The API Evangelist Blog - 2013

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


The Holy Grail of APIs

20 December 2013
I look at a lot of APIs, I work hard to brainstorm ideas for potential new APIs, and I can't think of a more important API to not just the API economy, but to the overall economy, than an IRS API that would give citizens access to their income and tax history. We know the APIs exists, since the same resources are made available via the IRS Modernized e-File system to tax professionals. I'm not talking about an API that gives access to every detail of my tax history, but the data I've entered into common forms like W2, 1099, and 1042. This IRS API would provide simple REST API access to these values, along with an oAuth framework allowing any approved application developer to access all or portions of our most relevant income and tax data...

An API Is Research And Development For Your Business Model

19 December 2013
I spend a lot of time talking to folks on the phone, Skype, in Google Hangouts and in person about their API business models. Not everyone I talk with is willing to share their story public, so I'm also happy when I meet folks who are as open and transparent about figuring all of this out as I am. This morning I spoke with Anne and Bailey over at the Pop Up Archive about their upcoming API, and potential business model(s) for their API when ready. We talked about their immediate API release and then brainstormed about how to get the word out, how people might use the API, and possible approaches monetization. The Pop Up Archive is an audio transcription service, allowing you to publish audio files and receive back full text transcriptions of the audio...

Every Form Should Be An API

19 December 2013
I'm working on an API design for the free application for federal student aid form, also known as FAFSA, over the last couple weeks. I took the form which had over 150 separate fields, and turned into a basic create, read, update and delete (CRUD) API. I even added an endpoint that allows you to query and get a list of the fields. The project is a proof of concept to show the Department of Education what is possible around a FAFSA API. I'm not sure if the API will ever be deployed or adopted by the Department of Education or if by other 3rd party providers, establishing a sort of federated FAFSA API network. My goal is to just generate the API definition with supporting server and client side tooling, to show what is possible...

API Terms of Service Wizard From Swedish API License

16 December 2013
The terms of service for APIs is the single most important building block of an API strategy, one that dictates how developers can access and put API resources to use and sets the tone for an entire API ecosystem. Your API can be publicly available, but the terms of service and licensing will determine whether it is truly open. Even with the importance of this area of API operations, there aren't a lot of open resources to help guide you through crafting your API licensing and terms of service properly--until now. A group of swedish entrepreneurs Daniel Rudmark of Viktoria Swedish ICT, Elias Arnestrand of Samtrafiken, Anna Mirsch lawyer at Mannheimer Swartling, and Andreas Krohn at Dopter have come together to create a new project to address this need, called Swedish API License...

Charging For Higher Levels Of Access To Government Data and APIs

16 December 2013
The question of whether government should charge for APIs and other digital services came up again this week during a Google Hangout I did with Luke Fretwell(@lukefretwell) of @GovFresh. I began exploring this concpet last year in my post, Should the Government Subsidize and Profit from Data Market, after talking with several city government open data folks. Luke had pointed me to a page on the Hawaii.gov website that described their subscriber services: A subscriber account offers the benefit of monthly invoicing and payment and provides convenience to users who conduct large volumes of online transactions through our website. In some cases, a subscriber account is also required to access a specific online service...

An API Evangelist Review Of Your API

12 December 2013
Over the last 3 years I have looked at all the APIs available in ProgrammableWeb API directory, with about 2500 of which I monitor regularly. Throughout this process I've evolved an eye for what building blocks go into a successful API program. When I review an existing API area or program, public or private, I spend as little or as much time as I need to look at an API initiative through the following 20 lenses: Overview - The general look, feel and initial impression of an API at the high level. Endpoints - Review of API endpoints, looking at the detail. On-boarding - How easy is it to get up and going? Where is the friction? Documentation - General API documentation review and critique...

Understanding the French API Economy At API Days

11 December 2013
I got back from Paris, France this Sunday, after Audrey (@audreywatters) and I spoke at API Days last Thursday. This was the second annual API event, which kicked off last year around the same time. I've been a supporter of the event since Mehdi (@medjawii) of Webshell told me about the idea. Last years event was small, and over half the audience seemed to be imported API specialists such as myself, where this year it was clear--this was a french conference. A passionate community of API enthusiasts has grown over the last year, producing an impressive line-up of speakers and attendees. I learned a lot about the space ranging from containers and oAuth to revelations about how we can learn from history and make the right decisions as we move forward in a world of APIs...

It's Between Copyright And Fair Use In Oracle vs Google API Case

11 December 2013
I'm just getting time to read through the news coming out of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the next phase of the Oracle v. Google case, which kicked off December 4th in California courts. A panel of three judges presided over the Oracle v. Google Android/Java copyright appeal hearing, and after reading several accounts of the hearing, all three judges seem to all agree that the Java API should protected under copyright, but whether Google's use of portions of the Java API is fair use, is still unclear--potentially overturning Judge William Alsup earlier ruling. I strongly feel that APIs are the "fair use tip" of software that could potentially be covered by copyright and patents...

My Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) API Project

11 December 2013
I was able to give my FAFSA API project a little more attention in preparation for some data jams later this week. While there is still a lot of work to happen, I feel pretty good about what I have been able to get done. I'd love to reflect on the API design, get some feedback before I move it forward too much more. 75% Github As with all of my projects, the FAFSA API is mostly deployed via Github, except for the actual API. The project was born as a Github repository and expanded as a Github Page. Using Github I'm able to manage the project, while also making it open by default so anyone else can fork and put the work to use. Designing The API Once the repository was created, I got to work on an API design...

Adding The OpenEd API To The API Commons

01 December 2013
We have added the OpenEd API to the API Commons. OpenEd provides open educational resources like courses, videos and games for teachers to use in their classes. Using the API, developers can read and write resources to the platform, which currently houses 250K openly licensed educational resources. In addition to making all of the content openly licensed, the OpenEd.io site is also open sourced on Github. Making the OpenEd API definition a perfect candidate for the API commons. The OpenEd team designed their API using Apiary.io, defining it using API Blueprint, a web API language that allows for the description of APIs using markdown. OpenEd is a great open educational content API blueprint to follow, and we are honored to have it in the commons!

I Will Be At API Days in Paris This Week, Will You Be There?

30 November 2013
I'm pretty excited about heading to Paris this week to speak at API Days. The is the 2nd edition of the original french edition of API Days, and they have organized over 60 talks across two days: December 4th and 5th. I'm particularly excited about sitting in on these talks: Mike Admundsen, LAYER7 - Telephones, Mechanical Turks, and the Future of APIs Joffrey Fuhrer, Docker.io - Shipping code in a service oriented world Stéphane Legouffe, CTO of Paris - APIs and Cities Renaud Visage CTO, Eventbrite - From a Monolithic to a Distributed Architecture Steve Klabnik - JSON API: convention driven API design Romain Huet, Twitter - Twitter APIs: connecting to the pulse of the planet Guillaume Balas, 3SCALE - Which Business Model to Win in the API Economy? I will be talking about API Commons, and Bringing API Design Out Of The Shadows And Into The Commons--helping share the vision Steve Willmott and I have behind the new project that 3Scale and API Evangelist are partnering on...

PR People For APIs

30 November 2013
I'm getting more PR folks reaching out to me trying to get me to review their client's API program. I'm happy to add these to my list and make time each week to review them alongside the other new APIs I find each week. I'm not willing to jump on the phone and hear a pitch about the API. You should send me a short succinct email, or even better a Tweet with a URL and I'm happy to add to my list and make time when i can. I'm not the usual blogger who just wants to regurgitate what you told me in a briefing or in a press release. Your API and its supporting area should do the talking. I should be able to click on a single link, understand what you do, and be able to find what I need within 5 minutes or less...

Government Services Schemas With JSON-LD

29 November 2013
This fall while working in Washington D.C. I was introduced to the concept ofrepresenting government services with JSON-LD. Using the civic services schema.org proposal you can represent common government services that target indvidiuals and businesses, providing a standard that developers can use when presenting government services in websites and mobile applications. I was working on a project to help publish services from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and I wanted to enable people who work at the VA, as well as other agencies to be able to generate and manage JSON-LD representations of their services in the easiest way possible. So I thought to myself, what is the number one way for people in government to manage data? Spreadsheets of course! I decided to start with Google Docs, and generate a simple JavaScript tool to take a Google Spreadsheet template that was setup with the required fields for a government services schema...

Early Thoughts on Robots.json

25 November 2013
My friend @harmophone, Director of Platform for the Klout API, wrote up a great piece before #APIStrat, called A Short Proposal for Robots.json. This is a topic that I've been meaning to make time to discuss, but only now finding time. I love exchanging ideas with @harmophone, because we tend to disagree on some important API related topics, however he is extremely knowledgeable on the space, and like me he possesses some strong opinions and is very open to lively discussion via blogs, twitter and on stage at events. On the topics of web scraping, API rate limits, and API access that exist in the realm of what I call the politics of APIs, @harmophone and I couldn't disagree more on what is acceptable use in the API economy...

Generating The Utility APIs I Need For Each Developer Portal

21 November 2013
I'm working on an API for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. I'm working my way through a document from Department of Education called the 2013-2014 Application Processing System Specifications for Software Developers. I'm isolating various datasets, and data models, trying to get a feel for all the API resources I will need for the FAFSA API. The specifications provides several tables of data and data models for me to use, including the actual fields for the FAFSA form. One dataset that is provided in the PDF is a list of states. It makes sense that a list of states is included for any developer who is building a federal student aid application. And I have a states API available elsewhere, that I've used in several other applications, so building this API will for the project will be easy...

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) API

21 November 2013
I was asked to help put some thought into an API for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid iniative. First, what is FAFSA: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form the U.S. Department of Education (ED) requires to determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The government conducts a “need analysis” based on financial information, such as income, assets, and other family information, which you (and your parents if you are a dependent student) will be asked to provide. I'm just getting started with this project, and as I do with all my Public / Private Sector work, I created this umbrella site for my Department of Education open data and API work, and created an individual project site just for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid API...

An API For Your Github GeoJSON Stores

21 November 2013
I've been pushing the boundaries of open data and API deployment using Github. I have a project I've been evolving since August called Simple API and its sister implementation api.ongithub.com, which allows you to launch an API by forking common API definitions that are hosted on Github. I was recently introduced to similar approach to geospatial API deployment using GeoJSON stored on Github called GitSpatial. Using the same approach, GitSpatial lets allows you to oAuth into the API deployment platform using your Github login, then spiders your repositories and let's you sync the repositories that contain GeoJSON. Then using three URL parameters: user_name - Your GitHub user name repo_name - A GitHub repo name feature_set_name - A file in your repo that contains GeoJSON GitSpatial allows you to construct a geo spatial API resource URI: http://gitspatial...

University of California Student Senate Submits Bill Stating Student Information Systems Must Have API

21 November 2013
On November 6th, 2013 the Associated Students, University of California(ASUC) Senate submitted SB 48: A Bill in Support of Student Information Systems Application Developers, stating that "open data and API compatibility is a necessary feature in the new Student Information System". UC Berkeley has embarked on a "Student Information System Replacement Project" that is looking to "replace its constellation of aging, unique, disparate home-grown student systems with a modern, nimble and effective vendor-supported system". Systems including financial aid, registration, enrollment, admissions and records are being targeted for replacement. The existing Student Information Systems(SIS) has been in place for over two decades, and facing the same for future systems, the students led organization that represents over 35K students, is taking a stance to ensure that all future systems have APIs...

API Search Endpoint Using Solr

20 November 2013
I was going through the Free Law Project Court Opinion API today, playing with the API and data, while developing some server and client side tooling. All the API endpoints are pretty consistence because they used their Django model and the Tastypie framework to generate most of the API. There is one endpoint that is radically different from the rest of the opinion API: the /search endpoint. The Free Law Project used Apache Solr to generate the /search endpoint results and instead of directly hitting just the database for information it utilized Solr index to do the heavy lifting. Using Solr opens up a whole world of search by introducing common concepts like AND, OR, NOT, fielded queries, wildcards, fuzzy searches and much more when it comes to searching for court opinions...

Hypermedia In The Wild: Amazon AppStream API

20 November 2013
With the growing number of hypermedia API deployments, hypermedia haters© are going to lose a major argument, that hypermedia is just an academic exercise and will never work in the wild. ;-) The latest hypermedia API I was told about in the wild(thanks @johnmusser), is from Amazon Web Services with the recent AppStream API--"a flexible, low-latency service that lets you stream resource intensive applications and games from the cloud". The AWS AppStream API is an API that uses Hypertext Application Language (HAL), a consistent and easy way to hyperlink between API resources, created by Mike Kelly(@mikekelly85) of Stateless.co. When HAL is used, with each API request, you get a wealth of links that allow you to programmatically explore the functionality of an API...

Server Side API Templates On AWS Cloud Formation And OpenShift

20 November 2013
I created 11 very simple API designs for the launch of API Commons. We needed some API definitions to show the potential of the commons, so I wanted to design a handful of common API patterns to seed the launch. For all 11 API designs I started with a Swagger definition, then using PHP and the Slim framework I quickly generated server side code for each API. I generate this code programmatically from the Swagger spec, but I also prefer going through the generated code and giving it a human touch. This approach isn't just for these 11 API design templates, I'm using it for all my projects right now. I'm designing the API definition, generating and modifying the server side code, publishing Swagger UI documentation, then any client side code libraries I will need...

The Free Law Projects Launches Court Opinion API

19 November 2013
The Free Law Project has launched a U.S. court opinions API as part of the Court Listener project, which currently aggregates 2,204,339 court opinions, from 350 jurisdictions. The Court Listener Opinions API is a well designed, dead simple REST API with 7 endpoints to search opinions, citations across jurisdictions, using Basic Auth to secure the API. Along with the simple API and docs, the Court Listener provides a blog and forum to support developers, and bulk downloads of all data in addition to the REST API. The court opinions API implementation is a model to follow for other public sector open data and API projects. The API and supporting developer area is simple and very well done, providing all the essential building blocks needed to grow an ecosystem around the API and data...

Tracking On Data.json Deployment Across Federal Agencies

18 November 2013
I'm tracking on the evolution of Executive Order 13642 from last May, which was the White House directive to make open and machine readable the new default for government information. The piece that I'm tracking on specifically right now is around the OMB Memorandum M-13-13 Open Data Policy-Managing Information as an Asset, in which one of the items require agencies to publish a data.json file that provides a machine readable inventory of each agencies public data assets. Much like the tracking I did around the digital strategy, I've stood up a monitoring script that I got from Philip Ashlock's Github, which I will be running daily to track on which agencies have published their data.json in anticipation of the November 30th deadline...

420% Growth In DNS API Usage Over At Dyn

18 November 2013
The folks over at Dyn who provide traffic, message, remote access and domain services, including a suite of SOAP and REST based APIs, have released some interesting stats on their API usage. Dyn has 500 managed DNS users and partners using their APIs, growing from 7.3 million monthly API requests in January 2012 to 38.1 million API requests in September 2013, that is a 420% growth over 20 months. In their data they split out who is using SOAP vs REST APIs, with only 3.3% of their total API requests being SOAP, with almost no growth in same time period, compared to the 420% growth in REST usage. I don't think the data is particularly noteworthy, it represents what we already know about the space and see reflected in other charts...

On Losing My Storytelling Voice

17 November 2013
photo credit I'm totally thankful for the experiences I've had over the last 90 days in Washington D.C. as a Presidential Innovation Fellow, and even more thankful I'm able to keep doing much of the work I was doing during my fellowship. In reality, I'm actually doing more work now, than I was in DC. While there were several challenges during my time as a PIF, the one that I regret the most, and is taking the longest to recover from, is losing my storytelling voice. This is my ability to capture everyday thoughts in real-time via my Evernote, sit down and form these thoughts into stories, and then share these stories publicly as the API Evangelist. During my time in DC, I was steadily losing my voice...

Getting Your API Done From the Outside-In

17 November 2013
Sometimes no matter how hard you try, you can't get the buy in for APIs within a company or organization. There are many reasons why API efforts will fail within entrenched companies, organizations or government agencies, but in the end you may have to look for alternatives. If you want to fullfill your API vision, many times you will need to go outside normal operations to get things done. I have multiple projects on my plate right now that have been started as internal projects, but after hitting roadblock after roadblock, key players have approached me to consider doing as an outside project. One of the best ways to get people interested in APIs, is to get everyone around them talking about APIs or even getting key partners to adopt an API driven approach to a problem...

API Commons Is More Than Just The Definition, Specification or Schema

17 November 2013
API Commons is about providing a simple and transparent mechanism for the copyright free sharing and collaborative design of API specifications, interfaces and data models. When learning about API Commons it can be easy to focus on the obvious technical deliverables of the project, API definitions, data models, schemas and specifications. While API Commons is about providing a place to house these very technical design specifications, the largest benefit of API commons will be the process , community and culture that will form around it. Bringing API design across government and industries out into the open, focusing on sharing, collaboration, reuse and operability will be the true end product--not just the tangible API definition...

Deploy Secure API: Public Google Spreadsheet to API

16 November 2013
I'm working on a series of simple scripts that help people deploy APIs from some of the most common data sources. I'm starting with a series of PHP scripts, and a couple weeks ago I did a public Google Spreadsheet to API demo, and this week I want to show how to secure access to the API by requiring an AppID and AppKey which will allow you to track on who has access to the API. For this PHP implementation, I'm using the SLIM framework, which provides a dead simple REST framework you can use to deploy an API from a variety of data sources. To begin deploying an API from your Google Spreadsheet datastore, download the REST library and upload to your server that runs PHP. Slim is pretty straightforward to work with, to add each API endpoint you just add a single PHP file under methods...

Modular APIs Driven From Github Blueprints Using OpenShift

16 November 2013
I'm working on a variety of ways that anyone can easily deploy API on common cloud platforms. I'm working through a series of open and secure, modular API demos written in PHP, using the Slim framework. All of these demos are pretty basic, but currently I'm deploying them on Amazon EC2, because it is where most of my infrastructure runs and a top platform with wide user base. Ultimately my goal is to make them as simple to deploy as I possibly can, and while EC2 is definitely the leader, I know there are even simpler ways to launch simple APIs in the clouds. I was doing a survey of which PaaS platforms government agencies allow their workers to deploy projects on, via the US government API group and was reminded of OpenShift, from Redhat...

Deploy Secure API: Private Google Spreadsheet to API

16 November 2013
I'm working on a series of simple scripts that help people deploy APIs from some of the most common data sources.  I'm starting with a series of PHP scripts, and last week I did a private Google Spreadsheet to API demo, and this week I want to show how to secure access to the API by requiring an AppID and AppKey which will allow you to track on who has access to the API. For this PHP implementation, I'm using the SLIM framework, which provides a dead simple REST framework you can use to deploy an API from a variety of data sources. To begin deploying an API from your Google Spreadsheet datastore, download the REST library and upload to your server that runs PHP. Slim is pretty straightforward to work with, to add each API endpoint you just add a single PHP file under methods...

Deploy Secure API: JSON to API

16 November 2013
I'm working on a series of simple scripts that help people deploy APIs from some of the most common data sources. I'm starting with a series of PHP scripts, and a couple weeks ago I did a JSON to API demo, and this week I want to show how to secure access to the API by requiring an AppID and AppKey which will allow you to track on who has access to the API. For this PHP implementation, I'm using the SLIM framework, which provides a dead simple REST framework you can use to deploy an API from a variety of data sources. To begin deploying an API from your JSON datastore, download the REST library and upload to your server that runs PHP. Slim is pretty straightforward to work with, to add each API endpoint you just add a single PHP file under methods...

Introducing Data Ongithub

16 November 2013
I am a big fan of opening up data in city, county, state and federal government and across companies of all shapes and sizes. One thing I've learned in my 20+ years of working with data is that when it comes to data management, the spreadsheet is king. While there are always centralized database systems at companies and government organizations, the spreadsheet is actually how data is generally managed, shared and distributed by the average person. Data Ongithub is a project that is focused on tapping the wealth of data available in spreadsheet form and provide a simple platform for converting and managing open data, that anyone can use. While working on open data initiatives I consistently see two major hurdles for individuals who are opening up data: How Do I Convert My Data To JSON? JSON is the reigning open data format...

Deploy Secure API: MySQL to API

16 November 2013
I'm working on a series of simple scripts that help people deploy APIs from some of the most common data sources. I'm starting with a series of PHP scripts, and a couple weeks ago I did a MySQL to API demo, and this week I want to show how to secure access to the API by requiring an AppID and AppKey which will allow you to track on who has access to the API. For this PHP implementation, I'm using the SLIM framework, which provides a dead simple REST framework you can use to deploy an API from a variety of data sources. To begin deploying an API from your MySQL database, download the REST library and upload to your server that runs PHP. Slim is pretty straightforward to work with, to add each API endpoint you just add a single PHP file under methods...

Secure API Deployment From MySQL, JSON and Google Spreadsheets With 3Scale

16 November 2013
I'm doing a lot more API deployments from dead simple data sources since I started working in the federal government. As part of these efforts I'm working to put together a simple toolkit that newbies to the API world can use to rapidly deploy APIs as well. A couple of weeks ago I worked through the simple, open API implementations, and this week I want to show how to secure access to the API by requiring an AppID and AppKey which will allow you to track on who has access to the API. I'm using 3Scale API Management infrastructure to secure the demos. 3Scale has a free base offering that allows anyone to get up and running requiring API keys, analytics and other essentials with very little investment...

Interactive Feedback On The FDA Recall API

15 November 2013
I have a long list of little projects I'm working across government, and since I'm not being paid for some of this work now (except for the support of my amazing partners), the publicity and page views for this work is all I got! :-) So I'm publishing the stories around everything I do. Up next: I was asked for some feedback on the FDA Recall API that is in pre-production currently, and I thought, what better way to offer feedback on API design than actually sculpting a Swagger definition of the changes and making it usable via Github. Overall the FDA Recall API design was perfectly suitable for launch, even though the interface isn't perfect and some of the data is pretty messy, but I'm a big fan of just getting things out there, letting developers hack on it and gather feedback for the next iteration...

