Google Updates the API Explorer

23 May 2012
Google just released an update to their API Explorer. Some of the new features include: Indexed history of API calls API request body editor Search box for search APIs and methods Indicator showing which methods require authentication The Google API Explorer now supports two dozen Google APIs, up from only six when they first launched. Google’s continued investment in their API explorer, which makes APIs not just easier to use, but more accessible to non-developers, really shows that an API explorer has become an essential API building block.

How Are We Going to Track Private APIs?

22 May 2012
Image Credit - Wiki Noticia Adam Duvander (@adamd) reported at ProgrammableWeb today that they rolled over 6,000 public APIs in the directory. The pace at which companies are launching public APIs is accelerating, with the last 1,000 added in just 3 months. Any of us in the space knows that this is just the tip of the iceberg, and Adam acknowledges that internal API usage is a major factor in API growth. While public APIs get all the major press, there are many private API initiatives that won’t see the light of day. So my question is, how are we going to track on the growth of private APIs along with public APIs? Since mobile app development is such an important piece, can we count mobile apps produced by a company? Can we count on API service providers to start reporting on this data? I don’t have the answer...

Find Your Hackathon Venue with EventUp

19 May 2012
I am going through all my notes from organizing the CityGrid Los Angeles Hackathon and trying to publish as many stories as I can, about how I planned and organized the hackathon. One service that was a catalyst for the event occuring, was assistance from EventUp. EventUp is a service that assists event venue owners in finding people to rent their space, and in turn can help you find the ideal location for your hackathon.  Tony Adam (@tonyadam) the owner of EventUp emailed me one day after I had submitted a request via eventup.com for more information on venues for my Hackathon in the Los Angeles area. He offered to help make sure I found the right location. After a couple days he helped me secure CoLoft which was the best location for the hackathon imaginable...

App Center Best Practices

16 May 2012
Last week Facebook announced a new App Center where developers can submit applications they've built.  Like any API owner, Facebook is looking for high quality applications to list in its directory and has published a list of App Center Best Practices: Websites must provide a personalized experience - All websites and mobile web apps need to immediately present authenticated users with a logged-in experience. Specifically, we’re looking for personalization, such as name and profile picture, so users know that their Facebook information is being used to create an account. Review your app settings - App detail pages are dynamic based on the integrations you’ve specified on the basic settings page of the Developer App...

Products and Commerce with APIs

16 May 2012
I am really starting to see my early visions of the Internet coming together. In my mind I see an interconnected world of products and commerce, where every business has an API. APIs finally seem to be maturing, reaching a point where they can deliver at the scale and reliability we need, to really make this happen. Three good examples of this are: The StructuredRetailProducts.com API - Providing to access to over 3 million individual product listings from 1700+ companies, representing total sales of over £3,382 billion and counting. Access 15+ years of product and market data across 72 different countries at the click of a button and get the latest data on sales volumes, activity levels, and market share...

Developing More Meaningful API Metrics

15 May 2012
API metrics are an essential, but what should we measure? There are two metrics that seems to dominate discussions about success of the API industry: Number of New API Registration Number of Daily and Monthly API Calls Every API I’ve consulted with, use the same two metrics, if they have any at all. The tech blogosphere (driven by API service providers) have created a so call billionaires club, showcasing APIs that have over a billion API calls within a day or month. Investors are even using the number of API calls as a metric to consider the valuation of a company, and seen as a good indicator of the demand for a company’s services. I agree that new registrations and number of API calls are a start, but we should be able to identify many other metrics to truly measure the activity and success of an API and the sentiment of it's API developer community...

PeopleBrowsr API Restructures to Deliver More Meaning for Developers

15 May 2012
Explaining to developers, what an API does, can be hard. How you describe your API, the underlying endpoints, can make or break user adoption. You shouldn’t be afraid to evolve, and keep trying to find the sweet spot in both the language and branding that you use in your API area. I saw an example of this today, with the restructuring of PeopleBrowsr's APis. When I first starting playing with PeopleBrowsr's APIs, they were broken into 3 separate APIs: PeopleBrowsr API Kredentials API Kred API On the surface its really hard to know what each of these APIs does, but after I dove in I saw lots of value within individual methods, but I really had to spend time, getting to know each method, one by one...

USDA Releases API for Mandatory Livestock Reporting Data

14 May 2012
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has released a new, publicly available web API for its Livestock Mandatory Reporting (LMR) system, offering access to all historical LMR data, allowing users to pull large amounts of customized data sets via a RESTful interface with JSON embedded URLs and XML formatted output. "The Livestock Mandatory Reporting program facilitates open, transparent price discovery and provides all market participants, both large and small, with comparable levels of market information for cattle, swine, sheep, beef and lamb meat," said Craig Morris, Deputy Administrator of the AMS Livestock and Seed Program. "This new web service will provide our customers with additional resources to obtain large volumes of data...

API Innovation at the Edinburgh Festivals

14 May 2012
I’m always on the hunt for API stories that capture the power of APIs, showcasing how they are transforming industries and businesses around the globe. Today, my global API monitoring platform picked up one such story in Edinburg, Scotland. In the summer of 2011, the summer-based Edinburgh Festivals made their event listings data publicly available for digital developers and technologists, via web APIs. There are seven events participating in the API: Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival Edinburgh Art Festival Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Edinburgh Mela Edinburgh International Festival Edinburgh International Book Festival Edinburgh Festival Fringe Despite all the printed brochures and media coverage, with 44,000 performances in 3,000 separate venues, discovery, planning and finding what you want to see at the Edinburgh festivals is a near impossible task...

APIs Have Been Copyrightable for 22 Years

14 May 2012
I attended a great webinar put on by the folks at Apigee last week, where they discussed APIs & Copyright. A very timely discussion with the recent API copyright decision in the EU, and from the ongoing Oracle vs. Google case. As I process all discussions around API copyright, I’m going to publish relevant pieces here at API Voice, for everyone else to process along with me. One interesting piece of the Apigee discussion is that APIs have been copyrightable for the last 22 years--specifically referencing the JOHNSON CONTROLS, INC. v. PHOENIX CONTROL SYSTEMS, INC. from October 3rd, 1989. On page three, it states: "A computer program is made up of several different components, including the source and object code, the structure, sequence and/or organization of the program, the user interface, and the function, or purpose, of the program...

Business and Politics of APIs

14 May 2012
This summer its been 2 years since I started API Evangelist. API Evangelist started as my research project into the Business of APIs, and became a full time career. While over the last two years I’ve worked for clients like Mimeo and CityGrid, my ultimate goal is to focus on studying the Business of APIs. So whenever I get the time, I study how popular APIs operate, and how they are transforming industries. This month, I’m getting the opportunity to dive deeper into my research around different API business models, with the chance to look at the politics within specific API ecosystems. While my research will always span the entire API sector, this round I’m going to study the approach of some of the most successful APIs: Twitter - Deep understanding of the largest, and most important API ecosystem Facebook - Better understanding of the largest API driven social platform Google - Document the 100 or so APIs offered by Google, and the platform that connects them LinkedIn - Better picture of the leading business social network platform Amazon - Document the history of this API pioneer Twilio - Understand how Twilio continues to deliver their API, and woo developers I’m going to begin by analyzing the business and politics of Twitters API ecosystem, and as more funding comes through I’ll focus on the other APis...

Making Your API Accessible to the Masses

10 May 2012
There are a lot of high value APIs emerging these days, APIs with access to essential business data, resources and intelligence. When designing your API you want to make the interface as intuitive as possible, and ensure as wide as access to it as you possibly can. To quote Jonathan Schwartz, Sun CEO regarding Java APIs: "We wanted to build the biggest tent and invite as many people as possible,” Schwartz said. “You have open APIs and compete on implementations." To do this, I encourage building tools and widgets that non-developers can use when working with your API. A great example of this is at Google, with their Google Analytics Dashboard Library. Google wanted to make it easier for users to deploy a dashboard that was tailored specifically for their business, so using a team of University of California Irvine students, they set out to simplify it down to 3 steps: Register with Google APIs Console...

The Flora and Fauna of the Twitter Ecosystem

07 May 2012
Twitter has an innovative approach to presenting the objects that make up the Twitter Platform. They have built a field guide to Twitter Platform objects, designed like an Audubon Society field guide, describing the four primaty Twitter objects: Tweets - Also known as a Status Update, Tweets are the basic atomic unit of all things Twitter. Users create Tweets. Tweets can be embedded, replied to, favorited, unfavorited, retweeted, unretweeted and deleted. Users - Users can be anyone or anything. They tweet, follow, create lists, have a home_timeline, can be mentioned, and can belooked up in bulk...

Curated API Industry News Feeds

05 May 2012
In my Google Reader I curate hundreds of articles pulled from 600+ blogs and 25+ real-time Google Alerts, on a daily basis. Everything I star in my Google Reader or Tweet about daily ends up in my Pinboard account. In addition to this curation, I bookmark every relevant site and post I come across in my daily surfing using the Pinboard bookmarklet. Using the Pinboard API I setup a news curation system at API Evangelist which pulls my latest pinboards every 15 minutes and adds them to a curation queue which I monitor every couple hours. My API Evangelist curation system allows me to add comments and tags, further adding meaning to what I’ve already read throughout the day. Then using a combinations of tags, I route relevant news to  API Evangelist and Hack Weekends...

APIs Help Deliver on Early Visions of the Internet

03 May 2012
As my professional career moved online during the years between 1995 and 2000, I had numerous visions about what the World Wide Web could do for businesses. I think I shared these visions with millions of other individuals, fueling what we now know as the first Internet bubble. I saw e-commerce driving entirely new businesses that could operate entirely online, and strengthen existing brick and mortar businesses allowing anyone to buy and sell goods and services from anywhere, instantly. What we ended up with was still important, but the web 1.0 world was not quite as grand as I think some of us had envisioned. E-Bay, Amazon and Paypal definitely went further than many e-commerce platforms and service providers, and I firmly believe their embrace of web APIs was the reason for this...

Tools of the CityGrid Los Angeles Hackathon

25 April 2012
We have a pretty awesome line-up of tools, platforms and APIs for people to use when building their local web and mobile apps this weekend at the CityGrid Los Angeles Hackathon: 3Scale (@3Scale) - A Plug & Play Cloud based API Management Infrastructure for Developers, Startups, SMBs and Enterprises to securely open, control, manage and monetize their API to 3rd parties. CityGrid (@CityGridAPITeam) - Places, offers, reviews APIs and mobile, web and custom advertising with places that pay. CloudyRec (@Cloudyrec) - CloudyRec is a mobile app scaffolding engine with integrated Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS). Factual (@Factual) - Places, Products, Health, Education, Government and Entertainment accessible via database and API, with a Resolve API providing places intelligence and Crosswalk API identifying places across multiple systems like Foursquare, Yelp and Facebook...

API as the Deliverable at the Hackathon

23 April 2012
At most hackathons, the end goal is building a web or mobile application, using various platforms and APIs. Even though I’ve seen this evolve to data visualization, or mashing up SaaS platforms at some events, the app really tends to be the primary deliverable at hackathons. So this week I’m spending time thinking of unique and interesting ways to present my sponsors for the CityGrid Hackathon this weekend in Santa Monica at CoLoft. One of our sponsors is 3Scale, one of my favorite API service providers, and while we see many of the API service providers including Apigee and Mashery involved in many of the hackathons you really don't see anything built using their platform. (I know they’ll ping me and say they do, but really your building using their clients...

Developers, Take 10 Seconds to Respond When Your API Evangelist Reaches Out

23 April 2012
The best thing about owning API Evangelist is I get to write about whatever I want. I have full editorial control, and because of my unique view on the API space I tend to write about APIs from three separate perspectives: API Owner API Service Provider Developer These are the three main actors in the API game. There are others, but these are the three viewpoints I write about the most. I tend to rail on API owners a lot, and today I think I will rail on API developers. Currently I’m doing a lot of reaching out to my developers. I personally email everyone who registers for CityGrid APIs. Sure I use template emails, but I customize them and send the email one by one so I can profile my API developers and understand what they are doing...