APIs Give You The Ability To Define And Execute On The Actions That Are Most Important To You

15 November 2013
I am a programmer with a full understanding of how to deploy, consume and put APIs to use. Even with this knowledge and ability I'm continually blown away by the opportunities APIs afford, even without possessing any programming skills whatsoever. One API I depend on for my daily monitoring of the API space is the Pinboard API. As I browse the web, using the Pinboard bookmarklet I can pin any web page for use later, then using the Pinboard API I pull these curated pages into my monitoring, reporting and story development platform. To take this feature one step further, when I star a Tweet on Twitter, Pinboard watches this and automatically bookmarks the Tweet, adding it to my curation as well...

PHP Libraries For Smithsonian API to Support Hackathon This Weekend

15 November 2013
I have a long list of little projects I'm working on across government, and since I'm not being paid for some of this work now (except for the support of my amazing partners), the publicity and page views for this work is all I got! :-) So I'm publishing the stories around everything I do. This week I got a sneak peak of the Smithsonian EDAN API which provides access to meta data of collections housed at the Smithsonian Institute, along with the ability to tag items and build collections. The Smithsonian is holding a hackathon this weekend and I wanted to contribute what I could, so I pulled together a PHP code library as I explored and hacked not the Smithsonian EDAN API. The library isn't a beautiful product ready SDK, but should help the average PHP developer get up to speed on the API and save some time building their app...

Deploy API: Private Google Spreadsheet to API

12 November 2013
I'm working on a series of simple scripts that help people deploy APIs from some of the most common data sources. I'm starting with a series of PHP scripts, and next up is a private Google Spreadsheet to API, using JSON stored in Github. For this PHP implementation, I'm using the SLIM framework, which provides a dead simple REST framework you can use to deploy an API from a variety of data sources. To begin deploying an API from your Google Spreadsheet datastore, download the REST library and upload to your server that runs PHP. Slim is pretty straightforward to work with, to add each API endpoint you just add a single PHP file under methods. For this how-to guide we are going to add a simple endpoint from our JSON products data store...

If Gov Then That

12 November 2013
I just found an interesting brainstorm going on via Github, about how to make government more efficient and interoperable using APIs, that was created by government consultant Leah Bannon (@leahbannon), called If Gov Then That. The idea? Promote gov APIs by making them dead simple and suggesting clever recipes (like IFTTT and Zapier) Leah has started a rough list of some possible recipes, but needs your help to brainstorm what you'd like to see for developing interoperability and automation recipes in our government. You can contribute via the Github project, on the conversation thread she started on the US Government APIs Google Group, and she will be working on as part of Code for DC.

9 Essential Languages For Your API Code Libraries

12 November 2013
I was working with Google APIs over the last couple days while building Google Spreadsheet to API tools. It gave me a chance to look around the Google Developers Area and rediscover some of the positive approaches the API pioneer brings to the table. In this post I wanted to highlight the Google Drive Code Libraries. While the Google approach isn't perfect, I think it sets a good bar for what can be achieved by API providers when delivering their own API code libraries. I think the languages represented are the baseline for any modern API, and all API providers should consider providing the following languages: .NET Go Java JavaScript Node.js Objective-C PHP Python Ruby Languages like Go and Node...

Common Data Sources To API Definition

12 November 2013
I've been working through several demos of how to go from common data sources like MySQL and Google Spreadsheet to API over the last couple of weeks. So far I have five basic working demos: MySQL to API Local JSON to API Github JSON to API Public Google Spreadsheet to API Private Google Spreadsheet to API These demos are meant to show how easy it is to deploy a simple API from common places you already have data stored. Right now I'm building them in PHP, but will also be building Python, Ruby and Node.JS versions. These exercises are meant for my newbie readers but are also helping me see API deployment in different ways. I realize how difficult it is to write code that will work for all scenarios...

Automatic REST API for Databases As Complete Amazon Machine Image

08 November 2013
SlashDB aka /db, has recently been added to the Amazon Marketplace, providing a complete database to API solution as an Amazon Machine Image (AMI). Companies can use the /db Amazon image to automatically generate REST APIs from common relational databases like Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, PostGreSQL, which includes Amazon RDS. /db charges based upon the number of databases you launch and the number of users that are using the API for the database, and you will have to pay for the regular charges for any Amazon EC2 instances. I like the idea of building API solutions and launching as Amazon Machine Images. I think ready-to-go platform solutions like this for AWS, Google, Heroku and other top cloud platforms are good for potential API providers...

Dwolla Open Sources Mobile Payment App

08 November 2013
Every API provider should provide code samples in a variety of languages, helping developers get up and running as fast as possible. Dwolla is taking this one step further and providing a fully functional iOS app that developers can fork, tweak and use as they wish. I've talked about what I call "starter kits" before, when I showcased Google+ sample social applications in a variety of languages, but it is still something I don't see from very many API providers. Complete mobile applications is a great way to showcase what a complete API integration will look like, helping developers see the end goal clearly, while also teaching them best practices. Do you have any applications you could open source and allow developers to reverse engineer? Or maybe an app you could developer to show developers what is possible!

APIs Ongithub

07 November 2013
I've created a new playground for some of my work. Pretty much everything at API Evangelist runs on Github, and each new project I produce starts its life as a Github repository. To support this work I established a new domain called ongithub. My first series in the ongithub realm is based upon an approach I'm using to deploy very simple APIs, while also introducing and educating people about APIs. I have a handful of simple API designs from working in the government, so I married them with data models derived from schema.org, and publish over 10 very simple API design patterns. Every one of these demo APIs began as a simple Swagger specification, which I quickly spun into a web API using the Slim REST Framework, then generated a simple API microsite complete with interactive documentation...

Open Data And API Efforts Rendered Useless When Privacy Is Ignored

06 November 2013
On the second anniversary of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), where we are celebrating a "global effort to encourage transparent, effective, and accountable governance", and that: OGP has grown to 60 countries that have made more than 1000 commitments to improve the governance of more than two billion people around the globe. OGP is now a global community of government reformers, civil society leaders, and business innovators working together to develop and implement ambitious open government reforms and advance good governance. That is some pretty significant platform growth! While reading this I'm reminded of how any amount of perceived growth and value delivered via an "open data or API platform" can be immediately muted by the omission of very fundamental building blocks like privacy...

Putting The Open In API With The API Commons

06 November 2013
Steve Willmott(@njyx) from API infrastructure provider 3Scale and API Evangelist launched a new partner project yesterday at Defrag, that we are calling API Commons. The mission with API commons is to provide a simple and transparent mechanism for the copyright free sharing and collaborative design of API specifications, interfaces and data models. For a space that is about open access and interoperability the API industry has been very closed about their API designs, and after helping the EFF urge the courts to block copyright claims in the Oracle v. Google API fight, Steve and I thought it would be a good idea to introduce an API commons that would help put the "open" into API designs and data models, and back into the API space in gernal...

Deploy API: Github JSON to API

22 October 2013
I'm working on a series of simple scripts that help people deploy APIs from some of the most common data sources. I'm starting with a series of PHP scripts, and next up is JSON to API, using JSON stored in Github. For this PHP implementation, I'm using the SLIM framework, which provides a dead simple REST framework you can use to deploy an API from a variety of data sources. To begin deploying an API from your JSON datastore located at Github, download the REST library and upload to your server that runs PHP. Slim is pretty straightforward to work with, to add each API endpoint you just add a single PHP file under methods. For this how-to guide we are going to add a simple endpoint from our JSON products data store...

Deploy API: Public Google Spreadsheet to API

22 October 2013
I'm working on a series of simple scripts that help people deploy APIs from some of the most common data sources. I'm starting with a series of PHP scripts, and next up is a public Google Spreadsheet to API, using JSON stored in Github. For this PHP implementation, I'm using the SLIM framework, which provides a dead simple REST framework you can use to deploy an API from a variety of data sources. To begin deploying an API from your Google Spreadsheet datastore, download the REST library and upload to your server that runs PHP. Slim is pretty straightforward to work with, to add each API endpoint you just add a single PHP file under methods. For this how-to guide we are going to add a simple endpoint from our JSON products data store...

API Deployment From MySQL, JSON, Github and Google Spreadsheets

22 October 2013
I'm doing a lot more API deployments from dead simple data sources since I started working in the federal government. As part of these efforts I'm working to put together a simple toolkit that newbies to the API world can use to rapidly deploy APIs as well. Currently I have four separate deployment blueprints done: MySQL to API Local JSON to API Github JSON to API Google Spreadsheet to API All of these samples are in PHP and uses the Slim PHP REST framework. They are meant to be working examples that you can use to seed your own API deployment. I'm also including these in my government API workshop at #APIStrat this week, hoping to get other people equipped with the necessary skills and tools they need to get APIs in the wild...

Deploy API: JSON to API

21 October 2013
I'm working on a series of simple scripts that help people deploy APIs from some of the most common data sources. I'm starting with a series of PHP scripts, and next up is JSON to API. For this PHP implementation, I'm using the SLIM framework, which provides a dead simple REST framework you can use to deploy an API from a variety of data sources. To begin deploying an API from your JSON datastore, download the REST library and upload to your server that runs PHP. Slim is pretty straightforward to work with, to add each API endpoint you just add a single PHP file under methods. For this how-to guide we are going to add a simple endpoint from our JSON products data store. Next you just add an include reference in the index page for your slim implementation: This API just uses ID, Name, Price and Description of the product, and queries by a simple query parameter...

Deploy API: MySQL to API

21 October 2013
I'm working on a series of simple scripts that help people deploy APIs from some of the most common data sources. I'm starting with a series of PHP scripts, and first up is MySQL to API. For this PHP implementation, I'm using the SLIM framework, which provides a dead simple REST framework you can use to deploy an API from a variety of data sources. To begin deploying an API from your MySQL database, download the REST library and upload to your server that runs PHP. Slim is pretty straightforward to work with, to add each API endpoint you just add a single PHP file under methods. For this how-to guide we are going to add a simple endpoint from our products database. Next you just add an include reference in the index page for your slim implementation: This API just uses ID, Name, Price and Description of the product, and queries by a simple query parameter...

Government API Opportunities: Bureau of Labor Statistics

19 October 2013
I'm working to expand my awareness of APIs in our federal government by spending time each week discovering, reviewing and trying to brainstorm ways to expand and evolve existing government API efforts. Today I was reviewing the Bureau of Labor Statistics API, where I was pleased to find this valuable labor data available via single series, multiple series, one or more series specifying years. The API is a pretty straightforward web API, which could use some polishing, but overall it provides machine readable access to this very important data as I would expect. When I look at federal government APIs I'm trying to find at least one or two ways to help move the API forward, either as constructive criticism for the API providers or ways that the public (me included) can help evolve the community or the API itself from the outside...

Shutdown of Government Open Data and APIs Is NOT Government Services Business As Usual

17 October 2013
During the recent federal government shutdown many sources of open data and APIs were suddenly rendered unavailable, including the flagship Data.gov. As government workers went home and lights were turned off at federal agencies, so too were the servers that hosted much of the open data and APIs that have been opened up in the last couple years. Across the web I've encountered discussions from many individuals who state this is how government services work. When government funding disappears, the government services go away, suck it up. I'm sorry, but this is unacceptable in the Internet age. If you see things this way, you are part of the machine that allows government services to be used as a political tool...

API and OAuth Literacy Is As Important As Financial Literacy in the API Economy

17 October 2013
The primary mission of API Evangelist is to spread awareness of APIs amongst the masses, expanding the audience beyond just the IT crowd, and developer community. Initially I wanted to make sure business leaders understood the potential of APis, so that they funded API initiatives within their companies. In 2012 I feel that APIs have hit a critical mass, and while I still evangelize APIs to business leaders I'm shifting a portion of my focus to the average Internet user. APIs impact almost every aspect of our daily lives from logging into Facebook on our mobile phones to purchasing gasoline at the corner gas station. As API usage spreads across business, the government and the Internet of Things (IoT), the everyday citizen will be using APIs more and more each day...

Foundry Group Makes Investment In The Open Standards, API Driven, JavaScript Approach Of MapBox

16 October 2013
On June 29th, 2006, Google launched Google Maps API allowing developers to put Google Maps on their own sites using JavaScript. The API launch was just shy of 6 months after the release of Google Maps as an application, and was in direct response to the number of rogue apps developed that were hacking the application--demonstrating the demand for a JavaScript based, API driven mapping solution for developers. Fast-forward 7 years, and maps are a central fixture of virtually every web and mobile application we depend on daily. While Google Maps is still the heavyweight in the space, their now classic map interface, proprietary tooling and search centric mindset leaves a huge opportunity for disruption in the app economy, and the venture capital firm Foundry Group is betting that startup mapping provider MapBox is the solution that will de-throne Google, with a 10M investment in MapBox earlier today...

Visual Notes From My Talk On APIs And The Future of Education At OpenVA

15 October 2013
Audrey and I went up to University of Mary Washington yesterday and participated in the #OpenVa discussion, where I gave a presentation on the importance of APIs and how they will play a significant role in the future of education. During the talk Giulia Forsythe (@giuliaforsythe) sketched some visual notes that I think are pretty damn cool! You can view her blog post and other sketches on her blog at Minding the Future [Visual Notes} #OpenVA. You can also find the slides for my talk on Github under OpenVA - The Future of Educaiton. I had a great time brainstorming with everyone up at UMW, and will have more posts in the near future about the other plotting and scheming we did regarding the future of education and APIs...

Access, Interoperability, Privacy and Security Of Technology Will Set The Stage For The Future of Education

12 October 2013
In 2010 when I started API Evangelist I saw the technological potential of APIs, but while the rest of the online space was focused on what APis could do for developers, I was focused on what APIs could do for the average person. APIs don't just open up access for developers, they open up access for end-users, introducing interoperability, data portability and ultimately tools that give them control over their own data, content and other valuable resources. This realization has been central to my mission at API Evangelist, which is about educating the masses about APIs. What is an API? Why are APIs important? I strongly feel that APIs empower end-users to make better decisions about which platforms they use, which applications they adopt, and gives them more ownership, control and agency in their own worlds...

From Extract, Transform & Load To Input, Process and Output With Delray

12 October 2013
I spend a lot of time finding valuable data sets and manually converting, processing and outputting into more usable formats, so that they can be used in APIs that drive mobile and web applications. I am always on the lookout for new tools that will help me be more efficient in to my work. I'm currently test driving a new platform called Delray that focuses on taking an older concept of extract, transform and load (ETL) and bringing it into the API age by allowing me to define common data resources as inputs, process them one time or on schedule and output data in a cleaner, more usable format. Using Delray I can define an input from CSV, JSON, MSSQL and other common formats, and save this as the input for my workflow...

Two Weeks Until API Strategy & Practice in San Francisco

12 October 2013
I'm working through the schedule for API Strategy & Practice Conference (#APIStrat) in San Francisco, preparing for the 3Scale / API Evangelist produced event October 23rd through 25th. I'm pretty excited about the lineup we've managed to assemble including keynotes from Pamela Fox (@pamelafox) from Khan Academy, Daniel Jacobson (@daniel_jacobson) of Netflix, Wynn Netherland (@pengwynn) from Github and Kristin Calhoun (@KCalhoun) the director of the Public Media Platform, just to name a few of them. We've worked hard to put together sessions that would speak to all aspects of the API space including creation, design and documentation of APIs, API discovery, hypermedia APIs, API testing & debugging, API marketing & evangelism and business models...

How To Defrag Your Brain and Tech Career In November

11 October 2013
I spend the year going from city to city, attending conferences, meet-ups and hackathons--speakng, networking and doing the things that makes my world go around. Every November I find myself a little spun out from the year and need to Defrag my brain, re-organize what I know and re-enforce the most meaningful relationships across my professional career. This is is done in Broomfield Colorado each November at the Defrag Conference. I arrive the evening before the conference at the Omni Interlocken Resort. It is late at night, the lobby is empty and I walk up to the counter and quickly get my room from the young lady running the desk. I turn around to head to the elevators and notice Brad Feld(@bfeld) sitting on the couch, lost in his phone...

The Backend As A Service Space Is Maturing

09 October 2013
I just got off the phone with a new Backend as a Service provider BizMobify, who is looking to deliver BaaS services to the enterprise. The timing for the call couldn't be better, as I'm updating up my BaaS white paper this week, and one thing I'm expanding is looking at it through the enterprise lens. As I dust off my research on BaaS I'm re-visiting my BaaS research site and re-watching the BaaS Panel from API Strategy & Practice in NYC last February. This is helping me understand where the space what last winter and early spring. As we move into the last quarter of 2013 I'm reminded of how fast the BaaS space is maturing. There are new providers continuing to enter the space, but I also see continued energy and releases from the BaaS leaders like Parse and Kinvey...

Can We Depend On Federal Government APIs?

01 October 2013
The federal government shutdown today. At the Department of Veterans Affairs we are still working through next monday, so it was business as usual today for me. One of my projects is preparing a list of APIs and data assets for a hackathon in NYC that is focusing on developing apps for veterans, called The Feast. My goal is to aggregate a list of as many usable assets as possible so developers don't have to go to multiple locations to locate them. Many of the assets are available at VA.Gov, but there are others that I knew were on Data.Gov. As soon as the page loaded at Data.Gov, I got a friendly message: Due to the lapse in federal government funding, this website is not available. We sincerely regret this inconvenience...

Providing Access To Services That Help Americans With Their Food Security Using APIs

29 September 2013
I had the pleasure to connect with the talented Code for America fellow, Moncef Belyamani(@monfresh) this week and talk about a very meaningful API project, called the Ohana API. "The Ohana API is a project from the San Mateo County team of Code for America fellows that is aiming to create open access to community social services, with an initial emphasis on food security." I couldn't' think of a more important use of APIs, than making sure people can find the soical services they need--especially services that ensure people are fed. I'm also impressed with the approach of Code for America in giving Github a central role in the project. The API project, the API wrapper in Ruby and a cool API to PDF generator are all available on Github...

Start With Your Public Website When You Begin Your Inventory For Data APIs

25 September 2013
I'm working on taking inventory of data assets at the Department of Veterans Affairs. While eventually this will include private data assets, in the beginning we are focusing on data that can be made public without being worried about personally identifiable information or health information. There are a lot of hurdles to get over, including educating people about what is a data asset, as well as the process of identifying, preparing, publishing and listing the data assets in a publicly available marketplace. We are at the point where everyone is looking around for potential data assets that can be included in the current open data inventory cycle. It is proving to be a challenge for folks to find datasets they can include...

Github Can Be the POST and PUT Layer For Federal Government APIs

25 September 2013
I'm playing with different approaches to rapidly design, develop, deploy and manage APIs using Github. While about 90% of what I'm building runs on Github, there is still about 10% that runs on Amazon EC2. There are just some aspects of a proper API interface that I can't do on Github. My recent prototypes use swagger and allow for much of the API interactions to occur via Github. I a working to carve off any elements I can from the architecture, including using JSON files stored at Github as the database backend for the API. If you look at my recent Dev Hub prototype, you can browse the API interface, thanks to Swagger, and when you make API calls to the endpoints via Amazon EC2, the REST interface is just acting as a search, filter and REST facade for the JSON files that are actually stored on Github--eliminating the need for a database backend...

A Huge Need for Writeable APIs in Government

25 September 2013
I asked a question on Twitter last night: Any examples of government APIs that allow for write (POST, PUT, PATCH) capabilities? I'm looking for existing agencies who have implemented already. While I was asking for examples of APIs, by motivations were specifically about finding an example of terms of use for a government writable API. After spending some time looking and listening to peoples responses, there isn't much in the wild when it comes to writable government APIs, however it is clear that there is a huge demand for writable APIs, and a lot of opinion that this could be the thing that changes how government operates for the better. The best examples that my followers pointed me to was with the Open 311 iniative: Washington, DC Chicago, IL Montgomery County MD There was another DoD API that allows users to POST information, and then only allows them to only update their own information, but wasn't exaclty the open write I was looking for...

Excel and CSV Conversion to JSON and XML in JavaScript That Runs 100% on Github

24 September 2013
When it comes to building applications within the federal government, there are numerous road-blocks to innovation. I'm currently assisting with the inventorying of open data assets at the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as across numerous other federal agencies. The two biggest bottlenecks of this process are: File Conversion - Converting Excel and CSV data assets into JSON and XML File Storage - Where do you put data assets once you have available in CSV, JSON and XML When I hit these road-blocks, it is my nature to find quick and dirty technical solutions (hacks) to get around these obstacles, and do it in a way that can be taught to others, allowing them to overcome these challenges in their own worlds...

HTML to Markdown API

22 September 2013
I'm slowly getting my blog world in order after the move from my own proprietary blogging platform to using Github + Jekyll hosted using Github Pages. I've been using HTML pages for blog posts at API Evangelist, Kin Lane and other blogs, with 3 years of blog posts at API Evangelist and about 6 years at Kin Lane. There is a lot of legacy content to move from my EC2 driven blogs to Github. Every time I would try and publish the posts as is, Github would reject my commit when it hit posts that didn't have compliant HTML, making it near impossible to publish everything. I was trying to clean up as much of it as I could, but it wasn't good enough. I needed a way to convert to markdown and clean house...

IRS Modernized e-File (MeF): A Blueprint For Public & Private Sector Partnerships In A 21st Century Digital Economy (DRAFT)

15 September 2013
Download as PDF The Internal Revenue Service is the revenue arm of the United States federal government, responsible for collecting taxes, the interpretation and enforcement of the Internal Revenue code. The first income tax was assessed in 1862 to raise funds for the American Civil War, and over the years the agency has grown and evolved into a massive federal entity that collects over $2.4 trillion each year from approximately 234 million tax returns. While the the IRS has faced many challenges in its 150 years of operations, the last 40 years have demanded some of the agency's biggest transformations at the hands of technology, more than any time since its creation. In the 1970s, the IRS began wrestling with the challenge of modernizing itself using the latest computer technology...