APIs Are Forever, Wait No...They Can Go Away at Any Time!!!

20 April 2012
One of my self-appointed roles in the API industry is to shed light on, and discuss the business of APIs when many other API owners and evangelists tend to keep their strategy and business closer to their chest. Many API owners don’t discuss their roadmaps, either because they feel they will be giving away their secret sauce, or quite possibly because they don’t have a clue where they are going with it. I think it’s more the latter, as we are all making this shit up as we go along. One subject you don’t hear API owners discuss often, is when their API will be deprecated or shuttered, leaving developers and tech bloggers to speculate on the subject. Because of this you tend to hear just the extreme views on the subject...

Finding Sponsors for my Local Hackathon Tour

17 April 2012
I’m currently planning a 9 city hackathon tour, starting with the CityGrid Los Angeles Hackathon, and following up with Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, NYC, Baltimore, New Orleans, and Austin. The CityGrid Hackathon tour is meant to bring together commercial and civic hackers to build the next generation of apps we use in our everyday "local" lives. I’m trying to find a blend of developers, business, marketing and advertising folks that will come together and develop commercially viable ideas that can also make our cities better places to live. So I'm looking for sponsors that really enhance the local theme of the event, so I started with: Local API Stack - These are APIs that I track on for CityGrid, providing direct value to local mobile and web app developers...

Profiling API Developers

17 April 2012
For the last couple weeks I’m neck deep in getting to know the developers who already use the CityGrid APIs. I want a better understanding of who a developer is, what kind of business they have and what they are looking to get out of the API. To find this out I start out profiling them socially using Rapportive (which I plan on automating using the Full Contact API as soon as I have more time) for the following information: Twitter Profile LinkedIn Account Facebook Profile Google + Profile Github Profile Usually I know the URL of their website, but if I don’t, I can extract from their email address or sometimes Rapportive will provide for me. I visit each developer’s site and look for: Blog w/ RSS Feed Business Contact Email Business Contact Form Next I build a quick one sentence description, telling me who they are and what they do...

Will a Self-Service API Area Ever be Enough?

17 April 2012
One of the essential ingredients of a successful API, is a self-service area to support your API developers. In my opinion this is a no-brainer. You have to have registration, documentation, code samples, forum and other essential API building blocks available to developers in a self-service way--so they can engage with your API 24/7 without asking for access. I’ve worked hard to make sure the CityGrid API area has a logical navigation, taking developers to the essential information they will need to learn about and integrate with the APIs: Getting Started  Publisher Overview  Ads by CityGrid Documentation  Content by CityGrid Documentation  Code Samples  SDKs  Usage Requirements  Terms and Conditions  Version History  FAQ  Blogs  Forum  Dashboard With those 13 links you can get to everything you need to know about the CityGrid Places, Offers, Reviews and Mobile, Web and Custom Advertising APIs...

Why Every Education Company Needs an API (& Why Educators Should Care When One Doesn't)

13 April 2012
When I was a tech blogger for ReadWriteWeb and API-related news broke, we writers would often shudder. “Well, you can’t use API in the headline,” the argument in the newsroom went. It’s the page-view-kiss-of-death. That’s not because APIs aren’t super-important or super-ubiquitous on the Web (they are both). It’s because most “normals” don’t know what they are or why they matter. They’d rather click on a story that says “101 Ways to Use Pinterest to Plan Your Wedding.” The decision to cover APIs regularly on ReadWriteWeb and eschew stories that fall into the “[Number] Ways to Use [Hot New Social Media Tool] to [Conduct a Seasonally-Relevant Activity]” goes a long way to explain the popularity of RWW versus that of Mashable, incidentally...

What Happens to Instagram API Developers After Facebook Acquisition?

09 April 2012
I was going to write this story when I got an email from Qwerly after they got acquired by Fliptop, then after SimpleGeo was acquired by Urban Airship, then when I got the email from LinkedIn announcing they were shutting down IndexTank. Four acquisitions later, I’m finally making time today after the announcement of Facebook acquiring Instagram. So, what will happen to Instagram API developers, now that Instagram is owned by Facebook? We don’t know. It sounds like Facebook will keep Instagram in tact, but who knows where it will go from here, where founder Kevin Systrom will take it, or Facebook will step in and make changes. If your like Postagram, you’ve already diversified beyond the Instagram API and acknowledged that you need to offer more than what you can build off a single API provider...

CityGrid LA Hackathon

09 April 2012
The future of the World Wide Web is local. As we spend more of our lives on our mobile phones, local data and apps become critical in helping us find the restaurant for a lunch meeting, the bar where our best friends are Friday night, the local retail store to make our next purchase, and to interact with our city government to make the cities we live in a better place. You can help shape the future of local, with the CityGrid LA Hackathon, a creative, local innovation event bringing together developers, local marketers, local advertisers and even local merchants to help build applications, data visualizations and other creative technology that helps define the future of local. Event Title - CityGrid LA Hackathon Event Location - CoLoft - 920 Santa Monica Blvd...

Should You Consider API Starter Kits for 3rd Party Platforms

31 March 2012
While assembling the building blocks for a successful API ecosystem, one of the requests I get from developers is for tools to help them build successful integrations with existing platforms like Wordpress, Drupal, Facebook and Salesforce. Some of the requests I get are from non-developers who just want a plug and play tool, they can deploy without needing to write code--but many of the requests are for white label, starter kits that developers can use to quickly deploy API driven applications on popular platforms like: Wordpress Drupal Facebook Salesforce Joomla I’m not an expert in any of these platforms, but I find the more I dive into developing on these platforms, the more I learn and the more I discover other experts who really understand the ins and outs of building plugins and add-ons for 3rd party systems...

Why Tech Bloggers Suck and Not APIs

30 March 2012
I read a post over at Cloud Ave today by Martijn Linssen, Why API’s suck, and what they lack.  I'll start by saying, everything he says about APIs, can be true for some APIs, but the post has more to do with the state of tech blogging, than anything to do with APIs. To Linssen's points: First of all, API’s aren’t open - True many APIs use this term, without it being true. But those of in the industry who get it, call these "public" APIs and have stopped using the term "open". Open has been used by a few bad marketing seeds, and perpetuated by the blogosphere. Second of all, API’s are for free, mostly, and no uptime is guaranteed - What? Really? Maybe the 10 you've tried don't, but many of the APIs I depend on do...

Keep Your API Area Active So Developers Feel Like Someone Is Home

28 March 2012
The largest portion of my time as API Evangelist is spent keeping the area around an API active. Your developer’s first impression when they enter your API area is critical, and if they see signs that your API is inactive, they might start looking elsewhere. The most common ways I keep an API active is by: Blogging Tweeting w/ Twitter Feature in API Area Forum Posts How-Tos Starter Projects Developer Showcase By actively posting content in these areas w/ timestamps showing when they were posted, I keep the API area looking like someone is home. This active content doesn’t just help developers visiting the site feel like the API is active, it also helps your SEO. Search engines and social networks will regularly index your content, providing fresh traffic, and potentially new developers to your API...

Some Positive News After Last Weeks Silicon Valley Sexism

26 March 2012
With all the attention sexism in silicon valley has gotten, I wanted to make sure and showcase some positive news on the Hackathon front this week. There was a great article in the Oregonian out of Portland called, "Intel 'Code for Good' hackathon helps nonprofits solve technology challenges". The theme for the hackathon: Girls in education Code for Good co-organizer Josh Bancroft worked with co-organizer Renee Kuriyan and employees in Intel's corporate affairs group to help four nonprofit organizations, World Pulse, a Portland-based nonprofit; Room to Read; 10X10: Educate Girls Change the World; and Global Campaign for Education. "I felt like we could amplify the impact" by software and corporate working together, Bancroft said...

Reach Corporate API Devs On LinkedIn, Independent API Devs On Twitter

23 March 2012
Every Monday I generate a list of all new API developer who registered for the CityGrid API the week before. This list has the name and email address for each developer, and I manually go down the list, and email them individually, letting them know I’m here to help. As I email each new API developer I use Rapportive to identify more information about them, such as their website URL, Twitter and LinkedIn profile. If a developer has a Twitter or LinkedIn profile, I engage them on those networks. After 3 months of doing this, I’ve noticed that developers who work for larger companies have LinkedIn profiles and developers who either are freelance, own or work with a smaller development shop tend to have Twitter...

Using Github For Your Hackathon

21 March 2012
I’ve spent a lot of time trying to track on what gets created at hackathons.  Some innovative programming occurs at these events and I’d say 98% of it is forgotten by Monday morning. I think a lot of attention is given to the myth that hackathons are about building startups. When in reality, how many startups come out of hackathons? In my opinion the top three things that come out of a hackathon are: Marketing - For the event organizer, sponsors and for participants. Talent Acquisition - There is some seriously talented folks attending hackathons. Networking - Hackathons are a great place to meet people, network, make friends and sure maybe a co-founder. Beyond that I think there is a lot of code that gets generated at hackathons, that really never goes anywhere...

Is The Blog for Your API Up to Date?

20 March 2012
As a building block, a blog is a very valuable tool for building awareness of your API, keeping your developers informed and give a personality to the team beyond an API. My recommendation to API owners is to always have a blog, however one the most damaging things you can do is stop posting to your blog. A blog is a key variable in my API Stack algorithm, of whether or not an API is worth integrating with, and if you haven’t updated your blog anytime in the last year, I immediately step away. If you want people to find your API, have a blog. If you want your existing developers to be educated about what can be done with your API, have blog. If you want developers who find your API, to feel confident enough to integrate it into their app, keep you blog updated!

Learning from Sqoot: Making Hackathons Accessible to EVERYONE!

20 March 2012
Boston API Jam organizer Sqoot just got themselves into a lot of hot water with some very sexist comments on their hackathon home page (now removed): From what I can tell, Sqoot was called out by @BoazSender: Then the pressure quickly was put on in the Twittershpere: Resulting in Apigee pulling their sponsorship: And Heroku pulling theirs as well: Sqoot quickly released an "apology" which included: "While we thought this was a fun, harmless comment poking fun at the fact that hack-a-thons are typically male-dominated, others were offended." Their "apology" definitely summarizes the misogynistic tone of the spreading Silicon Valley startup and hackathon culture. This is a major problem. One of my biggest complaints about many hackathons is that they are male dominated, and this is nothing to joke about, make fun of or take lightly...

Qualifying for the API Stack

15 March 2012
I’m going through hundreds of APIs and curating a list of APIs, for what I’m calling the API Stack.  The API Stack consists of APIs that provide clear value for developers and have demonstrated real investment in their API, and are in it for long haul. There are quite a few things I consider when looking at an API, here are a few: Value - The API offers clear value to developers, without needing an explanation. Web API - They don’t have to be 100% REST, but web APIs make developers lives easier. Active Blog w/ RSS - A blog is a quick way to see what is behind the curtain of an API. If they care enough to have a blog, and communicate with developers, and keep it active it demonstrates they care...

Knodes Announces $250K Fund to Invest In Their API Developers

14 March 2012
Social Data Analyzing API Knodes has just announced a $250K startup fund that will invest in the best products, websites and applications built on top of the Knodes API platform. Knodes Social Data Analyzing API provides developers with social data-based insights about their users across social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and LinkedIn. With the launch of the Fund, the Knodes team is hoping to bring awareness to their API and jumpstart a new ecosystem of developers, businesses and campaigns whose next generation social applications will be powered by its API. The Knodes Fund which is in partnership with Quotidian Ventures, will take the best websites, web and mobile applications and give them the resources they need to be successful, including up to $25,000 in equity funding, mentorship and access to new features and social intelligence available via the Social Data Analyzing API...