API Monetization In The Internet of Things @ Nordic APIs

14 September 2013
I have a panel this week at Nordic APIs called Business Models in an Internet of Things, with Ellen Sundh (@ellensundh) of Coda Collective, David Henricson Briggs of Playback Energy, Bradford Stephens of Ping Identity and Ronnie Mitra(@mitraman/a>) of Layer 7 Technologies. My current abstract for the panel is: As we just begin getting a hold on monetization strategies and business models for APIs delivering data and resources for mobile development. How will we begin to understand how to apply what we have learned for the Internet of Things across our homes, vehicles, sensors and other Internet enabled objects that are being integrating with our lives. In preparation for the event I am working through my thoughts around potential monetization strategies and business models that will emerge in this fascinating adn scary new world where everything can be connected to the Internet---creating an Internet of Things (IoT)...

Using Excel For Crowdsourced Data Gathering And Reporting

13 September 2013
I was impressed with some of the data journalism behind the recent NPR story, Playgrounds For Everyone, a community-edited guide to accessible playgrounds. The story is definitely an important one, but it is the data behind it I think is significant to highlight. You can download the data of the 1700 playgrounds in 20 different cities in a CSV and JSON format. Something I think is ripe for an API, by the way. Another interesting aspect is they are asking for submissions from the public, and they even provide a template Google spreadsheet, providing a framework for how the public should gather and organize data into a standard way, that NPR can import. While I think this project could go further, I think it is an excellent example of using data journalism in public reporting...

A Masking, Scrubbing, Anonymizing API

13 September 2013
In government there is a fear of exposing public data via APIs--rightfully so. This is not just a government concern, it exists in all industries within each an every business and organization. We all possess private data, and when opening up API driven resources, we need to make sure none of this is exposed in un-desired ways. I find it hard to believe, that after almost 10 years of public APIs, there isn't a reasonable solution to masking, scrubbing and anonymizing data that is made available via APIs. I wrote about research into finding a solution at UC Berkeley a while back, but to date I have not seen any real solutions to this problem yet. I was talking with another Presidential Innovation Fellow (PIF) the other day about possible solutions for making sure Personally Identifiable Information (PII) doesn't get exposed via government APIs...

The Perils Of API Transport Over The Public Internet

13 September 2013
George Reese has a very interesting post from last week over at O'Reilly. It is about an earlier post he did on the unpublished Tesla REST API. I'll let you read the post, "The Myth of the Private API"--I highly recommend it. Reese talks about the mistakes made by Tesla, Phillips and other Internet of Things companies, when they take advantage of the power of web APIs, intending them to be private, but do not put any thought into what happens when you deploy APIs using the public without securing your API endpoints from unintended use. I find a particular statement he made, fascinating: I sincerely believe that ultimately there is no such thing as a private API for consumption over the public Internet...

The Spreadsheet Will Play A Central Role In The API Space

09 September 2013
The more I immerse myself in government, I'm reminded of the central role that the spreadsheet plays in our business and government operations--primarily Microsoft Excel, but also in some circles, the Google Docs Spreadsheet. While it is government that is bringing the spreadsheet front and center for me again, I'm reminded of days while working on SAP events and working on budgets, sessions and registrations lists that were past around in complex series of spreadsheets. After this I go further back in time, to the early 2000s when I worked in the non-profit sector, where database management was completely done in a myriad of group and individual spreadsheets. Beyond the spreadsheet being the central villain in global operations, I'm seeing it emerge as a character across the API landscape with Octobpart Electronics providing bill of materials management in Microsoft Excel that is driven from their API, CrunchBase adding 13,689 Companies and 1,462 venture rounds as an Excel download, and Twilio allowing users to make calls and send SMSs from spreadsheets...

Loosely Coupled Services

07 September 2013
Building off a similar topic this week, I was asked to dumb down or explain what I meant by "Loosely Coupled Services", alongside a "Library of Modular Services". In this case, loosely couple means independent technical and data services, in the same way you would access services that people are familar with in the mainstream business world. Think of the services you would access and put to use around your home. Common household services like electrician, plumber, tile layer and sheet rocker. These each represent independent services you would access to tackle a home improvement project. While there is some overlap in these services, generally each service technician specializes in one area, doing one thing and doing it well...

Library of Modular Services

07 September 2013
I'm always looking for simpler and more concise language to describe API, while writing stories and white papers for my audience. I recently used the phrase "library of modular web services", in a presentation outline at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This white paper was intended for a non-technical, state government audience, and my collaborator on the presentation asked if I could dumb this phrase down a little for the audience, providing a simpler explanation. In this case, I think certain phrases get co-opted by the developer and IT crowd, borrowing from the physical world, resulting in them having a perceived technical meaning, but when in reality they are still very rooted in their past, and can be easily explained by taking users back to their previous meanings...

API of API Keyword Searches

05 September 2013
I was working on series of API endpoints this week, each of them had a basic search parameter, allowing you pass a keyword to filter your API request. Pretty standard stuff. After deploying the APIs I wanted to make sure I tracked what people were searching for, so I could use in reporting and other tools. Then I got to thinking, that it would make sense to go ahead and launch an API of API search queries, allowing other users to be able to discover and benefit from insights derived from other API users searches. Just a random thought as I'm playing around more with APIs in government. I definitely like the stimulation I get from designing, deploying and evolving APIs at my new gig, in addition to my existing monitoring of the API space...

Building Internet of Things Products? You Better Secure It, Says the FTC

05 September 2013
The Federal Trade Commission(FTC) just settled a case with web-enabled camera maker TRENDnet, signaling the government agency's first action against an Internet of Thing's company. The FTC's complaint alleges that TRENDnet was labeling their cameras as secure, when in reality the camera had faulty software that left them open to online viewing and audio access to anyone who had the Internet address of the camera. The FTC / TRENDnet case is the first, in what I predict is a future filled with security and privacy violations by Internet of Things products and companies. As we blindly race forward with the exciting Internet of Things, many companies will disregard the security of their hardware and software, just like TRENDnet did...

I Am Always Amazed At How Little People Understand About Github

05 September 2013
I work with some seriously smart people on a day to day basis, virtually across the web, and in person on some of the projects I'm working on in federal government. Much like APIs, Github is fast becoming a ubiquitous technology that people are using to manage their community, code, documents and much more. Several times each week I encounter situations where Github is referenced as a potential platform for managing a new project, or cited wen talking about how to solicit feedback, engagement and participation across existing projects. I'm always amazed that in about 75% of these Github conversations, someone chimes in about how Github wouldn't be appropriate because of the barrier to entry for many users...

Am I Going to See You @NordicAPIs in Sweden, September 18th & 19th?

04 September 2013
There is a growing number of API conferences going on this year in the US, but the hunger for API knowledge isn't just something going on in this country, we are seeing a demand for API information and conversation growing internationally. One place that is exploding is in Europe and specifically in the Scandinavian region, and there is one must-go-to event that is driving the API conversation--the Nordic API Conference, September 18th and 19th in Stockholm, Sweden. I will be heading out for the conference and giving a talk I'm calling "The Politics of APIs is the Future", my current abstract is: We have found the right balance of technology for APIs, using simple lightweight protocols, built on HTTP...

Baseline for Federal Government Open Data and API Portals

02 September 2013
I have a whole list of projects around open data and APIs at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Additionally I have numerous other open data and API projects I'd like to tackle across other federal agencies. As I do with other areas of my work, I needed a standardized way to stabilize the datasets and APis I will need for my projects, in the same way any open data and API provider should do for their consumers. To help support my work, and hopefully the work of others I wanted to create a baseline portal that I could use at the VA, for showing what is possible when hanging open datasets and APIs, in a full featured portal. The success of any open data and / or API portal starts with the technical building blocks, like data and APIs, but have a set of business and political building blocks that are essential to their adoption and growth...

Private Sector Sharing The Load Through Government APis

02 September 2013
When it comes to APIs, people respond to stories about real world examples, even more than solid technological implementations. If you can demonstrate how APIs are actually providing a solution, you can reach more people than just talking about the technological nuts and bolts. With this in mind I'm working through telling stories around how the IRS leveraged web services to incentivize private sector to develop applications that would provide tax solutions for the every day tax payer. In my short year and half working for government I've heard the example of "TurboTax" used to describe an example of how the federal government can leverage technology to deliver partner driven solutions, and better serve the public...

Pick Your Head Up Regularly, Heads Down is Good, But Being Aware Cannot Be Ignored

28 August 2013
One important thing I've learned while running API Evangelist, is the importance of picking your head up from your work on a regular basis, and tuning into the world around me. When you are running your API initiative it can be also be easy to go heads down coding, addressing technical issues, managing support channels and dealing with the general day-to-day, internal activity of running a company. Don't get me wrong, I'm big on going radio silent, closing the Gmail tab, shutting down TweetDeck, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Skype and my other communication channels. Since I stopped using Google Reader to monitor feeds, and setup my own internal curation, I can easily tune out my API industry monitoring and curation for days sometimes...

Kicking The API Strategy & Practice Conference Into Full Gear

28 August 2013
While we officially launched API Strategy & Practice, San Francisco edition back in May, we've been pretty quiet during the summer months. Well, now summer is coming to a close, and we are now less than 60 days away from the API community conversation that is #APIStrat. To start ramping things up, I'm going to start showcasing the amazing line-up of speakers we have for the event, and giving the kick-ass sponsors who have stepped up to support the event, the "love" they deserve. Early bird pricing has ended, but you have less than a month to get in on the mid range pricing. Don't miss out like so many did in February when #APIStrat New York City sold out--buy your tickets now. Even with large number of speakers we have lined up, we still have some slots left open, and will be making some announcements of other big names to the lineup-so stay tuned...

OAuth 101

27 August 2013
With APIs beginning to enter the mainstream consciousness, it is time to spend more time educating the masses about OAuth. We've had plenty of conversations between two of the OAuth legs, provider and developer, but we now need to bring the third leg into the conversation--the user. First, what is OAuth? - An open protocol to allow secure authorization in a simple and standard method from web, mobile and desktop applications. Whether you like it or not, OAuth has become the industry standard for accessing resources, being served up via APIs, that are being consumed through desktop, web and the fast growing mobile space. OAuth Platforms & Data Providers If you are an online platform, OAuth is something you need to understand...

Sitemap for APIs

27 August 2013
When it comes to API discovery, as an industry we haven't been able to find a satisfactory technological solution yet. While I often feel the right approach hasn't emerged yet, I think we are just overlooking "good enough" solutions, because we are waiting for the holy grail of API discovery. I can't imagine that indexing, search and discovery of the myriad of web APIs out there is that much harder than indexing, search and discovery of the billions of HTML documents available online. Sure, when you are talking about programmatic interfaces, you need a little more precision, but I think us technologists are caught up our own beliefs that APIs should be perfect. It would make sense that we adopt some evolution of the common sitemaps format, retrofit it to be JSON, accommodate open data catalogs, and allow for various API definitions in Swagger, I/O Docs or even API blueprint...

The API Space Often Seems To More About Money, Intellectual Property and Competition, Than Interoperability Sometimes

27 August 2013
I used to think that the API space is resistant to defining standards around REST, data formats, webhooks, hypermedia, api definitions and other key areas of the space, because after the top down, strict structure of SOA, the community just wanted to let the space organically define the best approaches. The API world just seemed like a wild west of strong minded individuals, who had a sort of "markets will work it out" approach, and the best approach will win in the end. You know, kind of like the Amazon cloud API battle? By 2013, the only thing we've come to agreement on is around oAuth, and by many accounts that was a failure. I used to think that many of the bitter battles by the RESTafarians about API design, RESTfulness and Hypermedia were because these were very smart, stubborn folks trying to craft the best approach possible...

API Testing and Monitoring Finding A Home In Your Companies Existing QA Process

25 August 2013
I've been doing API Evangelist for three years now, a world where selling APIs to existing companies outside of Silicon Valley, and often venture capital firms is a serious challenge. While APis have been around for a while in many different forms, this new, more open and collaborative approach to APis seems very foreign, new and scary for some companies and investors--resulting in them often very resistant to it. As part of my storytelling process, I'm always looking for ways to dovetail API tools and services into existing business needs and operations, making them much more palatable to companies across many business sectors. Once part of the API space I'm just getting a handle on is the area API integration, which includes testing, monitoring, debugging, scheduling, authentication and other key challenges developers face when building applications that depend on APIs...

With APIs In Your Company, Start Small And Read API Evangelist

24 August 2013
I thoroughly enjoy the assortment of emails, LinkedIn messages and phone calls I get from people in the SMB and enterprise, letting me know the role my blog plays in them starting, cultivating and evolving their own API initiatives. I received once such call this week, from an unnamed individual, at an unnamed company, letting me know the role API Evangelist played in providing the information they needed to find success. Like many other companies who reach out to me, their efforts aren't to the point where they feel comfortable telling stories publicly, so I'm happy to keep anonymous, until they are ready. The stories that come out of these companies are all very similar. The API initiatives were started by single person, or small group of passionate individuals who start small, find safe and sensible wins, while keeping risk and failures to a minimum...

Delivering Value For Developers Is First When It Comes To The Census Bureau APIs

22 August 2013
I wrote a piece about providing a full download vs. API last month, where I used the Census Bureau API as an example. The post got the attention of the folks at the Census, and they invited me out for a discussion yesterday about their API strategy. The Census Bureau API team asked me what I thought of their API developer area, and while I have lots of suggestions of where they could do, I first focused on what they have already delivered. I don't know if you understand the size of the census, but it is a massive undertaking, resulting in data at a scope that we are only seeing matched in the last few years, with the Google's and Twitters of the world--the only difference is the census has been going on since 1790...

To The Audrey Watters Haters

22 August 2013
I've had the joy of watching a lot of you bash on my girlfriend, from the misogynistic douche bags telling her to get back in the kitchen because she questions their technology startup, to the recent @FakeAudreyWatters Twitter account spending a good portion of their day mocking her. Audrey and I are very different personalities when it comes to expressing ourselves in an online environment, but we share one common thing--a passion for helping encourage meaningful dialogue about where we are going with this whole technology roller coaster. Audrey is extremely passionate about education and where we are going with the education of our kids, and how we are applying technology in the classroom...

View CSV and TSV Data Files In Table Views Directly On Github

22 August 2013
Github is really doing some cool stuff to help open data folks manage and share their data. They just launched the ability to render data from .csv (comma-separated) and .tsv (tab-separated) files as an interactive table, including headers and row numbering. They even let you link to a specific row for sharing specific data from the file. As I'm working on opening up government data, I'm pushing for agencies to use Github when publishing and sharing CSV, TSV, XML and JSON files. These kind of features really go a long way in helping me achieve my goals. Make sure and also check out what Github has done around 3D models and geographic data, pretty cool stuff.

Time Tracking Platform Harvest Moves API Docs and App Showcase to Github

21 August 2013
Time Tracking API platform Harvest has embraced Github as part of their API ecosystem. I'm always on the hunt for examples of API providers using Github, so I figured I'd showcase Harvest's creative use of the social coding platform. Starting with their documentation, the Harvest team has moved the API documentation to a Github repository, allowing developers to "watch" the API, get updates when changes are made, asks questions or even contribute to the API docs by submitting a pull request. Harvest is also using the wiki portion of their Github repo for a developer application gallery they are calling Community Creations and Hacks, where they showcase innovative uses of the Harvest API--currently displaying 20 integrations by Harvest users...

API Skills Alongside Web In Developers Toolbox

21 August 2013
As I immerse myself in the federal government, I have left my private sector world where web APIs have become commonplace. Sure I still worked hard to get outside of Silicon Valley and reach out further into land of "normals", helping spread the API gospel, but in Washington D.C. I seriously have my work cut out for me. I have a great support system within the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) at the White House, but as I go deeper within specific agencies I see fewer web APIs, and fewer people who understand them. When I do come across a web service, it makes me hopeful, but still these SOAP driven services may get the job done for programmers, but lack the simplicity needed to get wider adoption...

API Craft - SOA vs API?

16 August 2013
This is from a question I answered on the API Craft Forum tonight titled: SOA vs API? I happened to look at the slide and also related video but unfortunately still do not have  a crystal clear view.Is my understanding correct? SOA and API are complementary paradigms/technologies. APIs are a facade to SOA to expose them to the outside world? SOA was aimed to provide an integration mechanism/guidelines for enterprise while APIs are generally aimed to make the backend systems public? Also, APIs can be internal to the organization. My response: Your understanding is in the ballpark.  APIs were one tool in the SOA toolbox. Except you are seeing APIs as just technology. APIs have jumped out of the enterprise toolbox, and found success in the richer oxygen environment of the Internet, escaping from the claustrophobic environment of the restrictive enterprise network in which strict governance was imposed, and technologists decided everything...

What API Documentation Do You Suggest?

16 August 2013
As I spend time in Washington DC, I get a lot of questions regarding API design, deployment and management. It is quite likely my writing will evolve here at API Evangelist during the next year. You will see me quickly scrub answers that I'm giving to questions that I receive from any number of federal agencies. One question I received today was a classic one: what are some good examples of API docs? But in this particular case it wasn't just for an API, there is also a full download of data available as well. First, regardless of whether or not it is data download (CSV, XML, JSON) or API you need to provide a wrapper area, or portal, that will onboard users and helps them understand what you are delivering, enabling them to go from 0-60 with as little friction as possible...

Moving Beyond the Constraints of Commercial API Design With The Public Media Platform

15 August 2013
There are just a handful of API platforms that I feel have greatly impacted the world of APIs and were significant in leading the space in important ways. These platforms include, but are not limited to Amazon Web Services, EBay, Salesforce, Google Maps and Twitter. All of these companies have changed the way we build applications and conduct business, by using APIs. In 2013, as we watch 50-100 public APIs launch each week, it can be difficult to see any sign of meaningful impementations in each wave of new API deployments. Just as I'm getting completely depressed about this lack of true API innovation, I was introduced to a new Public Media Platform that is pushing forward the tech, business and politics of APIs...

Have A Bunch Of Documents? Launch An API With Apache Solr

13 August 2013
In this computer driven business world its easy to end up with a mess of documents across a company's network. No matter how much you try to organize, name and add metadata to documents, providing a quality search mechanism can be tough. Let alone one that you can use in web portals, web sites and even mobile and tablet applications. One common way to to solve this problem historically has been using the Lucene Java Search Library, but in the age of web and mobile having an added API for integrating across all the place you will need search, is even better. One of the quickest ways to deploy a document search API is using Apache Solr which is built on top of the Lucene Java Search Library...

Simplifying oAuth With oAuth.io

13 August 2013
Securely accessing API with oAuth can be one of the bigger pains in the ass for developers. Poor understanding of how oAuth works and often lack of good client libraries, can make API authentication a hurdle developers can't jump over. Now developers don't have to stress out over oAuth. The tech savvy team over at Webshell.io has created a dead simple oAuth solution that allows you to integrate with over 70 of the common API providers, with just three lines of JavaScript, called oAuth.io. What I like about oAuth.io the most, is that it is a true client side oAuth solution. With as many pure client-side, JavaScript, Single Page Apps I'm building, this type of oAuth solution just rocks! I really enjoy dead simple solutions like oAuth...

My First Day in Washington DC As Presidential Innovation Fellow

11 August 2013
Tomorrow, will be my first official day in Washington D.C. as a Presidential Innovation Fellow. I'm super excited, yet also very calm about what is happening. It seems like it is so meant to be, that I don't have any questions or reservations, I just want to get to work. I was not in the realm, where I would take a job from anyone. I was doing very well, educating the masses about APIs as THE API Evangelist. However when the I got the call to be a Presidential Innovation Fellow, I did not hesitate. Yes. Of course I would take the role. As a Presidential Innovation Fellow I will be assigned to the "VA Modernization Team", along with two other very talented individuals, Molly Ruskin (@mollieruskin) and Ben Willman (@benwillman)...

Overview of API Integration

09 August 2013
Overview of API Integration Integrating with a single API can be tough, let alone multiple APIs. I see integration being about on-boarding, exploration, education, authentication, code samples, testing and sand-boxing of APIs--pretty much everything between the discovery of APIs and going into production. The goal is to identify building blocks, tools, services and other knowledge that will help developers integrate APIs into their web, mobile and internet of things applications. API Evangelist as always been about the business of APIs from the API provider perspective, but now I'm looking to evolve it, and include the business of API consumption. Some of the companies included in this research span other areas like API discovery or management, but they are also providing valuable tools and services that help ensure developers will be successful...

All You Can Eat Buffet of Developer Tools at Splunk

08 August 2013
During my monitoring of the API space this week, I came across an interesting blog post from data platform Splunk, showcasing the tools they provide for developers who are putting their real-time data platform to use. Splunk has an amazing smorgasbord of developer tools, but there are a handful that I feel need highlighting, so that other data API providers can consider as part of their own offerings: Command Line Interface (CLI) - Monitor, configure and search Splunk via a terminal/shell interface or wrapping the commands in a shell script REST API - Most of the functionality in Splunk exposed as a suite of REST endpoints Software Development Kits (SDK) - Development kits for accelerating integration with the Splunk API in six different languages: Python, Java, JavaScript, PHP, Ruby, C# Apps and Add-ons - Packaging up of the various configurations, searches, knowledge objects, UI components and customizations, inputs, role definitions, field extractions etc...

Delivering Your API as a Virtual Appliance

08 August 2013
Sentiment analysis and social media analytics API provider Repustate is providing a virtualized, portable, on-premise version of its API--adding a new twist to the concept of API deployment. Using this new approach, Repustate is targeting the 5% of their user base who do not wish to transmit their data across the Internet, possibly because of legal or security concerns, and providing them with an on-premise version of their API, configured as a portable virtual appliance. While the concept of on-premise vs cloud is nothing new, packaging up your API as a virtual appliance that can run anywhere is not that common. I'm investigating various, emerging approaches to deploying virtual containers that can assist API providers in providing portable versions of their valuable API resources...