Andreas Krohn - API Evangelist

14 March 2012
Andreas Krohn (@andreaskrohn) first saw the potential of APIs when he in 2005 started working with enterprise web scraping solutions at Kapow Technologies (now Kapow Software). Conceptualizing the web as one big database and creating APIs to get to that data is not that different from the REST APIs used today. When leaving Kapow to start his own company it was a given that the focus would be on APIs and open data. Andreas API work is focused in Sweden where he regularly speaks at conferences. Mostly he focuses on the non-technical side of APIs since APIs are doomed to fail without a good business strategy and long term marketing plan. The ones that really need to understand the potential of APIs are the business people and then focusing on the money instead of technology is the way forward...

"Automated Documentation for REST APIs"

08 March 2012
Swagger is now Open API Definition Format (OADF) -- READ MORE This post comes from the SDK Bridge newsletter.  I find so much value from what Peter and Jonathan do over at SDK Bridge, I always have to post their newsletter here and share with all of you. People are constantly trying to come up with tools to make API documentation an easier task. If you are documenting an SDK built for C++, C#, or Java, there are tools such as Doxygen, Sandcastle, and JavaDocs to take comments from the code and automatically generate documentation from them. Why aren't there tools like this for REST APIs? The beauty of Web APIs is that they can be written in whatever language you like and in whatever manner you like...

Turning API Forum Posts into Blog Stories

05 March 2012
I’m always looking for new, relevant ideas to write blog posts on for the CityGrid Developer blog. I have several topics I write about regularly including new projects I’m working on, new releases around the API, and what I find during my local, mobile and social landscape analysis. However it can be hard to find topics to write about that are relevant to CityGrid developers, or publishers as we call them. To help write blog posts that are useful to my API community I started harvesting ideas and topics from actual forum posts from developers. Earlier today a publisher submitted a forum post stating their concerns about the age of some of the reviews they get along with businesses, when making requests against the CityGrid Places API...

Overview of 11 Places Data APIs

04 March 2012
Since starting as API Evangelist here at CityGrid, I have been asked a couple of times how we stack up against other places APIs. So I went through the 11 other places APIs, gathering info, in an attempt to see what each offered.

"Follow Terms of Service to Get Increase in Number of API Calls"

03 March 2012
I am going through the Foursquare API, and found their section about how to get an increase in the number of calls you can make against the Foursquare API interesting: If your application runs into any of our rate limits and you think you could use more, write us at [email protected] We'llneed your OAuth consumer id, an explanation about why you need an increased cap, and information about the following  Usage: A description of the endpoints you're calling and how you're using the data retrieved. We use this to make sure you're abiding by our Platform Policies and Terms of Service. Sample requests are generally helpful. Attribution: Screenshots of your application so we can confirm you're attributing foursquare correctly...

"What is API Evangelist?"

26 February 2012
API Evangelist has grown beyond being just a research blog. It is time for me to update the about us page, and its time for me to tell the story of what is "API Evangelist", and how I view my role in the API industry. API Evangelist started in July 2010. I was burning out in my job as VP of Technology for an events management company that managed events for SAP and Google. I was looking for a way to re-invent myself, doing something that I enjoyed, but also keep me employed for the next 5 years or more. I was looking for something that I was knowledeable about, would be around for a few years. I quickly identified web APIs as this focus. Web APIs had been a big part of my career since the early 2000’s...

Role of Social Media in Managing An API Ecosystem

26 February 2012
When new users sign up for the CityGrid API, I immediately get an email with their name, email and phone number, which are required for registration. The API is self-service, and I rely on the essential building blocks I’ve assembled as part of the API area to support them in their first hours and days of integration. Five days after registration, if a publishers has not reached out to the CityGrid API team, or show any usage on the API, I reach out to them via email, asking if there is ANYTHING I can do to make their integration successful. I do not send an email blast, I email them one by one, and as I do this, I use Rapportive in my Gmail to identify if they have a Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn account...

Garrett Willkin - API Evangelist

26 February 2012
Garrett Wilkin (@garrettwilkin) has been working with complex, high-performance, financial software systems for more than 6 years.  During this time he has learned to analyze and understand large software applications with dozens of concurrent processes.  He’s accustomed to complexity and excels at translating technical issues into higher level concepts for non-technical audiences.   He feels passionately about the opportunities for collaboration and innovation that are being produced through the API trend of recent years.  He recently attended and participated in the hacking at Music Hack Day in Boston. Having been inspired by the electric, creative energy at this event, he’s seeking further engagement with the wider hacking community...

Hackathons Until End of March

23 February 2012
This is a list of hackathons coming up in the near future. I've only done the data entry for events until the end of March. So far there are 156 hackathons accounted for. Some pretty staggering numbers in the growth around hackathons. If you have a hackathon coming up that is not listed, make sure and let me know. Open Chattanooga Hack-a-thon: Transportation 02/24/2012 ChattanoogaUnited States SFEDU Startup Weekend Bay Area 02/24/2012 Santa ClaraUnited States Code: NOLA - A Civic Hackathon 02/24/2012 New OrleansUnited States Honolulu Startup Weekend February 24-26, 2012 02/24/2012 HonoluluUnited States Boston Startup Weekend 02/24/2012 CambridgeUnited States Evansville Startup Weekend 2/11 02/24/2012 EvansvilleUnited States Lansing Startup Weekend 02/24/2012 East LansingUnited States LA Startup Weekend 02/24/2012 Santa MonicaUnited States Music Apps Hack Weekend 02/24/2012 New YorkUnited States BeMyApp San Francisco - The 2012 Mobile App Olympics 02/24/2012 San FranciscoUnited States BeMyApp Dallas - The 2012 Mobile App Olympics - Hackathon Competition 02/24/2012 DallasUnited States CityCamp Santa Cruz 02/25/2012 Santa CruzUnited States BlackBerry Hackathon San Diego 02/25/2012 San DiegoUnited States Photo Hack Day 2 02/25/2012 New YorkUnited States Code Across America ATX: A Civic Innovation Hackathon 02/25/2012 AustinUnited States Code Across America SF: Brigade HQ 02/25/2012 San FranciscoUnited States Heroku for Java Hackathon 02/25/2012 San FranciscoUnited States HACK the Idea-Hack-Party PARTY 02/28/2012 Palm SpringsUnited States Node...

Measuring the Success of a Public Web API

17 February 2012
I'm a member of a Google group called API Craft. There are some really smart API folks talking about everything from API deployment to API business strategies there.   The other day someone in the groups asked: How does someone measure success in developing and deploying a public–facing Web API? Scott Regan (@scottregan) of Apigee gave a great response, and I wanted to share with everyone here. Scott’s suggestions for measurements were: Revenue - For public APIs, could be affiliate program revenue, ad revenue, or if incremental traffic from apps to the website has a known monetization rate Reach - Incremental new user accounts or unique users Partnerships - Number of new partnerships established around your API Apps - The number of new apps developed using your API Traffic - Apply percentage of incremental traffic ("our API channel is now X% of total internet traffic") Brand - Measuring increased 'brand', but only if the company has an really established way to do this Scott goes on to say: When it comes to business metric tracking one thing i've seen work well is when the API team publishes a 'dashboard' widely and regularly - tracking actual results to estimates - because it helps PM focus the roadmap on what moves the business needle as agreed and avoid getting the team pulled in different directions...

Interactive API Documentation Now Available with 3Scale

15 February 2012
I first wrote about interactive API documentation with Posterous’s new API area in June 2011, then the follow-up when Mashery deployed their own version called I/O Docs in July 2011. Smart, interactive or I/O API documentation is an evolution of API documentation from static and often boring documentation, to more interactive and real-time experience, allowing you to make live calls against an API while also browsing the documentation that explains how it operates. Peter Gruenbaum of SDK Bridge has surveyed and done exhaustive research on what developers say about API documentation and web API documentation best practices, proving that up to date, and complete documentation can be very successful in helping developers get up and running using an API...

CityGrid Places, Reviews, Offers and Advertising API Review

13 February 2012
Much of the work I get as an API Evangelist starts with a review of an API area. I have evolved a way to look at API areas, and identify which building blocks are present or missing, all contributing to the success or failure of an API. I started evolved this methodology in summer of 2012 when I was first building API Evangelist, by reviewing over 250+ of the top APIs out there. I generated a list of the common building blocks used by APIs, as well as identified a bunch of innovative and less commonly used building blocks. When I first started working with CityGrid I reviewed their API area, which contained the following building blocks: API Dashboard Documentation for Content and Advertising APIs SDKs for iOS and Android Version History Blog Forum(s) Terms and Conditions Usage Requirements Self-Service Registration I have a list of what I consider essential API area building blocks, and most of them are represented here, but there were a couple missing...

Are There Enough Do-ers For This API Vision to Work?

13 February 2012
I am an eternal optimist, especially when it comes to APIs. I really feel that APIs can decouple businesses assets and resources, making these companies much more efficient. We’ve seen the power of the API when it comes to companies like Twitter, Twilio, Facebook and many others. But to build something on top of an API, you have to be a do-er. A do-er is a term invented by Jeff Lawson (@jeffiel) of Twilio: Do-er (n): A particularly driven individual, esp. a developer, who picks up their tools and builds something special. Do-ers are a fundamental ingredient in API ecosystems, and when I go to many conferences and walk by booths I see a fundamentally different process of holding peoples hands and showing them what they need to know...

"Lets Remake Libraries as Hacker Spaces and Community Innovation Centers"

07 February 2012
I was reading several stories yesterday about the State of California cutting funding for libraries across the state. These kind of budget cuts really make me worry for the future of our children and our communities. I say it is time that we all come together and figure out a way to re-invent our libraries, and one possible way forward is to remake our local libraries as hacker space. Here are a few ideas I had today about this: Dedicated Hacker Spaces - Each community could have a space to have hackathons that could be used for locally driven events as well as a place for out of town organizers to throw events. Hackathon Model - Libraries could adopt a hackathon model for throwing small or large events in any area, allowing kids and adults to organize and participate in hackathons in any topic area...

February Hackathon Schedule

07 February 2012
Here are the hackathons I'm tracking on for February. I'm adding new ones as I find them, make sure and checkout the hackathon events calendar for more information. OPF Hackathon - A Practical Approach to Database Archiving 02/07/2012 CopenhagenDenmark Constantine Startup Weekend 02/09/2012 ConstantineAlgeria University of Miami Ohio Startup Weekend 02/2012 02/10/2012 OxfordUnited States Greater Lafayette Startup Weekend 2012 02/10/2012 LafayetteUnited States Startup Weekend Jackson 02/10/2012 JacksonUnited States Startup Weekend Twin Cities 3 02/10/2012 Twin CitiesUnited States Valencia Startup Weekend 02/2012 02/10/2012 ValenciaSpain Music Hack Day San Francisco 02/11/2012 Hacking at Music Hack Day San Francisco 2012 02/11/2012 San FranciscoUnited States The Digital Barn 02/11/2012 BarnsleyUnited Kingdom Hack To The Future 11...

Where Are the Girl Hackers at Hackathons

05 February 2012
I brought my 11 year old daughter Kaia, to the Trojan Hack at USC Friday night and Saturday, which was a new experience for her. I wouldn’t say she is on a track to be a hacker like her dad, but she does have a Chromebook, iPhone and is pretty technologically literate. She has asked me a couple times about teaching her how to build a game, or some sort of fashion web site. She has her own Wordpress blog and even went and setup her own Wordpress.com account to blog about Harry Potter without my help. I asked her if she found any of the projects that were being built at the hackathon interesting--she said no, except the Wolves with Friends video game. Then she said, “maybe if there were more girl hackers, the projects would be more interesting”...