Evolving Beyond Open: The Runscope Community Projects Model

08 August 2013
The word "open" gets thrown around a lot in the API space. So much in fact, the term has lost just about any meaning. We don't say "open API" anymore, we identify an API as public, partner or private, evolving to a time where open APIs have merged with open source, and success means building community. In 2013, successful application development centers around community, which includes not just a healthy selection of valuable, stable API resources, but also a strong assortment of open source tools and cloud services that are community driven, and benefit all. A strong example of this evolution can be seen in the Netflix ecosystem, where a "public" API has been largely considered a failure, but a strong API driven community of device vendors has flourished, as well as the release of a suite of open source API and cloud tooling from the online movie and TV streaming platform...

The Federal Government Deploys Their Own API Management Solution

02 August 2013
Some of the smart people in Washington D.C. have decided to roll their own API management solution, providing their own open source solution to many of the common problems faced by API providers like issuing API keys, rate limit and provide analytics. Available at api.data.gov/about, but powered by an open source project called API Umbrella, the project aims to be a free and open API management option for federal agencies. API Umbrella provides some of the most common aspects of API management: Documentation API Keys Rate Limiting Analytics The roadmap for API Umbrella is also interesting, looking to deliver: Self-service web admin Interactive documentation User management Granular permissions and rate limits While creating, yet another API management solution may not seem like the best idea at first, I can see why federal agencies would do it...

Securing Your API 101

02 August 2013
I get a lot of questions from folks about the why, when and how of securing an API. And in keeping in sync with my audience, I wanted to provide a plain english story of securing your API, avoiding  the often enterprise, service oriented architecture (SOA) jargon, which can confuse the situation for many who are just getting their feet wet. So, you have created a basic API from your data or other resource, that returns XML or JSON for users--now you want to secure it. The reasons for securing your API will vary on a case by case basis. Your might be releasing data that you only want a handful of select people to access, or you might be looking to reduce the amount of server and bandwidth resources it takes to support an API, or you might just want to intimately understand who accesses an API and why and how they are using it...

Giving Excel Power Users The API Driven Resources They Need

31 July 2013
I've been an advocate for non-developers being one of the most important audiences for your API, since I started API Evangelist. I know us developers love to believe we are the primary force behind the success of APIs like Twitter--it is partially true, we are. But we also had the assistance of the power Twitter user in getting the good word out. Tech savvy journalists, marketing and other folks who get the platform, API, and value that lies within, while also possessing a large or very influential audience. Another example of this dynamic I'm seeing unfold in slow motion is from web APIs that are driving the Excel spreadsheet. I've posted before about using Google Spreadsheets in conjunction with APIs, and I just saw a another great example of using Microsoft Excel from the electronics parts provider Octoparts...

Analytics For Both API Providers and Consumers

28 July 2013
I'm going through all of my bulding blocks and tools for API management, as I'm updating and expanding this area of the API Evangelist network. After doing this work, I'm surprised that are aren't any open source or even independent analytics solutions that serve both the API provider and consumer. Generally analytics for API providers and consumers are provided by one of the numerous API management providers.But what I'm looking for is stand alone analytics solutions that API providers could deploy on their own, or even an API integrator could put to use to track their own API usage across multiple APIs. I learned about using StatsD and Graphite from the InfoChimps team, and I've discussed the potential of using Google Analytics API as a layer of your API deployment or integration...

Warming Up With The 100K View of API Management

28 July 2013
This is my first blog post, following a very nice week, offline in Maine. I have purposely setup the API Evangelist network to be a mesh network of API research project nodes, allowing anyone to to start from ground zero and work their way through the different aspects of the API universe. The dirty little secret, is I set this up to benefit me first, then you, the reader. After I get back to the world from time off, I'm very disoriented and I need a way to start over and work my way back through all of my projects. Each time I pick my research up, I need to work my way through it, refresh my memory, and hopefully constantly realign my view of the universe, not just after vacations, but on a week to week basis...

Primary Surface Area of My Online Identity

28 July 2013
I am always working to define myself, in both the physical world and the virtual one that has become an increasing part of my identity. As part of this work, I'm spending some time trying to understand the primary surface area of online identity. Sure there are other aspects, but this is the face that most of you will see. Name: Kin Lane Title: API Evangelist Company: API Evangelist Location: Hermosa Beach, CA Description: API Evangelist, Hacker, Tech Gypsy, Beer Snob and Father Photo: https://s3.amazonaws.com/kinlane-productions/kin-lane/KinLane-04-2012-Headshot-3-250.jpg  Email: [email protected] Phone: (541) 357-9073 Blog Profile(s): Kin Lane - http://kinlane.com API Evangelist - http://apievangelist...

Providing APIs - Design, Deployment, Management

28 July 2013
Since 2010 I have had a page on this site dedicated to "API Management". In 2013 the API universe expanded, and I've broken my work in this area into three separate, open source API research projects. Design Deployment Management I'm grouping these projects under a single umbrella, I'm now calling "providing APIs". If you are a company or organization looking to provide API driven resources to partners, the public or even use them for internal operations, this section is for you. I will be adding several other API research areas in the near future, including: Monetization Evangelism Security Embeddable For each of the projects you will find building blocks, companies, tools, news and analysis...

The Next Decade is Going to Be A Wild Ride

21 July 2013
I turned 41 in June. As I retool, reboot and readjust during what I guess could be called "vacation", I'm reflecting on the last year and the major shift that has gone on in my world. First off, turning 40 was hard. Usually birthdays come and go without any concern, but 40 was not easy for me. I'll spare you the details, but the first half of 2012 was a very trying period, and by the time my birthday came around in June I was not a happy camper. With this in mind, looking back at the last 12 months, I can see it was about transition, and preparing for the period of my life. While the first part of 2012 was an uphill drive, during the second half things seem to fall into place, allowing me to shift gears, pick up speed, setting a significantly new pace for what I see as the next decade of my life...

A Glimpse At The Future of API Driven Analytics

19 July 2013
I'm rapidly expanding the areas I track on in the world of APIs, trying to understand the myriad ways APIs are influencing interoperability between companies and platforms, being applied alongside voice or used in automobiles, our homes, and beyond. One area I'm currently researching, is on API usage in the very hyped world of data. I'm wading through numerous startups, looking for innovative approaches to data + APIs. One specific area of this research, that I'm hoping to have published soon is around API driven data analytics. To provide a quick glimpse into what I mean when I talk about the future of data analytic APIs, I wanted to showcase two startups that resemble what I see coming down the pipes: ZoomData - Zoomdata is the next generation data visualization system that easily allows companies and people to understand data visually in real time...

Providing Full Data Download vs API

19 July 2013
I've had so many discussions on this topic, I felt like I had written a post on it, but when the topic came up again today, I realized I hadn't. This is a regular conversation I get into with open data folks, regarding whether you should deploy open data as download vs an API. I'll spare you having to read my entire rant, the answer is if you can, both. You should always provide a full data download, and additionally API access when the resources are available. There is no versus argument, there are scenarios where both are valuable and offer benefits over the other. As a developer, I just want quick, complete access to data. I'm always in a hurry to just get to work, and I have the skills to parse, store, transform this data for whatever reason I will need...

Take That Data Dump Access To Your Organizations Database And Build Your API

19 July 2013
I have a long, winding history of database administration in my past. I've been managing databases since my first job working on school district databases in the State of Oregon in 1988. So I've been that database administrator you are asking for data access from, and I've personally managed and interacted with too many of these DBAs to keep track. I was discussing strategies for getting access to your organizations central database today, and realized I don't have enough of these data acquisition stories on API Evangelist. This data access quest will start with a burning need to build a website, mobile app or provide access to a 3rd party partner to some data. You know that this data is in your organizations database, all you need is access to make your project come to life...

The Flickr API Will Be Unavailable

19 July 2013
I received an email from Flickr today about a planned API outage later this month. I'm an afficinado of the interesting ways API providers communicate around maintenance and outages within their ecosystem, and wanted to share: We see that you own an active API key for the Flickr API, and wanted to let you know that Flickr is scheduling a maintenance outage for Thursday, July 25th, from 4 to 10pm PDT. During the outage window, the Flickr API will be unavailable. As such, you may want to adjust your app to gracefully handle the error that will result when it calls our API during the outage. (If your app is not yet public, this will only impact your personal use of the API.) Specifically, a call to the Flickr API will result in the following error: 105: Service currently unavailable (Site Disabled)...

From Github Issue To Story to Resource

17 July 2013
As an evangelist, your responsibility is to get the word out about an API, and provide users with the resources they will need to be successful. While executing on your evangelism strategy, there are numerous ways to generate stories for your blog, but one of my favorite approaches is to cherry pick the best issues on your Github repositories. If you are like me, your using Github repos to manage everything from documentation and code samples to presentations and terms of use. One of the perks of using Github, is you immediately gain the benefits of the Github issue management system. While many of the issues submitted on your Github repos will be mundane and not very story-worthy. Always keep an eye out for ones that are ripe for picking and turning into an actual stories for your blog and social media accounts...

Stories Are Essential To Success of Open Data in Government

16 July 2013
When I first started API Evangelist, I quickly saw that there was more to this whole API game, beyond just the technology. Simple, logical, technological solutions like REST and JSON are essential, but there was more to the success of an API than just the tech behind. After looking at hundreds of the most successful APIs, one pattern for success consistently emerged, storytelling. The most successful API platforms like Amazon, Twitter and Twilio all had one thing in common, stories were told about how their APIs were being used, and the value that was created. While reading the story around the Federal Government redesign of Data.gov I was happy to see a major revelation that came from requirements gathering for the next iteration called Next...

The Next Iteration of Government Data

16 July 2013
Our federal government is working on the next iteration of Data.gov, and just published a first look at what is being called Next.Data.Gov. This next version is meant to build off the momentum of the recent open data policy, which is looking to embed open data practices across our federal government, changing the way it operates. To plan for the next iteration of Data.gov, the General Services Administration (GSA), a handful of Presidential Innovation Fellows, and OSTP staff studied usage patterns from the last version, and discovered that people were hungry for more examples of how government data is used. Equipped with this understanding, they are making sure the next version included a communication stream that will enable each data community to communicate how datasets are being used and making an impact...

Dropbox As Default File Storage API For Apps

15 July 2013
I was working my way through all the Dropbox news that came out of the DBX Conference over the weekend. There was some pretty savvy moves by the cloud storage provider, continuing its evolution towards being the default storage for web and mobile applications. After reading this weekend, I have three key stories still open in tabs: The Datastore API: a new way to store and sync app data Meet the Dropbox Saver The Chooser, now for iOS and Android Dropbox is already the preferred choice for app storage system for many developers, but with the introduction of the datastore API, they will definitely be stepping up the integration of Dropbox into future apps. For the end users, the ability to save files to dropbox and choose files from their mobile devices will only increase their demand for native Dropbox functionality in web and mobile apps--feeding the cycle...

Virtual Containers, Stacks, APIs And Application Management

15 July 2013
I've been trying to organize my thoughts around emerging trends in using virtualized app containers, that are providing a much more modular approach to deploying and managing application backends. This is an evolution of earlier thoughts I've had around virtual API stacks. From the last week, I'm looking at three separate approaches to application and API management using virtualized containers: Docker - The Linux Container EngineDocker is an open-source engine which automates the deployment of applications as highly portable, self-sufficient containers. Docker containers are both hardware-agnostic and platform-agnostic, allowing them to run anywhere, freeing you from having to use a particular language, framework or packaging system--making them great building blocks for deploying and scaling web apps, databases and backend services without depending on a particular stack or provider...

Simple API Example: Company Listing

14 July 2013
I'm always looking for dead simple examples of what an API is to help average folk understand what APIs are, and how they can be applied in their worlds. My current research on backend as a service providers (BaaS) providers a great example. On my research site i provide listing of BaaS providers for my readers: This listing of companies is a pretty common occurence on the web. As a web developer, if I want to show this listing I use HTML, which is markup that provides a visual formatting for this listing: HTML makes content presentable for humans. Now if I want to make this same content available for other web sites and applications, instead of using HTML, I will use another open format called JSON, which is easy for other computers and applications to consume...

Hacker Storytelling: Open and Machine Readable By Default

13 July 2013
The primary reason I'm switching all of my 35+ research projects in the API space to my new Hacker Storytelling format, is to make everything I do open and machine readable by default. Every project I'm working on is a Github project, with the public side of the research always available via an API Evangelist subdomain and pointed at a Github page. I publish a series of static pages, wrapped in an API evangelist template, combined with a blog to help organize my curated news and analysis in a chronological way. Along with all the pages and blog I make all data available as JSON files, which I display across the research project using JavaScript templates. My goal is to make every bit of my research machine readable by default, and ensure the widest possible re-use and distribution...

APIs Will Expose Toxic Material Behind Firewall

12 July 2013
After looking back at 2012, I wanted a January 1, 2013 blog post for my blogs. My first blog post of 2012 was my tour schedule for January, 2012. While it was a pretty busy time for evangelizing and hackathons, I wanted something a little deeper. I’m not sure what, but I will play with the format year to year, until I find what I’m looking for. Every year I rewrite my bio, based upon where I am. I’ve been doing this since 2009. This year I will write inaugural blog posts along with my bio rework, and post to each of my active blogs. We’ll see if it resonates again in 12 months and I do it again in 2014.

Building Blocks

12 July 2013
Building Blocks At API Evangelist I define things in terms of building blocks, meant to establish, easy to understand modules you can pick and choose from as part of any strategy, including API management.   In 2010 I started API Evangelist as a research project to look at how the top 250 popular APIs were doing business. I spent the summer of 2010 looking at these API providers and established a list of building blocks I found each provider using to manage their API operations. I've been maintaining this list for 3 years now, looking at over 9,000 APIs and assessing the building blocks used by the top 2,000 APIs. I've tried to standardize these and establish a potential list that any API provider could consider when planning their own API management strategy...

Balancing Commercial, Non-Commercial, Privacy and Ownership In The World of APIs

11 July 2013
I just spent 30 minutes on the phone with an important group in the European Union called OPENi, which is aiming to be an open-source, web-based, framework for integrating applications with cloud-based services via APIs. Straight from the organization's mouth: OPENi aims at inspiring innovation in the European mobile applications industry, by radically improving the interoperability of cloud-based services and trust in personal cloud storage through the development of a consumer-centric, open source mobile cloud applications platform. I will be providing feedback and guidance as a member of the group's user advisory board. While on the call today, there was a mention of concerns around being seen as the usual, heavy handed EU entity that is too focused on user privacy and ownership, which could prevent the group from being well received, but also ignore the economic opportunities APIs and interoperability afford businesses, developers and end users...

Deploying Your API From PaaS Using Salesforce and Heroku

10 July 2013
The world of API management is expanding, and to support this growth I've broke up my research into three separate buckets: API design, API deployment and API management. Zooming in on API deployment, one of the ares I'm looking to educate the masses about, is quick and dirty API deployment using existing PaaS. Providing ways for companies, and their internal problem owners to rapidly deploy APIs via their existing tools and services. One great example I recently found is from Jeff Douglas (@jeffdonthemic), Platform Architect @CloudSpokes & Sr. Tech. Consultant @Appirio, on using Heroku to deploy an API from your Salesforce organization. Jeff's walkthrough is a little choppy, but it is full of extremely valuable nuggets of information, and he says he's working on a more polished version of it to present...

Another Embeddable Tool That Will Go Down In History: Github Ribbons

10 July 2013
Simple, embeddable tools can be one of the most powerful tool in an API evangelists toolbox. While there was a wide variety of forces that were at play in the social API evolution, contributing to the success of Twitter and Facebook, embeddable buttons, badgers widgets definitely played a leading role. One embeddable implementation that will go down in history alongside the Twitter share button and Facebook like button, is the Github Ribbon. The Github Ribbon is the thin little ribbon you are increasingly seeing on projects, sites and applications (notice them rolling out across the API Evangelist network), letting you know you that a site's source is available on Github, and available for you to download or fork...

APIs Provide Much Needed Oxygen and Sunlight In Our World

09 July 2013
APIs are providing much needed access and visibility into the backend technology that is increasingly driving our desktops, laptops, mobile phones and beginning its migration into our homes, cars and our personal self. APIs aren't just something for developers to play with, they crack open the often black box of IT and technology, making it accessible to everyone. Without APIs, none of this happens. APIs provide visibility into what many businesses would like to keep hidden from us, taking away our privacy, ownership and ability to hold companies, government and developers accountable for what they do with our personal and private data, and ultimately how they extract value for our world. APIs are not perfect, they can be used for bad, and just because a company has an API, doesn't mean everything is on the up and up...

API Evangelist, Healthcare.gov and Hacker Storytelling

02 July 2013
I've been slowly evolving API Evangelist from a single site, into an interconnected network of individual API projects. API Evangelist started as a research project back in July 2010, making its shift to be a network of smaller, inter-connected research projects is fitting. While API Evangelist currently still runs on my home brew CMS, shortly it will finish the migration to completely run on Github, making it merely a "hollywood front" for what is currently 37+ API related, living research projects of mine. I call my evolving approach to projects, Hacker Storytelling. I made up the name, but the approach is borrowed from several other philosophies which starts with concept of data journalism, but then has also evolved from conversations last year in Washington DC from very smart folks including Ben Balter (@BenBalter), Gray Brooks (@gbinal), and the very forward thinking work of the Development Seed team...

The Continuing Netflix API Story

02 July 2013
I have written about the well publicized failure of the Netflix public API before, and how in the API space things are often not what they seem. By my measurement Netflix is a massive API success story, it is just not the classsic open API success story we all really want to be true. In the end the experiment that was the Netflix API didn't pan out, but that is ok. Netflix has found success with APIs internally, something I think will be the case with the majority of companies embarking on an API odyssey. And with Netflix continuing to tell the story of their successes and failures, everyone can learn from their hard work. As I continue to follow the Netflix API story, I'm seeing new narrative emerge, one that is equally about open source software, than about open APIs...

The Resource Stack

01 July 2013
I've been organizing much of my research around APIs into groupings that I call "stacks". The term allows me to loosely bundle common API resources into meaningful "stacks" for my readers to learn about. I'm adding a new project to my list of 30+ stacks, that is intended to bring together the most commonly used API resources, into a single, meaningful stack of resources any web or mobile developer can quickly put to use. So far I have compiled the following APIs in 29 separate groups: Compute Amazon EC2 Google AppEngine Heroku Storage Amazon S3 Dropbox Rackspace Cloud Files Database Amazon RDS Amazon SimpleDB DNS Amazon Route 53 Rackspace Cloud DNS DNS Made Easy DNSimple Email SendGrid Amazon SES Rackspace Email SMS Twilio AT&T SMS MMS Mogreet AT&T SMS Push Notifications Urban Airship AT&T SMS Chat Skype Facebook Chat Google Talk Social Twitter Facebook Google+ LinkedIn Location Google Directions Google Distance Matrix Google Geocoding Google Latitude Geoloqi Photos Flickr Facebook Instagram Documents Box Google Drive Videos YouTube Flickr Facebook Viddler Vimeo Instagram Audio SoundCloud Mixcloud Music Echo Nest Rdio Mixcloud Notes Evernote Bookmarks Delicious Pinboard Blog Wordpress Blogger Tumblr Content ConvertAPI AlchemyAPI Contacts Google Facebook LinkedIn FullContact Businesses / Places Factual Google Places Checkins Foursquare Facebook Calendar Google Payments Dwolla Stripe Braintree Paypal Google Payments Analytics Google Mixpanel Advertising Adsense Adwords Facebook Twitter AdMob MobClix InMobi Real-time Google Real-time Firebase Pusher URL Shortener Bit...

The Expanding API Evangelist Network

01 July 2013
As the API universe expands, I'm trying my best to stay in tune with where its going and try to help people understand the space, whether you are a newbie or API veteran--I want you to find what you are looking for at API Evangelist. To support the fast moving space, as well as my ADHD working style, I've broken up API Evangelist into individual projects. Each project runs using my Hacker Storytelling format, which in short means each projects lives as a Githb repository, allowing me to publish the research, data, short form and long form content to an open source repository that anyone can browse, fork and download. To help you (and me) see the entire API Evangelist network, i wanted to publish an outline of all 37 projects I'm curently working on: API 101 API 101 History of APIs API Management Using Github Provide APIs (Landing Page) Design Deployment Management Evangelism * Monetization * Security * Embeddable * Consume APIs (Landing Page) Discovery Integration Operations * The API Stack Backend as a Service (BaaS) Resource Stack (NEW) Payments * Social * Trends (Landing Page) Aggregation Reciprocity Real Time Single Page Applications Voice Opportunities (Landing Page) 3D Printing Home Buildings Automobiles Quantified Self Priorities (Landing Page) Federal Government State Government * City Government Education Healthcare University Libraries Data Analyze * Archive * Visualize * * Projects that are still in progress of being setup My goal with this new format that I've rolled out over the last six months, is to give me specific project areas to do research within, each week...

Trends in API Aggregation

29 June 2013
One trend in API usage I'm closely watching is the aggregation of APIs by a new wave of startups. As the world adopts more cloud services, the need to aggregate content across multiple APIs is growing. I'm currently tracking on 15 API aggregators, who focus on bringing together data and content in 10 areas: Analytics Cloud Computing Cloud Storage Financial Government Invoicing Messaging Notifications Personal Social The companies I'm watching on may provide other services, such as integration or automation between cloud services. However I focus on the aggregation of content and data, and the creation of new, aggregated APIs across multiple services. Some comapnies also provide entirely new APIs with data, features and functionality that can only be uncovered by aggregating across multiple services...

Webhook as a Service

27 June 2013
While I was at API Days this weekend in San Francisco, I managed to catch a handful of talks Saturday afternoon after I landed at OAK. While listening to each talk, I kept hearing one technical API building block, over and over--webhook. Webhooks are a common way for API providers to make API integration a two ways street for consumer. Developers, or even non-developers, can setup webhooks via common API platforms, and receive notifications about different events and activities that occur. Webhooks are also a common tool for API automation and reciprocity platforms like Zapier and IFTTT. Users can setup webhooks, that respond to just about any action across multiple, API driven platforms. After hearing webhooks mentioned so often, I wondered if anyone out there is offering web hook as a service (WHaaS) (LOL)...

InstructureCon Keynote: [Kin spoke here about the history of APIs and what APIs do.]

26 June 2013
I had several important things happen over the last week. One of them was sharing the stage for the first time with my partner in crime, Audrey Watters (@audreywatters). Although I spent most of the week in Washington DC, Tuesday night I flew out to Park City, UT and shared the stage Wednesday morning for a keynote with Audrey at InstructureCon, put on by the LMS platform Instructure. Audrey and I delivered a talk on education, the LMS and data portability. Audrey opened up and closed out the talk, you can read her perspective on Hack Education, but I wanted to make sure and provide the overview of my section, as described by Audrey as [Kin spoke here about the history of APIs and what APIs do...

API Evangelist Goes to Washington

24 June 2013
The news is finally out. I will be heading to Washington DC to spend a year as a White House Innovation Fellow. APIs, open data and our government has been a passion of mine for my whole career, something that has escalated over the last year with my work on the White House Digital Strategy and Open Data Policy. Now my passion for APIs+Government is being taken to a whole new level, and  I will be heading to Washington DC, to join 41 very talented individuals from the private sector, to tackle some of the biggest challenges in our federal government. I will be enjoying the full backing of the White House, to employ APIs to help stimulate innovation within government. I will be specifically working on the Veterans Affiars (VA) modernization team with two other very talented individuals, Mollie Ruskin (@mollieruskin) and Ben Willman (@benwillman)...

A Great Time At API Days San Francisco

23 June 2013
I went to API Days SF yesterday. Unfortunately, due to an unexpected obligation on the other coast I was unable to make it in time for the Friday kick-off. But after my plane landed at OAK yesterday I headed over to enjoy the last few talks, participate in a panel and network with everyone in attendance. I really like the API Days format. I've done all 3 of the events now including Paris, Madrid and now San Francisco. Each event is an intimate mix of API experts, craftspeople and the API curious. You can easily rub elbows with everyone and learn from everyone there. All speakers are accessible, and the spaces are always small enough that you have some amazing conversations, while enjoying good food and drink...

APIs As The Default for Companies by 2015

22 June 2013
APIs are quickly moving into the mainstream. In 2012, companies, organizations and government agencies all took notice of the need for deploying and consuming APIs. In 2013 there is still a lot of evangelism to be done, to make people aware of what an APIs is, and why their company should have one, but I think we are approaching the phase where APIs will be the default for any company. If you frequent the tech conferences like I do, you've heard folks like John Musser say that in 1995 we were asking, "Do we need a website?", and by 2000 website was becoming the default. Fastforward to 2010, and we were asking, "Do we need an API?", and I believe by 2015 APIs will be default for companies, just like websites in 2000...

Connect With Linguistics API Apicultur While They Are In San Francisco

19 June 2013
I went to Spain at the beginning of the month to speak at API Days. While there I had the pleasure of connecting with the team from Apicultur. If you are not familiar with Apicultur, they are a platform for linguistic APIs, providing resources ranging from word frequency, synonyms and sentiment analysis to word games. Apicultur is relevant because language APIs WILL be central to evolution of not just mobile, but also the Internet of Things. Also, Apicultur isn't just trying to build the best linguistics API in the world, they are working to assemble a marketplace of the worlds linguistic API resources. The value of the API resources Apicultur is developing attracted me to them, but then I learned more about their overall business model, and was really hooked...

My First Keynote With The Infamous Audrey Watters

17 June 2013
I'm doing a keynote this weekend with the infamous, edtech rabble-rouser Audrey Watters (@audreywatters) at InstructureCon in Park City Utah, this Wednesday June 19th. Audrey and I will be talking about the importance of data portability when it comes to education technology. Instructure, the creators of Canvas, a next generation learning management system (LMS), has been so kind to bring us both out. While Audrey and I spend a lot of time speaking at conferences, this is our first event where we will be both sharing the stage. If you are unaware, Audrey and her Hack Education blog isn't just a partner in crime with API Evangelist when it comes to data portability, she has also played the role of my girlfriend for almost four years...

Are You Going To Be At API Days in San Francisco? I Am!

17 June 2013
Coming on the heels of API Days Mediterranea in Madrid Spain, is the next event in the series, API Days San Francisco. We kicked off the API Days event series in Paris, at the end of last year, and now after the momentum in Spain, API Days has picked up enough speed to hop the ocean and land in the heart of technology. The lineup is pretty rock'n, with talks from Runscope, SendGrid, Layer 7 Technologies, Netflix, Intel, Apigee, DotCloud, Stripe, Mashape, Mashery, 3Scale, Zapier, APISpark, Singly, Salesforce, SOA Software, Apiary.io, Fitbit, SAP, Mulesoft, Apiphay, Webshell, faberNovel, Reverb and AngelHack. The theme for API Days San Francisco is the API Economy, so it makes sense there are even VC's talking from True Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners and even Alex William from Techcrunch will be there...

Updated API History White Paper

17 June 2013
Understanding our history is critical to understanding where we are going.  I have been studying the history of web APIs for the last three years. Even though I have been through the API strategies of pioneers like Salesforce and Amazon several times, each time I go back through, I learn more.   In May I went back through the history of APIs and added several stories that I feel are key to introducing people to the API space, as well as helping developers and people who already work with APIs, about why this has all worked. I break the history of APIs into 5 phases: Commerce Social Business & Marketing Cloud Computing Mobile We are standing solidly within the mobile phase of APIs, looking forward at the next phase which is about the Internet of Things...

API Providers Guide - API Design

13 June 2013
Download as PDF In the early days, APIs were just about deployment and consumption--you were doing one or the other.  Then from 2006 to 2012 API management was introduced from providers like Mashery, then 3Scale and most recently Apiphany. In 2013 the API universe is expanding at a ever increasing pace, and the concept of API design is expanding, with new approaches, tools and even companies stepping up to provide services. I'm deciding to frame my API design research as everything that goes into planning and designing your API, as well as the resulting definition of your API, that will eventually become the  API you will use in production, which also might drive your documentation and generate the code samples your developers will use to integrate their apps...

History of APIs - Twilio

13 June 2013
In 2007, a new API-as-a-product platform launched, called Twilio, which introduced a voice API allowing developers to make and receive phone calls via any cloud application. Over the last 3 years Twilio has additionally released a text messaging and SMS short code API, making itself a critical telephony resource in many developers toolbox. Twilio is held up as a model platform to follow when evangelizing to developers. Twilio has helped define which technical and business building blocks are essential for a healthy API driven platform, set the bar for on the ground evangelism at events and hackathons, and worked hard to showcase, support and invest it its developer ecosystem. Photo Credit Alongside Foursquare and Instagram, Twilio has come to define mobile application development, helping push APIs into the mainstream...

Final

13 June 2013
      www.apievangelist.com @apievangelist [email protected]

From Deployment to Management

13 June 2013
From Deployment to Management I have broken out API design and deployment into individual areas, separate from API management. However they are all intertwined and overlap is inevitable, but it is important to understand the overview of API deployment, from framework to gateway and where it fits in with API design and management. API deployment was born out of SOA and the enterprise, and the API gateways have the longest history in API deployment. But over the last 10 years a wealth of frameworks and scrappier approaches to deploy APIs build on HTTP has evolved considerably.   After 10 years of evolving API frameworks, and RESTful approaches a new breed of API providers have emerged to provide the next generation of API deployments that will drive mobile apps and the Internet of Things...

Overview of The API Design Space

12 June 2013
Overview of The API Design Space In the early days of APIs, everything was just about deploying and consuming—you were doing one or the other.  Then by 2006 we saw the stabilization of common API management practices emerge from providers like Mashery, and then 3Scale. Now in 2014 we are stabilizing again, and the API universe is expanding around the area of API design, with new approaches, tools and entire companies emerging to provide services that are dedicated to helping companies design the best APIs they can. I define the world of API design as everything that goes into planning and designing your API, as well as the definition of your API that will eventually be deployed as your production endpoints, drive your documentation, generate the code samples your developers will use to integrate, test, monitor, and allow your API to be found--through this lens, API design is fast becoming the driver for all areas of the API lifecycle...

History of APIs - Mashery

10 June 2013
In November 2006, API the first API service provider Mashery came out of "stealth mode" to offer documentation support, community management and access control for companies wishing to offer public or private APIs--from blog post in TechCrunch titled API Management Service is Open for Business. At this point in time, in 2006, we were moving from the social period of APIs into the cloud computing phase with the introduction of Amazon Web Services. It was clear that the world of web APIs was getting real, and there was opportunity for companies to offer API management as a service. Photo Credit While there were tools for deploying APIs, there was no standard approach to managing your API deployment...

A Book API Platform

10 June 2013
In the last two years I've seen the emergence of  cloud platforms that focus on helping data administrators, owners and stewards, generate APIs from their data sources. The new cloud services like EmergentOne will mount a MySQL database, spider the tables, and generate a web API for you, while providing you the basic tools you will need to manage access and consumption of that API. In the same spirit of helping data owners generate APIs, I'd like to see the same types of tools, but designed for books and their authors or publishers. When I create a book and generate the ePub version, I would like to be able to upload it to a cloud platform, where the service would spider the ePub file and help generate a simple, but meaningful API for the book allowing developers to search, annotate and interact with the books content via web, mobile or tablet applications...

Box Opens Up Revenue Sharing For API Developers

10 June 2013
Enterprise content sharing platform box launched a new developer revenue sharing program for its API developer ecosystem, called $rev. Box $rev is pretty straightforward. You just integrate the Box API into your app, enroll it into the Box $rev program, and box will monitor, track and report your activity--sending you checks for up to 15% of the per seat price as a commission, each quarter. As a PaaS provider, the core value driven by the box API is not about making money, it is based upon adding new users, and getting them to depend on box for their everyday needs. Offering developers 15% of the revenue generated via the core box platforms makes a lot of sense. This approach to revenue share won't work for all API providers, but is a great way to incentivize developers when you have a core platform you need to drive new users to...

API Evangelist Content Network

09 June 2013
      www.apievangelist.com [email protected]

History of APIs - del.icio.us

09 June 2013
del.icio.us is a social bookmarking service for storing, sharing and discovering web bookmarks to web pages, that was founded by Jousha Schachter in 2003. Del.icio.us implemented a very simple tagging system which allowed users to easily tag their web bookmarks in a meaningful way, but also established a kind of folksonomy across all users of the platform. Which proved to be a pretty powerful way for cataloging and sharing web links. Photo Credit The innovative tagging methodology used by del.icio.us allowed you to pull a list of your tags, or public web bookmarks by using the URL http://del.icio.us/tag/[tag name]/. So if I was searching for bookmarks on airplanes, I could http://del...

API Management Using Github

08 June 2013
There are plenty of tools and services you can use to manage your API and its developer community. But there is no platform that provides as much benefit and versatility as Github. Github is a social coding platform that developers have grown to love and respect. With a high level of adoption by developers, and the versatility of the features available on Github, API providers have developed many innovative ways to use the platform to manage an API. I have documented eleven approaches to using Github for API management to date: Design and Code Documentation Software development kits (SDK) Code Samples (Gists) Developer Authentication Developer Profiling Presentations and Guides Issue Management Roadmaps Hackathons Terms of Service, Privacy, and Branding This list does not represent all the uses of Github for an API, but the approaches I've seen used by open API providers...

In The End API Providers Will Only Sell Bandwidth

06 June 2013
I got an email from IFTTT last night, simply stating:  As of today, IFTTT has stopped supporting the Posterous Channel. The Channel has been removed, along with any Recipes that made use of Posterous Triggers or Actions.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at [email protected] Thanks for your continued support.  —The IFTTT Team  This announcement, follows a similar one a couple weeks ago, where IFTT also ceased support for channels that pull your data from Twitter.   Since Posterous is owned by Twitter, it's easy to see the parallels in the decision by IFTTT.  

The Build-Up To #APIStrat in October

05 June 2013
After just a couple months of REST and relaxation, the build up to API Strategy & Practice SF is kicking into gear. We officially launched the new site for San Francisco last week, featuring the following speaker: Daniel Jacobson of Netflix David Weekly of Facebook Drew Dillon of Yammer Jeff Atwood of Stack Exchange and Discourse.org Pamela Fox of Coursera Peter Rexer of Box With the following sponsors stepping up to make sure the API community comes together and shares stories and experiences from the trenches: 3scale 540.co AnyPresence API Evangelist Apiary.io apiphany APISpark App Developer Alliance Appery.io Mulesoft Parasoft Pearson Reverb! SmartBear Webshell Zencoder APIStrat is shaping up to be twice the event we had in New York City, and it is still June--we still have four months to go! We are working hard to put together the best line up of keynotes, sessions, panels and workshops possible...

APIdays Mediterranea Is A Wrap

04 June 2013
I just got back from Madrid, Spain, where I spoke at APIdays Mediterranea. I really enjoy the API Days format, because the events are small, intimate API learning and networking opportunities. While at API Days I got to hang out with many of the usual suspects Andy Thurai of Intel, Guillaume Balas of 3Scale, Ronnie Mitra of Layer7, Bruno Pedro of CloudWork, Swift of SendGrid and API Days organizer Mehdi Medjaoui of WebShell. I also had the opportunity to re-enforce some existing relationships in person, with Isabelle Mauny of WSO2, Jeremiah Lee a UX researcher from SF and Eduardo Basterrechea and Elena Alvarez of Apicultur. API Days Mediterranea was a great introduction to the API innovation occurring in Spain, and a great opportunity to have conversations with companies and developers from the region, and hear the challenges they face in getting the word out about APIs in their country...

Helping EFF Urge The Courts to Block Copyright Claims in Oracle v. Google API Fight

02 June 2013
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recently filed a a brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, urging the court to block copyright claims in the Oracle v. Google legal battle. The EFF approached me several months ago to provide feedback for the brief. I sent over my research and published some of my thoughts to Help EFF Make Case For No Copryight on APIs and why API Copyright Would Restrict API Interoperability and also lent my support as one of the Signatories to the Computer Scientists’ Amicus Brief. Here is a summarized version of the arguement: As computer scientists, amici have relied on the open nature of APIs and the programs built on them to create and operate new software...

Have You Checked Out Webshell Lately?

29 May 2013
Have you checked out what the Webshell.io team is up to lately?  I know I haven't been in there for a couple months, and it looks like they've been heads down making some interesting improvements. New Cloud IDE Rather than re-invent the wheel, Webshell has integrated Cloud9 web-based IDE, into the API scripting platform: New Documentation They overhauled their platform documentation on the continuous mission to make them more valuable by developers: New API Explorer They've changed the API explorer making playing with APIs a better experience. New Codecademy Lesson They have created "Webshell 101" course, providing an easy way to understand how Webshell works: That is four pretty significant building blocks from the Webshell platform...

API Aggregation For Federal Government with FedAPI

29 May 2013
I've been tracking on what I call API aggregation for some time now. I started seeing the API aggregation trends in 2010, then I saw this pick up in 2011 with the emergence of providers like Singly and Adigami. While many new companies provide you with interoperability and automation between multiple APIs, I consider aggregators to be about bringing together multiple APIs into a single aggregated end-point for developers to use, then also providing potentially new APIs that are only possible, because of the aggregation. Last year, after I started spending more time in Washington DC, I met a talented group of folks who were playing around with the idea of an aggregate API for federal government...

The API Stack for May 20th, 2013

28 May 2013
Expansion is in the air. Quarterly reports are in, we are moving into summer and companies like Twilio, Evernote, Salesforce and Foursquare are expanding and growing at healthy, steady paces. Mobile is king. I'm having trouble keeping up with the new mobile players in different niche areas, as well as all the big players paying strong attention to the mobile space including Yahoo, SAP, Intel and beyond. BaaS will continue to be a dominate theme throughout 2013. The Internet of Things is prominent with tech blogosophere coverage, webinars and new companies rolling out IOT APIs and technology.  As we see the rhetoric step up on autombiles, homes, buildings and other fast growing IOT areas we'll continue to see new companies and investment, the trick will be to sort through it all and make sense...

New Features From BaaS Provider AnyPresence

28 May 2013
I'm adding some new BaaS features I found in a recent press release from BaaS provider AnyPresence titled, "AnyPresence Launches 4th-Generation Mobile Backend-as-a-Service Platform with Unparalleled Enterprise Capabilities", to my list of BaaS features.  As I'm processing them I notice they are some pretty significant features: Application Cloning - For organizations looking to build multiple apps that have common core functionality with only minor variations, this powerful feature allows them to create a copy of an existing app along with all data source, object, and user interface definitions, saving significant development effort. Automated App UI Testing - Developers who use AnyPresence to generate a starter mobile app user interface (UI), now get the added benefit of functional test scripts for native iOS, native Android, and jQuery Mobile web apps...

Signals I Use To Monitor Companies In The API Space

28 May 2013
Over the last year I've worked hard to standardize and automate as much of my monitoring of the API space as I can. The amount of information I was monitoring daily was getting overwhelming--I needed to scale what I do, so I created what I call my API Stack Ranking. The API Stack Ranking is not meant to be a top 25 list, it is meant to be a ranking that I can sort companies by each week, giving me a meaningful stack of companies, who are doing interesting things in the API space. Each week I publish my API Stack, but you can also see this influence on any of my research areas.  If you go to API management or the Backend as a Service (BaaS) research projects, the providers are sorted by their ranking for the week...

API Management Using APiphany

27 May 2013
I'm working my way through all the API management providers, making sure I'm up to speed on what service each provider is offering these days. As part of this work I've been playing with the Apiphany platform, using a demo site the Apiphany team was so kind to setup for me. Using Apiphany I can manage my APIs, and launch a portal which allows me to hang all my APIs, then manage all aspects of their operations. Apiphany focuses on the three main components of API deployment & consumption: APIs - API resources and their operations you've deployed and would like to hang and manage via your Apiphany portal Products - Virtual products you create, which allow access to various combinations of API resources and operations Apps - Applications that are registered with the platform, and consuming APIs via various product subscriptions The way Apiphany sets up the systems is very intuitive, giving you quick, administrative control over the systems you will need to execute on either a very simple, or even a very complex API strategy...

Github Can Be More Than Code

26 May 2013
I have been using Github to manage my code for a couple years now, but in the last year I'm using Github more often for a variety of projects that don't always have code involved--examples ranging from hosting slide decks for my talks to repositories for my API research projects. In the last couple months I've noticed I'm not the only one using Github to organize projects, check out of a few of these examples: White House Open Data Project - Using Github to publish and solicit participation around the open data policy for all federal agencies Hackathon Guide - How to throw a hackathon guide, complete with an event website template that runs as Github page Innovators Patent Agreement - A new way to do patent assignment that keeps control in the hands of engineers and designers, put forth by Twitter...

Quick Demonstration Showing The Benefits of The White House Digital Strategy

25 May 2013
I wanted to share a quick visualization of the beneifts of Barack Obama's Presidential directive that every Federal Government agency should have an API, following Executive Order 13571, and part of the Whitehouse CIO's strategy, entitled "Digital Government: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People" and the potential of the recent Open Data Executive Order and accompanying Open Data Policy. Each federal agency should have three things available online at their domain: agency.gov/digitalstrategy/ agency.gov/data agency.gov/developers/ Those are three pretty important signals in the API space.  This represents each agencies technology roadmap, data and developer resources...

IRS Needs To Use White House Open Data Policy For Guidance

25 May 2013
I'm reading IRS: Turn Over a New Leaf, Open Up Data, from the Open Knowledge Foundation blog. I'll let you read it in its entirety, but these are the points that are sticking with me: One of Mr. Werfel’s first actions on the job should be the immediate implementation of the groundbreaking Presidential Executive Order and Open Data policy, released last week, that requires data captured and generated by the government be made available in open, machine-readable formats. Doing so will make the IRS a beacon to other agencies in how to use open data to screen any wrongdoing and strengthen law enforcement. By sharing readily available IRS data on tax-exempt organizations, encouraging Congress to pass a budget proposal that mandates release of all tax-exempt returns in a machine-readable format, and increasing the transparency of its own processes, the agency can begin to turn the page on this scandal and help rebuild trust and partnership between government and its citizens...

Salesforce Adds Sandbox Templates

24 May 2013
Salesforce is doing some pretty interesting stuff with the sandbox environment for DeveloperForce. Using the DeveloperForce sandbox you can create copies of your data, allowing you to develop, test or train against, not just a sandbox, but a relevant and meaningful copy of your company's data. The Force.com sandbox has always allowed you to create a separate copy of your data, but now they let you create sandbox templates, allowing you to create specific data sets that you can reuse in different ways. Seeing this feature coming out of Salesforce has prompted me to take a closer look at their approach to the DeveloperForce sandbox environment. I'm sure there are other features and approaches to sandboxing we can learn from the API pioneer...

An Open Source Code Catalog for your API

24 May 2013
I'm working through the wave of API innovation coming out of our Federal Government recently. During normal days at API Evangelist, I'm pulling private sector API usage examples and crafting them into stories to help the Federal Government execute on their API own strategies. Today, I'd like to showcase something the Federal Government is doing, in hopes that more companies in the private API sector will emulate as part of their API strategies. The GSA's Digital Services Innovation Center has launched the Mobile Code Catalog, an open source catalog of web and native applications that government agencies can use to jump-start their projects. Think application showcase, but all the applications are open source and allow for your API developers to download, fork and re-use code...

DataSift's Open Source World

24 May 2013
I'm increasingly finding a company's approach to using Github, a vital signal of the health of a company, their team, and the products and services they are delivering. An example of this is with social data platform, DataSift's new open source area. DataSift has thrown up a Github page which re-enforces the company's commitment to consuming and producing open source software, as well as a list of important, Github driven signals: Latest Updates - The latest repository updates acorss all of DataSift's repositories API Client Libraries - Java, Python, Ruby, PHP and other client libraries for the DataSift API Public Github Repos - Other tools and utilities that are avaiable via DataSift Github repositories Job Vacancies - A listing of current job openings at DataSift I think DataSift approach is a very meaningful demonstration in the potential of being "open"...