"Should the Government Subsidize and Profit from Data Markets"

01 February 2012
I've been having a lot of discussions with folks around the country about how to make money from data. There is a lot of data being pushed out there from federal, state and city governments, as well as from private companies and individuals--without much evidence of revenue. At this point there seems to be money in acquiring, processing, storing an deriving meaning out of the data, but not much money in actually selling access directly to the data. Through portals like opendata.socrata.com we are seeing more government agencies and cities publish their data, and after talking with the guys from Socrata last week, their focus is on helping more agencies get their data up, not metering or building business models around the data...

"Four Potential Levels of an API Business Ecosystem"

31 January 2012
I'm working on a framework for the City Grid API that helps define the different types of developers that are using our APIs, helping me understand how to better support them, and ensure their success. This particular approach is different than segmenting my developers by type of development, like web and mobile or by industry like real estate or medical. I'm focusing on the business side of the API, and identifying what developers need to be successful in the business of the applications they are building on the CityGrid API, and where I should focus CityGrid resources. I'm breaking down our API developers into four distinct levels: Open - Publicly available, self-service use of the API, with general forum and email support via developer area...

"Mashery Plays API Match Maker with Developer Connect"

31 January 2012
One of the biggest areas around APIs I think needs attention in 2012 is more tools that focus on developers. There are plenty API services and tools focusing on API owners, but we need to start making sure developers are taken care of. So its nice to see the Mashery’s new Developer Connect, which matches developers with companies looking for specific API development skills. Mashery partnered with Elance to develop the API skill matchmaking service, powered by Elance’s huge network of professional technical talent. There are plenty of developers out there who have polished their skills working with specific APIs, either on production, or hobby development projects, and would love to find freelance work, and make some money of their talent...

"Review of APIs: A Strategy Guide from OReilly Books"

30 January 2012
I had the pleasure of getting an early copy of the APIs: A Strategy Guide, Creating Channels with Application Programming Interfaces, by Daniel Jacobson(@daniel_jacobson), Greg Brail(@gbrail), Dan Woods(@danwoodscito), published by O’Reilly Books. APIs: A Strategy Guide, provides the essential knowledge needed for planning, implementing and managing an API in this emerging API driven world. Written by Daniel Jacobsen who has managed two of the fastest growing and progressive APIs I know of--Netflix and NPR, and Greg Brail who is probably the one individual who has deployed the most number of APIs in the industry, and not leaving out Dan Woods who's is responsible for bringing this book together...

Why We Write API Documentation

28 January 2012
This post comes from the SDK Bridge newsletter.  I find so much value from what Peter and Jonathan do over at SDK Bridge, I always have to post their newsletter here and share with all of you. I recently received an email with the subject "FW: boring job". It was a long email chain that started with someone casting about for someone to write API documentation. It got me thinking about how most developers must wonder why on earth someone with the skills to program would choose to write API documentation instead. "Why" is a good question to ask yourself when starting up a new year. In fact, I recently saw a TED talk video by Simon Sinek on how the most effective people, companies, and organizations, start by thinking about why they do something instead of what...

"Engaging My API Developers Immediately with Rapportive"

23 January 2012
When new developers register for the CityGrid API, I get an email with their name and email address. I want to make sure each developer knows I’m here, and available to help them get up and running as quick as possible. Emailing them as soon as they register seems a little too pushy, but following them on Twitter, with my personal Twitter and the CityGrid API Twitter account makes sense. So how do I get their Twitter handle, without spending too much time and derailing whatever I’m working on? In comes Rapportive. For those of you who don’t know what Rapportive is, it is an browser add-on that runs in my Gmail and shows me everything about a contact I’m emailing with...

API Evangelist Strategy for CityGrid

22 January 2012
When I started with CityGrid as their API Evangelist, I wanted to make sure and share as much of my strategy with my audience here, in real-time. Of course I’ve been so busy executing I have forgotten to tell the story about what I’m doing. So let me take a few moments to kick off telling the story of what I’m doing to build awareness of the CityGrid Places, Reviews, Offers and Advertising APIs. Let me paint a picture from the 100K foot view, then in other posts I’ll go into more detail. Here are the areas I’m focusing on: API - The CityGrid API already provides clear value and has a developer base, but there are always ways to improve. I will be providing feedback regularly, to the CityGrid API team on where we can improve on our APis...

How Do You Make Money From Your Apps?

21 January 2012
One of the areas of API development I'm focusing a lot of energy on in 2012 is around monetization. I want to help define the playing field, of how API owners make money from their APIs, as well as how developers make money from their apps. Both areas are extremely critical for the success of any API ecosystem. If the API owner does not have a clear path to generate revenue, the API won't be sustainable, and eventually will go away. On the other side of the coin, developers have to be able to make money from their apps in order to sustain their work, and build a viable business around an API. As part of my work on understanding the developer side of things, I'm doing several posts asking developers how they make or plan to make money from their apps...

HTML5 Developers Dominate at the Facebook Hackathons

21 January 2012
I just wrapped up two separate Facebook Hackathons, one in New York and the other in Boston.  Both events started with presentations from various Facebook team members, demonstrating different aspects of the Facebook platform. After the Facebook workshops, there was a presentation by Jim Zimmerman of Thuzi, a preferred Facebook mobile development shop from Florida.  During both his talks, he asked audience  to raise their hand and show which platform they developed their mobile apps on. The breakdown in New York, from my view was about: 25% iOS 25% Android 50% HTML5 While the breakdown in Boston, from my view was about:  10% iOS 10% Android 80% HTML5 In both cities HTML5 was the clear choice of developers...

"AT&Ts new Cloud API Platform"

16 January 2012
This is a guest post by Travis Spencer, a Software engineer specializing in federation, SSO, cloud computing, Web services, & enterprise architecture. This week, AT&T announced the release of a new API platform that is made up of various components designed to simplify mobile Web application development and utilize resources only available through them. Specifically, the new offering is made up of the following: A number of RESTful cloud services such as device location, MMS, digital signing, and direct carrier billing An application marketplace and distribution channel A hosting environment for the HTML5 and server-side components used by applications running on the platform SDKs for common development environments such as C#, PHP, Ruby, and Java that can be used to call the API An HTML5 client-side SDK built atop Sencha Touch that abstract away the various mobile UI differences of Android, iOS, Blackberry and others while simultaneously simplifying the integration w/ their new cloud services These are complimented by extensive samples, documentation, forums, on-line support, and a non-production environment where you can create an unlimited number of test applications...