Multi-Tenancy with WSO2 API Manager

24 May 2013
I just had a demo of some of the new features in the WSO2 API Manager. Since WSO2 is one of my partners, I have a regular call with them to discuss the space and I often get demos of their new products and features. Today's topic was multi-tenacy in their API Management platform, meaning you can easily deploy multiple API portals using the platform. Not every company will need more than one API portal, but for some companies that are further along, it provides a pretty sophisticated way to engage with API consumers. When it comes to slicing and dicing your APIs, we usually segment our API resources by service level, apps and users. WSO2 introduces a fourth layer--by the domain. So now you can group API resources under domains, crafting different "API storefronts" for your consumers...

Dropbox As Your Apps Default File System

24 May 2013
Cloud storage of documents is becoming commonplace. Individuals, companies, government and non-government organizations have increasingly seen the potential of storing files in the cloud using services like Amazon S3, Dropbox and Box. As a web or mobile application developer, it is becoming more common to provide integration, syncing or even direct usage of popular cloud storage services like Dropbox as the application's storage system. This last week I started playing with Dave Winer's (@davewiner) simple idea outliner, notepad, todo list and project organizer--Fargo. What caught my attention is Dave's use of Dropbox as the central storage for the app. It reminds me of another application I use called Prose...

Ember, Angular, Backbone, Single Page Applications and APIs

23 May 2013
I was looking through Steve Willmott's slide deck from his talk at GlueCon this week, called The API- & App-ification of the Web. He talks about the evolution towards Single Page Web Applications (SPA). Which is the migration from static web pages and database driven web apps to dynamically driven HTML, CSS and JavaScript apps designed using popular JavaScript frameworks and libraries like: Ember.js - Ember.js is an open-source client-side JavaScript web application framework based on the model-view-controller (MVC) software architectural pattern. It allows developers to create scalable single-page applications[1] by incorporating common idioms and best practices into a framework that provides a rich object model, declarative two-way data binding, computed properties, automatically-updating templates powered by Handlebars...

APIs in DFW

15 May 2013
I just got back from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I visited Dallas last night to help kick off the first gathering of the DFW API Professionals Meetup. We got together at Microsoft around 6PM and I talked from 6:30 until 8:00, evolving on my From Web, to ProgrammableWeb to ProgrammableWorld talk. The meetup was about 45 people ranging from developers to investors. I showed up with a lot of content, but I wanted to make sure and cover the full API spectrum, while also introducing some new content about specifically about API consumption. During the event I had some time to get to know the theRightAPI, Proxomo, Layer 7 Technologies and Pariveda Solutions folks--while connecting with the rest of the meet up group members...

Adding API Broker Under Monitoring for API Aggregators

13 May 2013
As I'm monitoring the API space I'm trying to create meaningful grouping for companies to belong when tracking API trends. My groupings are sometimes in alignment with what we hear in the tech blogosophere, but other times I try new definitions to help expand my monitoring definition and see if I can identify emerging patterns like I'm seeing with BaaS. Each week I do a little more exploration in concept of API aggregation, and this week after studying payment API aggregator Spreedly, I'm considering adding a new, overlapping area with aggregation, called API brokers. Let's see if I can make this work. API aggregators like Singly are providing personal data access to popular SaaS platforms by aggregating APIs...

Potential for API Aggregators to Provide Valuable Industry Data

13 May 2013
I've been tracking on a trend in the API space that I call API aggregation. Companies like Singly and Adigami are aggregating APIs into more meaningful API stacks, than any single API provider can deliver on their own. In my regular monitoring, I'm always on the hunt for examples of the benefits of API Aggregation, and last week I saw some pretty interesting payment gateway data being provided by payment API aggregator Spreedly--which definitely reflects the positive effects I'm looking to shine light on in the space.   Spreedly is a cloud based credit card vault that allows you to work with one or multiple payment gateways over time or simultaneously, and has published some pretty interesting analysis of failed transaction rates across multiple payment gateways...

My Talk Tomorrow Night at the Dallas-Forth Worth API Professionals Meetup

13 May 2013
After looking through the list of folks who have RSVP'd for the DFW API Professionals Meetup in Dallas tomorrow night, it looks like an interesting mix of tech and business folk. The tech group is definitely the larger, with a mix of mobile, web and enterprise. The business folks look like a mix of VC, project manager, marketing and startups. I'm heading out to Dallas in the morning, and I am spending my afternoon preparing my talk. When it comes to meetups, I like to wait until the last moment, see who has RSVP'd and shift my talk to being more tech, more business or more API 101 depending on the audience. I like the mix of people I'm seeing RSVP'd for tomorrow night. I'm pulling together a talk from some of my regular material, but updating for what is going on right now...

The Dark Matter That Make APIs Work

13 May 2013
I encounter many enterprise folks who dismiss APIs as nothing more that just one of the technical building blocks of SOA. Folks who, no matter how much I explain, will never see APIs beyond a technical specification and implementation. API Evangelist solely exists to shed light on not just the technology of APIs, but the equally important business and politics of the APIs. It is the business and political building blocks that help the concept of API grow beyond just its technical roots. An API won't find success just because you made a resource available via a URL. An API is successful because it is logically priced, possibly has revenue sharing, code samples to jumpstart integration and a support and resource network that a developer can tap into...

When API Success Signals Begin Working Against You

10 May 2013
Curently I'm immersed in discovering, vetting and tracking on signals that show me which companies are trending in the API space. I'm looking for signals that will tell me which companies are making movements on a week to week basis, and when the blogosphere and developer communities are buzzing about these companies and technologies. Three very important signals I use are blogs, twitter and Github. These tools provide me with great signals I can use to tune into what a company is doing, when they push code, write a story or tweet about it. They also provide me with signals of when developers are engaging with API owners, because they follow on Twitter and download, fork, favorite and follow Github repositories...

Get To Know Which Languages Your API Developers Are Using

08 May 2013
Accounting API platform Xero has been taking a deeper look into the languages that their developers are using when integrating with the Xero API. Currently there are 1,600 active applications communicating with the Xero API, from a mix of Xero add-on partners to custom integrations engineered by 3rd party developers.  But which programming languages were they using? To create a snapshot of what tools developers are using, Xero needed to find the best source to obtain this data. Xero doesn't ask developers which platform they use upon registration, and since Xero doesn't require any sort of user agent or other identifying signature, it was difficult to know where to best acquire the data they needed...

Overview Of Backend as a Service (BaaS) White Paper

08 May 2013
I've been working on expanding the amount of research and writing I can do via API Evangelist lately. In the last couple weeks I rolled out new projects in three areas: API Toolkits, API Trends, API Priorities. This new approach is helping me focus on the areas I think are most important or exciting to the API space and generate as much, high quality news, analysis and white papers for the API space as I can. The first of my white papers, using my new approach is finished. The new paper is called Overview Of The Backend as a Service (BaaS) Space, and is the aggregation of all my research into the BaaS space. Here is a breakdown of the white paper: What is BaaS? How Does BaaS Differ From IaaS and PaaS? What Are The Benefits of BaaS? What Can You Build With BaaS? Who Are The Top BaaS Providers? What Are The Common Building Blocks of BaaS? What Are the Common Approaches to BaaS Pricing? What Are The Other Approaches to BaaS Pricing? Who Are The Other BaaS Providers? Watch Out As 1000lb Gorillas Set Their Sights on BaaS Space! What Makes BaaS Relevant to APIs? The Future Is About Virtualized Mobile Operating Systems Investment in BaaS What Are The Opportunities in BaaS? Summing Up BaaS Appendix A: Full List of BaaS Features Appendix B: Curated News Sources Much of the research, news, analysis and data that went into this white paper is available at baas...

Twitters Developer Area is More Embeddable Than API

08 May 2013
Does anyone else notice the evolution of the Twitter developer area? The site has taken a page from the LinkedIn playbook and become more about embeddable buttons, badges and widgets than about APIs.   Granted, you can click on documentation and get at the REST API v 1.1.  I'm not saying this is a good or bad thing.  I'm a big supporter of embeddable strategies for API providers. I think that evolution is very telling of Twitter's API strategy and what type of "developer" they want to support with the API. Whether or not you agree with Twitter's overall API strategy, there is a lot to learn from their approach to API driven embeddable tools.  I will produce more pieces aobut their approach to cards, timelines, buttons and other embeddable tools...

Make Sure And Have Multiple KPIs For Your APIs

07 May 2013
In the API space, we have to be constantly measuring and looking for signals that will help us understand where we should be focusing our resources, as part of an overall strategy. One of the ways we measure value within the world of APIs (and business) is using KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators. Using KPIs we strive to measure the Return on our Investment (ROI), as we gamble with the technology, business and politics of APIs. One approach to quantifying the value, that has emerged from API providers, API service providers and the tech blogosphere is using the "API call". It is simple. You launch an API, so you quantify it by the number of times someone calls it. Kind of like a page view, right? Out of this eyeball derived reality(which is silly since APIs aren't for humans), the API space has become obsessed with the number of API calls, resulting in what is known as the API billionaires club...

API Enabled Toys For Our Children

07 May 2013
When it comes to the Internet of Things, APIs have a bright future. I tend to focus on the greater good when showcasing APIs, but occasionally I get tripped up by the market potential of APIs. I came across the Baby Toys Get an App Extension post in the New York Times this week, and I can't think of a more lucrative market for API interaction via a smart phone, than a baby or toddler's toys. First, can you image every mom or dad in America with access to their kids toys via their iPhone. Talk about an emotional connection. You have a real-time chord that is attached to a parents heart string. So if you are at work, missing your child that is at home, in day care, or even when you are at home with them, you have the opportunity to interact with your child via their crib, playstation or other toy? I'm not even going to start profiling the toys and the opportunity here...

The Future Is About Virtualized Operating Systems

05 May 2013
BaaS stacks have the potential to be the operating of the next generation of computing. BaaS has a lot of the characteristics of what we have historically defined as an OS, but tailored for apps that run on devices and in the clouds vs the desktop. Windows OS - Think of what the Windows operating system did for computing. It brought together a meaningful stack of resources into a single stack that could be installed on the new world of personal computers (PC).  Windows provided application developers with a single platform they could build apps, targeting PC users.  Windows provided a basic set of API resources developers could use, but ultimately it was open for the ecosystem to innovate in any business sector they desired...

Investment in BaaS

05 May 2013
As BaaS evolves, we are seeing the huge investment from numerous start-ups, as well as grabbing the attention of a handful of larger tech companies, but we are also seeing the first signs of major investment in the space.   Facebook Acquisition of Parse - Facebook recently acquired on of the top BaaS providers in the space, Parse.  While there has been rumors swirling around the tech space for some time, regarding Facebook's desires to manufacture their own mobile device and possibly their own mobile operating system to rival iOS and Android, the Parse acquisition seems a little closer to reality. Facebook's investment in the BaaS space acknowledges that mobile dominance won't always be about device dominance, and the potential of well tuned, meaningful, virtualized stacks of resources for mobile developers...

Summing It All Up

05 May 2013
BaaS is an evolution.  Its not a revolution, gamer changer or ground breaking new technology.  It is a logical response to the demand for mobile applications and how to logically bring together individual API driven resources into a loosely couple stack, that will allow mobile developers to build apps more efficiently. If we do this right, we can meet the demand of our growing need for apps on our mobile and tablet devices as well as the backend compute resources needed for the other areas of the growing, Internet connected world.  This white paper ws authored by Kin Lane, of API Evangelist.  Other stories, as well as short form or long form analysis on this subject, and supporting open data can be found at http://baas...

What Are The Other Approaches to BaaS Pricing?

04 May 2013
API calls and passing on cloud storage costs are the most common ways to approach BaaS pricing.  But beyond these two areas, there are numerous other ways BaaS providers are pricing BaaS services for developers. With mobile app users being the center of the world in mobile app development, it makes a per user charge charge for BaaS services seem logical. A per user fee, potentially couples a BaaS provider monetization strategy with their developers.  In this approach a provider may assume their developers will be monetization each end-user of their platform, thus can afford to pay more as they add users. Other BaaS providers state that charging developers based upon API calls and number of active uses results in a kind of success tax...

What Are The Opportunities in BaaS?

04 May 2013
API Evangelist doesn't focus on market or investment opportunities. I keep an eye out for product and innovation opportunities, which are a much different beast. These represent places where there are gaps in the delivery of API driven resources that developers will need to deliver the generation of not just apps, but compute. There are numerous opportunities for innovation within the umbrella that is being defined as BaaS in the areas that are obvious and fast growing in market spaces. Mobile - We are 2-3 years into the solid growth of the mobile smartphone market.  This is nothing new.  But with the adoption rate, the hype and the potential within emerging markets, we can ignore the opportunity within the mobile sphere...

Watch Out As 1000lb Gorillas Set Their Sights on BaaS Space!

04 May 2013
The mobile app development space has grown into such an opportunity, it has begun to attract the attention of some of the heaviest hitters in the API space, Amazon Web Services, SalesForce and RackSpace. These tech giants are evolving their approach to delivering the cloud resources so that it better meets the demands of mobile developers,  This movement signals the beginning of consolidation in the BaaS space, and the Commoditization of many of the common BaaS building blocks. While it is a positive for the space that analysts are identifying as a $7.7 billion opportunity by 2017, and that top players like AWS, RackSpace and SalesForce are noticing, it could point to the beginning of the end for many of the start-up BaaS providers...

Who Are The Other BaaS Providers?

04 May 2013
While there are clearly leaders in the BaaS movement, there are 37 other companies working to make their mark on the space and serve the mobile app developer community. Each of these providers have their own approach to delivering their BaaS stack, but many are emulating the successful patterns of the BaaS pioneers. Some BaaS providers are looking to enable mobile developers to build cross-platform apps on any device in any business sector.  While other are looking to serve a niche like gaming or focus exclusively on strengthening the marketing efforts of companies via this fast growing world of consumer devices.  

What Are The Common Building Blocks of BaaS?

04 May 2013
After reviewing the top BaaS providers like Appcelerator, Appery.io Kinvey, Parse and StackMob, a pattern of building blocks begin to emerge. Building blocks that BaaS providers are using to assemble their platforms into meaningful stacks that developers can put to use.  While each BaaS provider has their own approach, a handful of common building blocks emerge, allowing a coherent definition of what is a BaaS provider to emerge. Using this list of common building blocks I looked to find other companies that offer similar backend services, resulting in the discovery of 45 total BaaS providers. After reviewing each BaaS provider, each feature of their offering was entered into a database--uncovering a common blueprint, of which building blocks mobile developers are seeking...

What Makes BaaS Relevant to APIs?

04 May 2013
Unless you are a BaaS provider or a mobile application developer, the linkage between BaaS and APIs may not be immediately clear. But once you study the space, you quickly notice that APIs are the heart of BaaS, providing platforms with the flexibility and resources they need to meet mobile developers needs. BaaS and APIs are working together in several ways: Native BaaS APIs - Each BaaS provider offers up a default set of REST APIs for manipulating core data and object stores, providing programmatical access to almost every part of the BaaS platform Custom APIs - Most BaaS providers allow for the design, deployment and configuration of custom REST APIs from data an objects defined via the system...

Who Are The Top BaaS Providers?

04 May 2013
The definition of what is a BaaS provider has not just an evolving meaning, but also means different things to different people. API Evangelist is looking to help define the space, and formulate a way for discovering new providers, while defining the different types of existing providers, potentially establishing a harder definition for BaaS. When it comes to BaaS there are a handful of clear leaders who are dominating the space.  These leading BaaS providers are delivering the features that developers are demanding, while also working define the best of breed services that are leading the space in new directions.   After reviewing the space, monitoring the blogging and tweet volume of each provider, their activity on Github as well as references to them in top blogs like TechCrunch and GigaOM, and discussion about them on Reddit and Hacker News, it is easy to identify the leaders...

What Are the Common Approaches to BaaS Pricing?

04 May 2013
The approaches to BaaS pricing are still evolving.  Most of the providers have gone with an API call or storage cost approach to pricing, but there still is much debate about just which pricing model is most beneficial to developers and will ensure BaaS providers are profitable. The struggle in BaaS pricing reflects a struggle between BaaS platform providers covering their costs, while generating a profit for investor,s and the demands of developers who are often needing to start with a freemium tier, but may have radically different needs once their applications are in production, serving potentially hundreds or thousands of users. Today, you see most BaaS providers pricing reflect the platform in which they are built on...

Overview Of The Backend as a Service (BaaS) Space

03 May 2013
Prepared By Kin Lane May 2013 Table of Contents Backend as a Service What is BaaS? How Does BaaS Differ From IaaS and PaaS? What Are The Benefits of BaaS? What Can You Build With BaaS? Who Are The Top BaaS Providers? What Are The Common Building Blocks of BaaS? What Are the Common Approaches to BaaS Pricing? What Are The Other Approaches to BaaS Pricing? Who Are The Other BaaS Providers? Watch Out As 1000lb Gorillas Set Their Sights on BaaS Space! What Makes BaaS Relevant to APIs? The Future Is About Virtualized Mobile Operating Systems Investment in BaaS What Are The Opportunities in BaaS? Summing Up BaaS Appendix A: Full List of BaaS Features Appendix B: Curated News Sources   Backend as a Service There is an emerging trend in mobile application development, that people are calling backend as a service (BaaS), also known sometimes known as mobile backend as a service (MBaaS)...

What Does The API Evangelist Do?

02 May 2013
I sent three emails this morning to people, explaining what it is that I do and how they can get involved. This process reminded me that I need to do the same here via the blog on a regular basis, to help people understand what API Evangelist is, and my vision for it.   Despite popular belief I do not evangelize any single API to developers, my role (self-appointed) is to evangelize all APIs to the masses, most importantly beyond the developer community--penetrating business, marketing and other key groups. At API Evangelist I monitor the entire API space. To do this I track on 2000 of the best of the APIs out there.  I've gone through the entire ProgrammableWeb Directory and hand pick the ones that are worth paying attention to, and I continue doing this in real-time as they are added...

Startups Need To Work Together on API Definitions

02 May 2013
I am tracking on 2000 APIs that I have deemed worthy enough to pay attention, out of the 9000 on ProgrammableWeb, 13,000 in APIHub and numerous APIs in Mashape's marketplace. In addition to these APIs, I'm also closely watching 30+ backend as a service providers, 20+ reciprocity providers and emerging big data, analysis, visualization and other emerging platforms who are using APIs in new ways. I was reading some of the great research coming out of OPENi, which is a "Open-Source, Web-Based, Framework for Integrating Applications with Cloud-based Services and Personal Cloudlets"--specifically the post on OpenI API Framework: Studying the Landscape of Cloud-Based Services. What is great about OPENi, is they are doing all this research and planning, and sharing the process with everyone publicly...

I Am Speaking At The Dallas-Forth Worth API Professionals Meetup May 14th

02 May 2013
Hey everyone. I'm heading out to the Dallas-Fort Worth area the week after next, Tuesday, May 14, to kick off the DFW API Professionals Meetup. TheRightAPI team were so kind to invite me out to speak, hang out and talk APIs, to help kick-off the area API group. Both TheRightAPI and backend as a service (BaaS) provider Proxomo are sponsoring the shindig. The group will be meeting at the Microsoft Campus, 7000 Texas 161, Irving, TX. We are thinking we'll kick it off with food and drinks from 6:00 - 6:45 PM, and I'll start talking around 7:00 PM. After that we can just hang out and talk about APIs and see what all y'all are doing with APIs in Texas. Ping me if your in the DFW area, so that I know you will be there...

How Much Do You Spend Attracting and Supporting Freemium API Developers?

02 May 2013
I had a question from an API owner land in my inbox. It is regarding the amount of attention and resources that should be spent on on-boarding new customers. Directly from the email: How would you suggest companies place a quantifiable value on free API users? I know that it is very important to have a lot of people use your API so that they can make great things with your API and also give people a chance to really understand the value of what the API offers, but do you have any thoughts on how companies should decide how much to spend on an API conversion (AdWords, Hackathons, etc.) Let's first address the freemium part of the question. It is my opinion that every API should have a freemium layer...

Parse Is Successful By Truly Solving Problems for Mobile Developers

01 May 2013
I don't personally use Parse or any other backend as a service (BaaS) provider to build mobile applications. I'm just playing role as analyst when it comes to the backend as a service space, but I am a developer so I can tell when any technology provider is speaking to developers or just marketing and hock'n their wares. Each week I monitor the tech blogosphere, the API space and where it has expanded into the backend as a service space and driving mobile development. I pull 300 + feeds from random blogs and 700+ feeds from APIs providers. I see the contrast between what Techrunch, GigaOm and NextWeb produce alongside what API and BaaS providers publish to their blogs. Day after day you can really start smelling the bullshit...

API Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Forego Talking to a Person

30 April 2013
Listening to an episode of Traffic and Weather yesterday, renewed a concept that John Sheehan(@johnsheehan), founder of Runscope made in an article he wrote for NextWeb back in March. In the post, John walks us through his “Three Commandments for Using Someone Else’s API”, which, after listening to him talk about his story on Episode 8 of Traffic and Weather, I couldn't stop thinking about commandment #2: Thou Shalt Not Forego Talking to a Person An open API is a great way to test drive an integration, but it does not absolve you from the responsibility of building a relationship with the provider. If you can’t reach someone, that should be all the reason you need not to use that API...

Have You Taken A Look At AT&T APis Lately?

28 April 2013
Have you taken a moment and looked at the APIs AT&T is offering through their developer program lately? I think it is an interesting spread of API resources for a leading telco to offer, and is very telling about their strategy. This is one thing I like about my API monitoring platform, is that I'm forced to dive deeper into companies that are ubiquitous in the space, and make sure I'm kep in tune with where they are actually going. I thought AT&T's API catalog was interesting in its current state:   Advertising - Create a new revenue stream through the use of customized advertising. The Advertising API allows you to incorporate a simple, easy-to-use solution that supports revednue share-based monetization of your apps through the placement of paid advertising...

API Priorities

28 April 2013
I spend a lot of time on API Evangelist getting excited about APIs. Going on three years doing this, I'm getting a little more hardened in my view on what is "good" in the API space. Along with that evolution, I'm getting my priorities in order. While I may get excited about cloud computing APIs or quantified self APIs, there are other areas I think are straight up priorities--ones that we can't ignore. To support this I'm launching several research projects into areas I have labeled as API priorities: Federal Government City Government Education Healthcare Libraries Universities These represent areas I'm actively doing research in, looking for the best APIs, tools, services, building blocks and news while also generating as much analysis and white papers as I can to help define what is going on...

Evolving Beyond API Service Providers and Tools to Goal Based API Toolkits

27 April 2013
As the universe of APIs expands, I’m working to find new ways that I can discover, educate myself, then organize information around the most meaningful areas in the API space. As part of this effort I’m reorganizing API Evangelist site into a network of small story groups, so that I can focus on a specific piece of this expanding API universe. Each portion of API Evangelist will run using what I call my Hacker Storytelling format, where I use Github Page, Jekyll along with a variety of JSON driven widgets that tell a story around a specific topic. The first story group I’m tackling is redefining two of my main sections which I had called “service provider” and “tools”...

Helping People Understand APIs Through Real World Examples

27 April 2013
I'm always looking for easy, dead simple approaches to explaining APIs to people. Having real world examples, that folks can relate with, go along way in helping people wrap their heads around the very abstract concepts that are APIs. While going for a walk today I was thinking back when I use to build technology for my parents trucking company, when one of the fuel expenses was for Commercial Fueling Network (CFN), which is a self-service commercial fueling station. Whether your a long haul trucker or local contractor, you can use CFN to get at an essential resource for your business, whatever the application. Any business can apply and join CFN, get a "key" to access fuel resources in a self-service way...

APIs & The Federal Government

26 April 2013
It is has been a while since I updated any of my research around APIs & the Federal Government. In May 2012, I started monitoring the progress of the White House Digital Strategy, where I setup a monitoring system that pings all 246 agencies to see if they have published their digital strategy yet. As we approach the one year anniversary, I expect we'll see a lot more news emerge around what various agencies are doing as part of the original mandate by the White House. As of today there are now 23 federal agencies who have published their Digital Strategy at their domain. I have published all of my research around my APIs & the Federal Government research at a permanent Github repository...

After Last Couple of Weeks, It's Clear There Is Big Opportunity In The API Space

25 April 2013
There was a lot of buzz in the API space over the last two weeks. I'm not a big on being first with news from the world of APIs, I leave this approach to the tech blogs like Techcrunch, RWW, GigaOm, The Next Web and others. I'd rather simmer on things for a bit, think beyond the press release, and craft a post that offers value beyond the initial announcement and the churnalism. To get everyone up to speed, four major things happened in the API space over the last two weeks: Intel Buys Mashery Computer Associates Buys Layer 7 Technologies MuleSoft Acquires ProgrammableWeb 3Scale gets $4.2M in Funding There is no arguing that these are some pretty significant signs the API industry is picking up the pace, especially when you have companies like Intel and Computer Associates taking notice and making investments...

From CPU to API for Intel

18 April 2013
Intel is reportedly buying API service provider Mashery for “a range of $120 million to $180 million”, according to ReadWrite(Web). As I reflect on this, two main questions come to mind: Was it a smart acquisition for Intel, and worth their money? Is this a logical move for Intel since they are a chip maker? Was Intel’s acquisition smart for Intel? If they are serious about playing in the API game, which all signals I’ve seen say yes, I think it was smart. They didn’t buy Mashery for their tech, although their tech was a nice add-on to Intel's existing API Gateway. They bought Mashery to buy their market share. Is the acquisition worth 120-180M? I’m not sure about that...

I Like Individually Priced API Resources That Flex and Scale

17 April 2013
On a regular basis I review my API consumption to evaluate how I’m using various APIs, and what I’m paying for them. I depend on around 20 APIs to make API Evangelist work, and I need to make sure I’m using them to their fullest potential while also being mindful of budget. As a part of my regular review, I am looking at the differences in pricing between three key services: FullContact API - I use FullContact for all my company and individual contact intelligence. I go through phases of light or heavy use depending on research projects I have going on. Full Contact provides me with per API call rates depending on the endpoint and call volume, and they limit me between four packages Trying It out (Free), Getting Started ($19/month), Gaining Traction ($99/month) and Rolling ($499/month) Alchemy API - I use Alchemy API to primarily pull text content from blog posts, so I can use it internally for indexing...

Conflicting Emotions About API Providers

17 April 2013
I’m a walking conflict most of the time. You should try being me, it can be tense about 40% of the time. I’ll give you a couple of example of what I mean to help bring you a little closer to what I experience each day. I’ll start with what I consider to be the 2nd most important API of all time (#1 being AWS), Twitter. I love / hate Twitter. They really deliver on everything around their API except in regards to: Rate Limits - Their rate limits suck! Competition - They don’t approach potential competition sensibly Communication - They aren’t good communicators Other than those three "simple areas", Twitter delivers a damn good API. I find it very hard to criticize what they do, except for the fact that having suffocating rate limits, and shutting off access for integrations you view as competitive, can well, be a pretty quick downer...

Initial Thoughts About #ReclaimYourDomain

14 April 2013
Obligatory spider web photo, because Jim and Audrey did too! The ability for me to own kinlane.com, point it at a server, host a website and a blog has been an critical part of my online world and professional career for over 12 years now. My blog goes back to June of 2007, but I have had a site and portfolio up there since around 2000. Having control over my domain has enabled me to store years of my writing, research and projects in a central location that I have control over, allowing me to land jobs, contracts or evolve into entirely new domains that have expanded my audience in ways I never imagined, like with API Evangelist. Anytime I can teach this approach to someone else and empower them to own their own domain, I’ve jumped at the chance, resulting in numerous individuals who have their own thriving domains--including my girlfriend Audrey Watters with her blog Hack Education...

Some Suggested Elements for Online API Education Platforms

10 April 2013
I wrote yesterday’s piece on API education with Codecademy back in February. I didn’t publish because I wanted to do more research on suggested areas of improvement for the Codecademy team to balance my criticism. The point of yesterday's post was not to bash Codecademy, it is to incentivize them to make their platform better. Until then, I can't really recommend as an API building block. The publishing of my post yesterday was triggered after seeing an example of what is possible after seeing another learn to code platform called Studio Sketchpad by Ari Bader-Natal (@studiosketchpad). Studio Sketchpad is an open studio platform for creating beautiful code, aiming to be a open studio for individuals learning to sketch beautiful code on the web canvas--built on a mashup of the Sketch from Processing and the Pad from EtherPad...

How To Get Your Grandma, Mother, Daughter and Sister to Understand APIs

09 April 2013
How To Get Your Grandma, Mother, Daughter and Sister to Understand APIs? You stop using gendered approaches when explaining what an API is. I’m not going to cite any of the past or recent examples of this (you know who you are). And I don’t care "how you didn’t even mean to do this", when you wrote your API example. There really isn’t a line between sexism and ignorant sexism. If you really want everyone to understand what an API is, provide well written, plain english examples, that are framed around solving a problem your grandma, mother, daughter or or sister will understand--using problems they truly face in their lives. It really is that simple. As long as you are using gendered terms to describe what we are doing, you are raising the barrier to entry...

Imagine What Would Be Possible If Twitter Cards Were Open?

09 April 2013
Last week Twitter expanded its Twitter Cards initiative to allow 3rd party app developers to include links to download apps within Tweets, opening up new opportunities for app discovery via Twitter. Yay, for app developers... I won’t try to explain the history of Twitter's approach to their ecosystem, their tight fisted approach to Twitter Cards, and how it affects this latest app discovery announcement. Matthew Ingram does an amazing job (as always) of capturing the essence with Twitter plays its platform hand, and it is the one holding all the Cards. My point is, their announcement isn’t that exciting. Could you imagine what would be possible if Twitter decide to actually use an open standard like Open Graph, and allowed developers to innovate within Tweets using Twitter Cards? I fully understand Twitter wants control over their platform, and I don’t deny any platform the right to assert control...

API Education With Codecademy

09 April 2013
As I do with many of my stories, I’ve been stewing on the news that online education platform Codecademy started offering API programming lessons for popular APIs like Twilio and NPR back in January. While at first glance this seems like an important evolution in API education, I wanted to really think through all the details of API on-boarding before I passed judgement. Codecademy’s claim to fame is a pretty slick code view where you can edit your code and then a view window, which will process and run your code, letting you know if you’ve done it right or not. Each class is broken into several lessons, allowing you to finish at your pace, with a accompanying Q&A forum, glossary and scratch pad--with a badge showing you passed the course...

#APIStrat Videos - Laura Merling - 3 Things You Need to Turn Your Enterprise Into A Platform

08 April 2013
The first #APIStrat video is here! For those of you who couldn't make it to the APIStrat in New York last February, or in case you missed some of the sessions, the videos are finally starting to come out. The first video is from Laura Merling (@magicmerl), VP Ecosystems and Solutions at AT&T, from her talk 3 Things You Need to Turn Your Enterprise Into A Platform. All the sessions were recorded and are being edited, and they will ALL be gradually posted during the next following weeks. Publishing order will be the same as in the original program, with the only exception of the keynotes being published first. We will be linking the videos available from our website, on the sessions page...

Moving Beyond API Pricing to API Price Reduction

03 April 2013
I get a lot of inquiries from API owners about how they should price their API access in a way that will make sense to developers, but also help them generate revenue from their valuable API resources. As most of us are still trying to figure out sensible pricing for our new APIs, or better understand how to adjust and evolve pricing to better suit existing developers--Amazon is busy reducing their cloud API pricing.   I got a simple email from Amazon today: Dear Amazon S3 Customer, We are excited to announce that we are reducing Amazon S3 request prices in all nine of our regions. We are lowering the prices for GET requests by 60% and the prices for PUT, LIST, COPY, and POST requests by 50%...

Usually When Developers Are Mean, It Is About Power

30 March 2013
I’ve been programming professionally since 1988, so I’ve been around quite a few developers in my career. There seems to be a lot of moments lately that cause me to look back at this career, reassess what I've learned, and adjust the direction I'm going with this mined wisdom.  This week I’m reflecting on the recent insanity around Adria Richards, my role as the API Evangelist, and spending time thinking about the tech space's inclusiveness as I’m hanging out with my 12 year old daughter for spring break. Throughout my career, in just about every position I’ve taken, whether as a programmer, manager, lead, architect and VP, I’ve encountered developers who are challenged by me, my role, skills and approach to tech...

Providing Plain English Version Of API Terms of Service

30 March 2013
I read your Terms of Service is one of the biggest lies on the Internet. We agree to terms of service for each and every service we use online, without ever reading and understanding exactly what we are agreeing to. This is one of the most damaging aspects of online life, as through this process we are giving away our rights, ownership of our data and allowing for our privacy to be compromised each and every day. While not all services are abusing this, there are many online services that use this to their advantage, in an effort to maximize the amount of value they extract from their platform and end users. Service providers have to go further in educating users about the terms of service they are agreeing to...

The Noun Project API

28 March 2013
The Noun Project is soliciting feedback on their upcoming API. If you aren’t familar with The Noun Project, it is a innovative visual language project, that is creating a library of icons that will enable people to visually communicate and interact around the globe. Direct from The Noun Project about page: Humans have been using symbols to communicate for over 17,000 years because they are the one language everyone can understand. Symbols can transcend cultural and language barriers and deliver concise information effortlessly and instantaneously. They allow people to communicate quickly, effectively, and intuitively. And for the first time ever, this language is being combined with technology to create a social language that unites the world...

Migrating My Automation Services Beyond Free

28 March 2013
I depend on If This Then That (IFTTT) to move data around the cloud.  I syndicate blog posts from API Evangelist to Blogger and Tumblr.  This isn't just blind syndication, it is SEO and also plan B scenarios to make sure my content exists in multiple areas. When it comes to the IT decisions for API Evangelist, I carefully evaluate what services I use.  If I begin to depend on an account, after 6 months I need to start paying a fee to secure some sort of quality of service (QOS).  This is how I roll. Not all platorms allow for this.  In my opinion, all FREE platforms should have relief valves for users like me, who want to move to some sort of paid account, assuring me some sort of service level agreement (SLA) or I'll move away...

City of Philadelphia Shares Its Open Data Roadmap

26 March 2013
A roadmap is an essential part of a healthy API ecosystem. The transparency and communication that come with providing a roadmap for your API and open data initiative will go a long way in building trust with your community. The City of Philadelphia is sharing its roadmap of data sets that it intends to open in the coming months, by providing a release calendar using cloud project management service Trello. In addition to seeing the datasets the city intends to release, you can also see any data sets that have already been published. According to the open data roadmap, Philadelphia is releasing data on street closures, energy consumption, evacuation routes, campaign finance, bike racks, budgets, expenditures and city employee salaries to name just a few...

Embeddable API Conversations with Adam of Iris Media

26 March 2013
I spent some time drinking IPAs and talking education technology with Audrey (@audreywatters) and a friend of ours Adam Wendt (@skinnyblimp), the COO of Iris Educational Media last week. IRIS Educational Media is a behavioral research and development company that provides educational resources for parents, parent educators, K-12 school staff, including teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, and direct support employees. During our discussion, Adam was describing how he wanted to make Iris Media resources available for people to use on any platform, by providing valuable embeddable tools and resources for organizations and professionals to use on their own sites and portals. As Adam was talking, of course I’m thinking API...

NASA Challenges Devs to Create Space Object Tracking API

25 March 2013
NASA has a pretty cool challenge going on, to create an API for SkyMorph, a database of optical images and catalogs generated by the Near Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) program. According to the NASA description, SkyMorph provides: access to imagery by time and position or searching by specific asteroid or other moving object. The time dimension, unique to SkyMorph, allows users to discover changes in the intensities of stars, e.g. supernovae, or to discover moving objects, e.g. comets NASA is challenging us to help build a RESTful interface that would enable developers and citizen scientist to access SkyMorph imagery, lowering the barrier of access to the data and encouraging innovation around the program...

App Design With An Acquire, Process, Publish API Architecture

21 March 2013
I'm tracking on a new wave of application frameworks and API centric architecture patterns, that are not just helping deliver the next wave of web & mobile apps, but also bridging, aggregating and providing interoperability and transformations between APIs platforms. One company I've been watching closely is Seabourne. The Seabourne team has an approach to application development that follows a very interesting set of principles: Information Flows Instead of Pipelines - Information operates in ‘flows’ where inputs and outputs are flexible and happen at any point. Flows are fluid and flexible, unlike structured, point-to-point pipelines Data has Multiple Owners - Information flows are composed of multiple streams of data owned by different partners and vendors...

I Support You Adria Richards

21 March 2013
Way to go brogrammers.  You made sure a bright light in evangelism was partially dimmed tday.  Really? With all the shaming that goes on targeted at women, you don't have balls to take a little shaming when you arer being a sexist pig?   C'mon...ummm have some balls? As I've said it before, us guys are going to have to eat shit with a side of humble pie for many years to come to balance this whole sexism thing out.  Let's own it. All it would have taken is a humble apology from those gentleman in response to the Tweet, then some healthy discussion about why what they said was wrong, and move on kids.   I sure hope the hacker news crowd steps up and defends every woman that is shamed by guys now, as they seem to be a defender of this now...

Interactive API Documentation With Swagger

21 March 2013
It is becoming more common for API providers to deliver documentation using what's known as interactive API documentation, instead of the usual static API documentation. Understanding how to use an API can be tough sometimes, and rather than just reading about it how it works, interactive API documentation allows you make real calls against an API, while learning about the interface. While there are several approaches to delivering interactive API documentation, my personal favorite is using Swagger. Swagger comes built in with 3Scale, which is the API management platform I use for the API Evangelist API, but Swagger is available for anyone to use as an open source project. Interactive API documentation using Swagger starts with a Swagger definition, which is a JSON representation of an API endpoint...

API Evangelist API

20 March 2013
It was inevitable. API Evangelist now has its own API. I had a couple partners ask for more sophisticated access than provided by RSS or JSON dumps out of my platform.  So I launched a handful of API endpoints, allowing you to get at information from my world. I currently have 13 endpoints providing access to the core of my platform, in 8 key areas: APIs - Name, logo and description of the 2K APIs I'm activtely monitoring API Stack - Access to my weekly and monthly API stacks Analysis (Blog) - Access to my entire blog catalog Service Providers - Access to all API service providers I track Tools - A full catalog of all the API tools I've found Curated News - Title and links of news that I personally curate from my 2K+ feeds Notes - Notes I make during my daily and weekly curation Building Blocks - The common building blocks I've identified after looking at 2K top APIs There is a lot more data behind my firewall that I want to open up...

APIs as Art

19 March 2013
Audrey (@audreywatters) forwarded a very interesting series of tweets to me yesterday from software artist, writer, and educator Jer Thorp (@blprnt): Has anyone written about APIs as art objects? — blprnt (@blprnt) March 18, 2013 (We make APIs for almost every art project we build - in some ways the APIs themselves are the most interesting/poetic parts) — blprnt (@blprnt) March 18, 2013 It feels to me the API could become a medium for artists in the same way that the algorists embraced the algorithm in the 70s. — blprnt (@blprnt) March 18, 2013 The APIists. You heard it here first. — blprnt (@blprnt) March 18, 2013 The API's ability to bridge platforms/devices/languages is almost inherently interventionist...

Web Harvesting to API with Import.io

19 March 2013
I had a demo of a new data extraction service today called Import.io. The service allows you to harvest or scrape data from websites and then output in machine readable formats like JSON. This is very similar to Needlebase, a popular scraping tool that was acquired and then shut down by Google early in 2012. Except I’d say Import.io represents a simpler, yet at the same time a more sophisticated approach to harvesting of web data and publishing than Needlebase. ExtractUsing Import.io you can target web pages, where the content resides that you wish to harvest, define the rows of data, label and associate them with columns in table you where the system will ultimately put your data, then extract the data complete with querying, filtering, pagination and other aspects of browsing the web you will need to get at all the data you desire...

Startup API Pricing

19 March 2013
I wrote about the web to API service Import.io earlier today, and before I close the Evernote for this story, I wanted to highlight something else I thought they did interesting, on their pricing page.   I thought they provide a very honest peak into how they are pricing their services.  First off, they admit that they are a young company, which is cool, but they also lay out some pretty interesting points around their business philosophy:: We are a free service. We will always provide a free-to-use tool We will introduce premium features. Some of these you may have to pay for We will always provide you with a tool to export your connectors We will let you know if we are going to change anything that may impact your usage of import...

Google Launches Real Time API and JavaScript Library

19 March 2013
Google launched a Realtime API for the Google Drive Platform today. It is the API version of the same functionality available on Google Drive, that allows for you and other collaborators to type, edit, annote and chat with each other within a Google Doc. To use the Google Drive Realtime API you add the Google Realtime Javascript library, then you can give any local object on an HTML page realtime behavior. The JavaScript library and Realtime API handle network communication, storage, presence, conflict resolution and sync changes using what they call a CollaborativeString object. The Realtime API isn’t just for documents, it can be used for productivity apps, games, entertainment and much more...

Incentivize API Developers With A Mozilla Open Badge Program

19 March 2013
Last week Mozilla launched their new Open Badges platform, as an open standard to recognize and verify learning. I immediately started thinking about how it could be applied to APIs for incentivizing developer participation and success. I’ve come across other badge programs, but Mozilla is the first open approach I’ve seen, providing free software and an open technical standard, that any organization can use to create, issue and verify digital badges. So I was thinking, as an API owner, you could use Open Badges to structure a series of rewards for developers who reach important milestones integrating with your API, and engaging with your ecosystem. Some examples badge-worthy milestones might be: Achieve X amount of API calls Published application to showcase Published open source code library Developed more than one application Revenue generated from application Supporting the forum and conversations It would take a bit of planning to developer the right approach to badging for each API, as goals would be different for each provider...

Database to API With SlashDB

18 March 2013
I would say the most common path to an API is from your company's database. This makes database to API connectors, tools and services a pretty valuable area of the API space. While there will always be high profile APIs dominating the tech blogosphere, most APIs will be launched quietly from small companies, by connecting them to various internal data sources. During API Strategy & Practice, I met a new API service provider, called SlashDB, that focuses on just delivering APIs from your database. Once installed on any web server, SlashDB connects your internal databases and constructs a REST/HTTP web service, easily making database content accessible by URLs for getting, updating, inserting and deleting in a secure way...

BeyondGET or OtherVerbs, an Augmented API Platform

17 March 2013

The API Pipes, From Resource to Last Mile

17 March 2013
This post is more rant, and about me working through my thoughts on this subject, which is why its on kinlane.com and not apievangelist.com or apivoice.com.  This post is an aggregation of ongoing thoughts I'm having around my role in the API space, a diagram I drew the other day while enjoying an IPA, and inescapable thoughts fueled up by a post by Patrick Meir over at iRevolution, called Crisis Mapping, Neogeography and the Delusion of Democratization.   Meir kicks up a bunch of thoughts related to how I perceive my role in the API space, which I believe is to help keep a certain amount of oxygen (aka open) present in the space, which I believe is the key ingredient in why the expirement we know as APIs is working...

Braintree Launches JS Library to Help Developers With PCI

16 March 2013
Next generation payment provider Braintree just launched a new JavaScript library that helps merchants reduce their PCI scope in a flexible and testable way, which they are calling appropriately Braintree.js. According to Braintree, the library: ...uses asymmetric encryption to prevent raw credit card data from passing through merchants' servers. It intercepts a form submit in the browser that contains sensitive data, encrypts that data with a public key provided to merchants by Braintree and then submits the form with the encrypted data to the server. Braintree retains the private key of the key pair so that merchants are unable to decrypt the encrypted fields server-side. Any string field in Braintree's API can be encrypted and encrypted values can be transparently dropped into any API call I’m a big supporter of what I call a healthy embeddable strategy, which includes buttons, badges, widgets and other tools you can build on top of an API or to support API integration...