Email as a Content API

13 January 2012
I think email is highly underrated as a content API. I know its not what we traditionally think of as an API, but has a lot of potential as a basic interface into an application. An example of this is If This Then That (iftt). I use iftt to syndicate content to some of my blog platforms. As part of my blogging strategy I want posts I publish on API Evangelist, to also show up on my Blogger, Posterous, Tumblr and Wordpress. Using iftt you can setup tasks that get triggered on certain events. One such trigger is a new post to an RSS feed. So when a new blog posts shows up in the API Evangelist RSS feed I can have iftt pull the title and body and push to a channel. iftt provides channels for Posterous and Tumblr, allowing me to automatically syndicate using their APIs...

The Secret to Amazons Success Internal APIs

12 January 2012
Last year there was an accidental post from a Google employee about Google+.  The internal rant was accidentally shared publicly and provides some insight into how Google approached APIs for their new Google + platform, as well as insight how Amazon adopted an internal service oriented architecture (SOA). The insight about how Google approached the API for Google+ is interesting, but what is far more interesting is the insight the Google engineer who posted the rant, Steve Yegge, provides about his time working at Amazon, before he was a engineer with Google. During 6 years at Amazon he witnessed the transformation of the company from a bookseller to the almost $1B, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) API, cloud computing leader...

Building Hyp3rL0cal Web and Mobile Apps

12 January 2012
I needed a way to tell the story of the CityGrid API from the perspective of cities across the United States.  The way I tell stories is through programming and hacking on APIs, so I needed a project that would allow me to hack on CityGrid’s places, reviews and offers as well as play with different ways of using the web, mobile and custom advertising we offer. So I created Hyp3rL0cal, my playground for all things local.   Hyp3rL0cal gives me a place to publish projects that I hack on using the CityGrid APIs, while also telling the story of what I build in real-time.  You can find local applications I build in a variety of languages, complete with links to download and fork on Github, and even in some cases I publish Amazon Machine Images (AMI) with the code already loaded and ready to use...

"Rules for Hackathon Organizers, by Ravi Singh"

11 January 2012
I just wrapped up the AT&T Mobile App Hackathon in Las Vegas. I had a great time hanging out with developers at the Palms Hotel, and watching everyone compete for the 30K in prizes. My primary goal at these events is to get to know developers and hear what they have to say. I was fortunate to connect with one such developer, Ravi Singh (@Code4Ever), and he was so kind to share Ravi's Rules for Hackathon's: #1: Use Eventbrite or Meetup to organize the event. Don't spin your own system because it is a waste of time. Eventbrite has it's own systems to market and get info about your event out. #2: Build a messaging network BEFORE the hackathon and register a hash for it...

"Definition of Hack"

10 January 2012
I’m spending a lot of time traveling around the country going to hackathons. I find myself constantly explaining what the term hack means. I’m blown away by the number of people, even in the tech industry that still see hack as a negative term. At the AT&T hackathon in Las Vegas , I encountered quite a few hardware folks in town for CES, attending the event. I was asked by one guy, “Are all these people trying to hack someone’s network?”. So, as part of my 2012 hackathon roadshow, I will take on trying to rebrand the term. Currently, these are the common definitions of the word hack: To cut or chop with repeated and irregular blows: hacked down the saplings To break up the surface of soil To alter a computer program To gain access to a computer file or network illegally or without authorization To cut or mutilate as if by hacking To cope with successfully To chop or cut something by hacking To write or refine computer programs skillfully To use one's skill in computer programming to gain illegal or unauthorized access to a file or network To cough roughly or harshly A rough, irregular cut made by hacking A tool, such as a hoe, used for hacking A blow made by hacking A rough, dry cough The definition I’ve heard, and prefer is: A quick and dirty programmatic solution to a problem...

Hashtag For Your Hackathon

08 January 2012
There are a lot of reasons for throwing a hackathon, and what value you get out of a hackathon will vary depending on who you are. As I explore the hackathon phenomenom in 2012, I’m trying to track on what value hackathon organizers, API owners, mobile platforms, developers and other participants get out of hackathons. I will be tracking on the different reasons people attend hackathons throughout the year, and share my findings, but here in January I know one thing for sure--hackthons are a marketing vehicle. Whether you are the hackathon organizer, an API provider or developer you are depending on the event to market your organization, business, API or talent and skills as a developer...

"API Evangelist Tour Schedule for January"

05 January 2012
In 2012 I will be stepping up my coverage, participation and sponsorship of Hackathon events across the United States.  In January I will be attending 9 events across 5 cities.   Here is my current travel schedule: 01/08/2012 through 01/14/2012 01/07 - San Francisco Designing & Developing for Mobile Workshop 01/08 - 01/11 - Las Vegas ATT Mobile Hackathon 01/11 - 01/13 - Portland, OR PDX Weekly Hackathon 01/15/2012 through 01/21/2012 01/17 - 01/19 - NYC Facebook Mobile Hackathon Hackathon for Social Good 01/20 - Boston Facebook Mobile Hackathon 01/21 - NYC Cleanweb Hackathon 1/22/2012 through 1/28/2012 01/22 - NYC Cleanweb Hackathon 01/27 - 01/29 - Philadelphia (No Hackathon...

Service Offered by Local, Social, Mobile API Providers

03 January 2012
To kick-off my role as API Evangelist at CityGrid, I took a quick walk through the world of location and places API. The CityGrid API centers around places API which provides rich local business data via a RESTful API. So getting familiar with other location and places API is critical to my role. While going through each of these APIs in the space I flushed out what I'd consider the high levels areas that these APIs offer. This list is a work in progress, with a goal in helping see the industry, and potentially identify where players are leading the industry, and where there are gaps. Of course it all starts with places information. Rich content about businesses and other geographic points of interest...

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