Using The Crunchbase API

16 March 2013
Audrey came to me last night and said she had a project that she wanted to tackle, using the CrunchBase API. She wanted to pull a list of education startups that were founded in 2010-2012, showing their investments, CEO, founders and other related company information. A couple weeks ago, I helped Audrey download a PHP Twitter bot, reverse engineer and make it work for an objective she had around Tweeting random responses to a certain type of tweet. I figured she was ready to see what it took to hack on an API and get the research data she needed. Audrey wanted to pull a list of startups that were educated related. We started with the /search endpoint, using the query keyword “education”...

Pinboard API Tax Proposal

15 March 2013
Maciej Ceglowskiis, the founder of popular social bookmarking platform Pinboard,made an interesting proposal over on the Pinboard Google Group: I've been thinking about imposing an API tax, the proceeds of which would go into improving API infrastructure and offsetting operating costs, structured along these lines: API free to use for your own Pinboard account Every API client making requests on behalf of someone else must register an app identifier $20/year tax if your app makes requests for over 100 Pinboard accounts $100/year tax if your app makes requests for over 1000 Pinboard accounts Possibly additional price levels to waive certain rate limits Think of it as a road tax that then pays for further construction, repair, and people in orange vests...

Real-Time Notification Layer Within Your API

15 March 2013
This story comes from Phil Leggetter (@leggetter) over at Pusher. Its about a client of theirs, cisimple, which provides continuous delivery services for mobile developers. cisimple just released a new API, which gives mobile developers more control over the build processes for their mobile applications. Using the cisimple API you can kick off new builds and download artifacts from your mobile dev process. cisimple is a very interesting API resource, that I will definitely be watching, and I’m sure I will be writing about in the near future. But what I really think is interesting is that cisimple is allowing clients to register for real-time updates via Pusher channels, using API tokens...

API Badges, Logos and Stickers

15 March 2013
I ended up at the Punfork API today for some reason. Full disclosure: "Punchfork has been acquired by Pinterest! Read the announcement. Site shutdown: March 31st, 2013". Just getting that out of the way. While at the site, I ended up at the Goodies page, which I think represents a nice set of basic embeddable tools for an API. First using Punchfork Badges, you can customize a badge, then copy and paste the embed code onto your blog's sidebar, or anywhere else you want it to appear: Then you can download a Punchfork logo (ok, its just one, but it gets point across): Last, you can enter your address and request a Punchfork sticker to be sent to you: These are all three, simple examples of a good approach to providing embeddable tools for users...

Business of APIs 2nd Edition

15 March 2013
In May 2011 I released a book called the Business of APIs. The book was intended to be an introductory walkthrough for non-technical people, to the world of APIs. I wanted to educate business, organizational and governmental leaders about the space, and the important role of APIs in having a healthy digital strategy. Its coming up on two years later, and I'm finally getting around to updating the Business of APIs. After a nice long walk on the strand with @audreywatters, we have the outline for the next version: What is an API? What are APIs used for? The history of APIs What goes into an API? Do you need an API? How do you get an API?? What are the common building blocks of an API? What are possible business models for an API? How do you evangelize and support an API? Where have some APIs stumbled? APIs, a new way of doing business The goal of the Business of APIs is the same...

An Essential Stack of Existing API Resources

14 March 2013
I see a lot of new API platforms emerge, and often times you see them deploying their own solutions to problems that are actively solved by top API platforms, and are already adopted by common mobile and web app users. The best example of this is with authentication. Its growing more and more common that you don’t build your own login, you use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google or Github oAuth. It seems to me that when it comes to other common resources, the same could be applied. So I’m exploring what my essential stack of API driven resources might look like: Messages Photos Documents Videos Notes Bookmarks Blog Contacts Checkins Audio Calendar Payments Advertising URL Shortener I could do quite a bit with this assembled as a single backend stack, if it included a regular datastore, key-value store, user management and other essentials for building apps...

Top API Platforms Deliver More Node.js Resources for Developers

13 March 2013
Node.js, the server-side software system designed for writing scalable Internet applications in JavaScript, seems to be getting more attention lately from top API providers because of its event-driven, asynchronous I/O that can minimizeoverhead and maximize scalability. Last week Google released an official Node.js client library for accessing Google APIs that supports authorization and authentication using OAuth 2.0. Then earlier this week, Amazon Web Services announced that AWS Elastic Beanstalk, their PaaS solution now supports Node.js applications. While Google’s deployment is a client, and AWS’s is an application platform, they both have the same objective--enabling developers to build highly reliable, scalable, and cost-effective applications using APIs...

An API That Scrubs Personally Identifiable Information From Other APIs

13 March 2013
One of the best aspects of being the API Evangelist, is I get to hang out with smart folks, doing gaming changing things across all business sectors. Last week I was able to make it to the API Social, an event held in Berkeley by a group of API savvy faculty members. This is my third one, and the group is up to some very interesting things. I had a conversation with one UC Berkeley analyst about a problem that isn’t just unique to a university, but they are working on an innovative solution for. The problem: UCB Developers are creating Web Services that provide access to sensitive data (e.g. grades, transcripts, current enrollments) but only trusted applications are typically allowed to access these Web Services to prevent misuse of the sensitive data...

Netflix API Is Much More Than A Public API

12 March 2013
Netflix has entered the final stages of shuttering its public API last week. Its been coming for a while now, starting in June of 2012, and now is official with the platform no longer accepting new API registrations. After reading about the changes to the Netflix Public API program on their blog, and hearing much of the news in response, everyone seems to file this away, along with the Twitter API--just another API platform screwing over its developers. As I do, I wanted to take a step back, look at the bigger picture and try understand what happened.  On October 1st 2008, Netflix launched their public API, and they appear to have done everything right. They had a blog, solicited code samples from developers, accepted application submissions and even showcased the developers apps in the gallery...

Five Separate API Event Series In 2013

12 March 2013
When it came to API focused events, the only conference there was to attend was the Business of APIs Conference, from Mashery. They have been putting on the conference(correct me if I’m wrong) since 2007. There wasn’t much of an "API Industry" back then, and Mashery was definitely the pioneer in the space, getting the word out and along with ProgrammableWeb, has done a lot to define the API space. Fast forward five years, and after the successful API Strategy & Practice in February (originally scheduled for November), there are now five API event series going on: It is exciting to see the explosion of events, and I’m hopeful regarding how much progress will occur in 2013 with this many conversations going on...

Work On The Next Version Of The Crocodoc API

12 March 2013
It looks like the HTML5 document embedding platform Crocodoc is starting to plan the next version of their API. The are being very transparent about the process (which I like), and putting out the word looking for some new team members to help them get the job one. Over the next couple weeks they want build an API that is simple and easy to use, but also capable of handling tens of millions of document conversations a month. To help get the job done they are looking for: Sales Engineers - Boots on the ground to let them know what people want and to help us engage the developer community JavaScript Engineers - Help them open source the demos we build and design our client-side libraries DevOps Engineers - Help them build the infrastructure we use to convert millions of documents each month I found the Crocodoc posting on Hacker News, but I’m writing about because I appreciate API owner sending out signals that they are planning the next version of their API...

#APIStrat Slide Decks Added To Session Page

12 March 2013
I added the slide decks for the keynotes and sessions we have so far from API Strategy & Practice to the conference session page. As soon as we get videos, I will be linking them on the session page as well. Here is what we have for the two days of the conference. Day 1 Keynote: Laura Merling (@magicmerl), VP Ecosystems and Solutions at AT&T (Slides) Track 1 - Music Paul Osman (@paulosman) of Soundcloud (Slides) Evan Stein (@SteinEvan) of Decibel (Slides) R. Kevin Nelson of Rdio (Slides) Track 2 - Social Tyler Singletary (@harmophone) of Klout (Slides) Tyler Stalder (@tylerstalder) of Singly (Slides) Track 3 - API Design & Creation Jakub Nesetril (@jakubnesetril) of Apiary (Slides) Tony Tam (@fehguy) of Wordnik /Swagger (Slides) Kirsten Jones (@synedra) of Cisco (Slides) Track 1 - Media Jon Moore (@jon_moore) of Comcast (Slides) Anthony Cuellar (@Anthony_Connect) of Pearson (Slides) Track 2 - Commerce Matt Bishop (@MattBishopL3) of Elastic Path (Slides) Joe Rago (@joerago) of Walgreens (Slides) Track 3 - Automation Nick Blanchard-Wright (@pseudomammal) ofTemboo (Slides) Dave Goldberg (@davidgoldberg) of Ritc (Slides) Track 1 - Travel David White, SVP/GM of Data Services ofFlightStats, Inc...

SOA vs API - The Humans Win

10 March 2013
As the API movement marches forward, it continues to grind against the enterprise and its legacy of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), which increases the frequency at which people ask me, What is the difference between API and SOA? This is not a technical explanation of the differences, but a philosophical one that many will argue does not apply, but in my opinion is the dark matter around the technological and business approach of SOA, that makes API work. Many say that a web API is just one component in an SOA toolbox. This is true. Using HTTP for an API is not that novel in itself. That is until it jumped out of the enterprise petri dish, got a little oxygen to grow, allowing the introduction of some new aspects that the industry and technology overlords of SOA would never have introduced on their own...

Let's Talk APIs In Scandinavia With Nordic APIs

07 March 2013
Are you ready for more discussions about APIs? I know I am. :) This time its from our Scandinavian friends, with four events in 2013. Nordic APIs is a series of conferences and events held across Scandinavia which provides knowledge and information about APIs. API Evangelist is a supporter of Nordic APIs, and you will find me speaking at the 2 day event in Stockholm in September. I will be speaking with Adam DuVander(@adamd) and John Musser(@johnusser) of ProgrammableWeb, Jacob Ideskog (@jacobideskog) and Travis Spencer (@travisspencer) of Twobo Technologies, as well as the notorious Andreas Krohn (@andreaskrohn). I feel an awakening happening around APIs, and its not just a Silicon Valley thing...

VCS, How Does Your Portfolio Rate When It Comes To APIs?

07 March 2013
As the API Evangelist, I’ve made it my mission to go outside of the Silicon Valley bubble and educate the “normals” about the potential of APIs. In doing this I have conversations with a wide range of folks from new startups, to the GSA in Washington DC. One growing trend I’m seeing is the number of VC and angel investors reaching out, to have me help them understand the API space and how it applies to their investments. I have a couple VC’s I talk to on a regular basis, but I have a growing number of new ones who are investing more and more in technology companies and need to get a grip on this API world. As a Terry Kearns from Oxford Strategic Advisors, LLC, put it yesterday: "I wanna let you know I appreciate all the work you've done here...

API Driven Voice Architecture

06 March 2013
I’m working through lists of APIs and API service providers who I’ve rated pretty highly because of their work in the past, but red flags have gone up because I’ve haven’t seen a blog post, tweet or commit from them lately. One of the service providers I’m reviewing is Zypr, which providers voice enabled architecture built on popular APIs. Zypr fits in with my vision of where APIs are going, because Zypr is doing the same thing as aggregation, automation and other trending service providers, but the end goal is this use case is voice. In Zyprs own words: Zypr aggregates proprietary 3rd party APIs, categorizes their functions, and then presents those functions through a single, normalized API...

Judging an API At First Glance

05 March 2013
I’m a little behind in working through my list of new APIs to review. So I’m spending about 3 hours each day going through my list of new APIs accumulated from ProgrammableWeb, Tweets, Bookmarks, Google Alerts and other ways I have for discovering new APIs. After looking through a couple hundred APIs, I wanted to share some things that stand out, and make me feel someone really doesn't give a shit when they hit publish on their API: Your entire developer area is a PDF Really long, incoherent URL for dev area Dev area is just a page in your help directory You put google ads on every page of your API documentation No communication, support or contact information at all Sign up form that pops up in my face as soon as page loads Require an NDA before I register These are just a handful of things that make me give an API a C or D grade, which means you probably aren’t on my radar...

Gather Feedback For Your API With UserVoice

05 March 2013
I’m looking at new and innovative ways companies are building analytics and visualizations on top of APIs, and one of the new tools I’ve come across is ImpactStory. ImpactStory aggregates altmetrics: diverse impacts from your articles, datasets, blog posts, and more. But this post isn’t about ImpactStory, I’ll crunch what they do and write about in another post. This post is about their usage of feedback, helpdesk, and knowledge base management tool UserVoice, which is a service I always recommend to API owners looking to support different aspects of their API community. ImpactStory simply has a “BETA - Send us Your Feedback” image in the top right corner of their site...

Mobile and Web Advertising Will Heat Up in 2013 With Heavyweight Advertising APIs

05 March 2013
It was interesting to see Amazon step up in the advertising game with the beta release of the Amazon Mobile Ads API this week. I wouldn’t want Amazon getting into my space, when it comes to any API resource, especially advertising. On the other hand, one can say that the space needs disruption with the dominance of Google with their multiple offerings: Google Mobile Google Adwords DoubleClick DoubleClick Ad Exchange AdMob Adwords Youtube I think we can expect some intense competition when it comes to advertising and specifically around mobile advertising APIs--battling for your eyeballs on smart phones and tablets in 2013. Another layer that will add to the competititiveness with advertising APIs is the fact that all three social media and networking giants have their own advertising APIs now as well: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn With Google and Amazon both having devices in the game (Android and Kindle), it will be interesting how they partner with Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin for the social layer, and where all of this leaves Apple...

API Pricing On Complexity, Speed and Support At Apicultur

04 March 2013
How to structure pricing for an API is one of the top 5 questions I get from people who are currently planning their API strategy. In my opinion, there is, and never will be a one size fits all API pricing strategy. What you charge for your API resources should reflect their value and how they are accessed and used by your target consumers. The Backend as a Service (BaaS) space is working hard to differentiate themselves in 2013 with different approaches to pricing of mobile backend resources. Amazon is still shaking up the API space with new services, pricing models and the price reduction of API resources at a dizzying pace. I had the pleasure of meeting the Apicultur team while in Paris for API Days last October...

Next Generation of API Driven Analytics and Visualizations

04 March 2013
API driven analytics and visualizations is one of the new areas of API usage I'm tracking on. There are many “big data” platforms emerging these days, but I’m looking for dead simple tools and services anyone can use to generate analytics and visualizations via APIs. Think of reciprocity providers like IFTT, Zapier and Elastic.io. These new API driven service providers, make it easy to migrate data between cloud services, using a simple set of source API, triggers, actions and target APIs--with a dead simple icon and wizard based UI, allowing any user to put the platform to work. I want this approach for embeddable analytics, visualizations and other widgets that are easily generated via APIs...

Learn the Mogreet MMS API with GUI API Construction Tool

04 March 2013
Hands on, interactive tools are proving to be the most useful way to learn about an API--empowering users to see it in action, and witness the value it delivers. Many companies are doing this by providing API explorers, consoles, interactive documentation and other hands-on tools that allow you to see how any API actually functions and learn about the API in realtime. One of the latest companies to do this is MMS API provider Mogreet, which has stepped into the API explorer game with their own API tester allowing anyone to visually build an API call that sends multimedia messages, as well as take advantage of the 25 other methods available via the API platform. The API tester is available for all users via the developer dashboard, providing a hands on way to learn about the Mogreet API, all available endpoints, understand which parameters are required or optional, experiment with alternatives and quickly make the calls and see the result, understanding the value and operations before you get to work coding around the API...

Short Sighted Silicon Valley Limits Potential of Data Markets

04 March 2013
I’ve been following the great coverage by Paul MIller over at Cloud Ave about whether Infochimps running from the Data Market business, and Discussing Data Markets in New York City. He’s touched on any interesting topic around the viability of data markets as a business, and the fate of several of the most high profile players in the space. In 2011, when it comes to data API marketplaces and providers I tended to showcase players like Factual, Kasabi, DataMarket and InfoChimps. In 2013, we’ve watched Kasabi disappear, and the migration of InfoChimps from an open data market, to a enterprise data platform. While Factual and Datamarket appear to be going strong. I think this reflects a common, lack of imagination by Silicon Valley because they are so focused on making money, they miss the need to support critical aspects of industries, that are required to allow for the growth they want to see...

A 3rd Party API Showcase for Your API

04 March 2013
I stumbled across the Twitter Counter API in my monitoring for the API Stack this morning. The Twitter Counter API allows you to retrieve key metrics on any Twitter account like username, url and avatar.  All data you can get via the Twitter API, but with Twitter Counter API you get additional information like account growth statistics and ranking, that Twitter doesn't provide at all. I find it fascinating that someone can build an API to augment an existing API, which is why I keep talking about it, I guess :) We are seeing a more standardized version of this with API aggregation providers like Singly and Adigami, where they not only aggregate APIs from a variety of sources, they also build entirely new APIs based the added value that is created after they are brought together...

NYC Evangelist Meetup - February 2013 #APIStrat

03 March 2013
During API Strategy & Practice in New York City, there was an awesome gathering of developer evangelists at the Tumblr offices, for the NYC Evangelist Meetup. I got the chance to hang out with several evangelist I know online, but have never met in person.  We drank beers, ate pizza and talked about all things evangelist, evangelism, advocacy and hopefully some normal shit too.  Thanks for having me over everyone!  Have you ever seen so many evangelists in one room?

I Want An API

02 March 2013
I feel we have done a good job explaining what is an API, why people need APIs, and providing services to manage APIs, but we are falling short on delivering information, tools and services for deploying APIs. First I want to acknowledge that many companies have established IT resources, in the form of technology talent, and internal systems they can put to use when deploying APIs. This post isn’t for you. This is about individual problem owners looking to deploy APIs, who most likely have little or no access to traditional IT resources for a variety of reasons. You want to deploy an API, because you havplease some data, content or other resources you need to make accessible to partners or the public, allowing for integration into other systems or be used in the development of web or mobile applications or possibly even data analysis and visualizations...

Services Available From API Evangelist

02 March 2013
I've had a lot of questions lately about how I make money, and how companies can either support what I do, and / or take advantage of services I offer. So I wanted to take some time to outline the services I offer to support the space, and make ends meet--while also keeping things moving forward in a healthy and positive way.   Here are a few of the common areas I help my clients across multiple industries.  Let me know if they are of interest to you. Adhoc Hang Out (15 minutes free then $40 every 15 minute increment) - Google Hangouts are a great way to interact.  Let's talk.  The first 15 minutes are always free, then let's dive deeper into your goals, the industry and anything API related you want to know...

Heroku Status and Incident Report Site

02 March 2013
Heroku was down for a little while today. I saw the status report and for some reason actually clicked through to the web page. I don’t actually use Heroku, so it doesn’t impact me directly, but I’m always curious. I really like the Heroku status and incident report site. The site elegantly displays the last 30 days of status for the Heroku platform--complete with real-time notifications via email, SMS, Twitter, RSS and API.

API Deployment as a Service

01 March 2013
APIs are all the rage, anyone should be able launch an API from CSV, Microsoft Excel, Google Spreadsheet or the common databases such as MySQL, PostGres, Amazon RDS, Microsoft SQL Server. Right? I’ve been watching API service providers evolve for the last three years, helping companies be successful in managing their APIs. But when you actually going through the list of service providers, looking for someone to help you deploy an API, there are very few options out of the box. The list of API Players coming from the enterprise: These enterprise players assume you will have existing infrastructure to publish web services, files and other message systems that they can connect with, to deploy your new APIs that you will manage...

MySQL, PostgreSQL and RDS to API With Emergent One

01 March 2013
There are numerous companies, with existing IT infrastructure, who are looking to deploy APIs in 2013. These companies will be deploying APIs using their existing technology teams, or depending on one of the 17 API management service providers available. This market is ripe for the 3Scale's of the world to provide valuable services to, but for many companies, organizations and government agencies who need to deploy APIs this year, API deployment will be about taking an existing database or multiple databases, and open them up to the public, partners, 3rd party developers or possibly just provide access to a remote department or branch of their company in the easiest way possible. Not all companies will have the resources, or the need to deploy full blown API programs...

API Trends I Am Watching

01 March 2013
Photo Credit: AVnet I try to keep API Evangelist a place where API newbies and API experts can both find what they are looking for. To meet this demand I’m constantly moving the site around, trying to uncover more information, in a logical way that speaks to everyone. To change things up a little I moved a couple of the most important trends in APIs out of the trends section, and put them on the right hand menu, making them accessible from any page. There are four trends I think are important to how APIs are being used right now: Aggregation - Merging various APIs together into not just meaningful new stacks of resources, but entirely new resources, as a result of merging BaaS - The promise of Backend as a Service is to bundle together resources developers need to build mobile apps more efficiently...

Continue With My API Service As A Guest

28 February 2013
Making onboarding with an API as frictionless as possible is one thing I like to study and educate my readers about. While I was studying what I call the API reciprocity space currently, which is an evolution of what is known in the enterprise as ETL, I came across a company called FoxWeave. FoxWeave is a service that can migrate and synchronize data across all your cloud and on-premise apps and databases. When I went to “try it now” at FoxWeave, I was told “no signup needed”. But I didnt’ think much about it until I saw the temporary guest account popup. What a powerful concept. Evolving the freemium concept into the world of anonymity, allowing me to play with and understand your service before having to commit in any way...

From ETL to API Reciprocity, Looking at 20 Service Providers

28 February 2013
I spent time this week looking at 20, of what I’m calling API reciprocity providers, who are providing a new generation of what is historically known as ETL in the enterprise, to connect, transfer, transform and push data and content between the cloud services we are increasingly growing dependent on. With more and more of our lives existing in the cloud and via mobile devices, the need to migrate data and content between services will only grow more urgent. While ETL has all the necessary tools to accomplish the job, the cloud democratized IT resources, and the same will occur to ETL, making these tools accessible by the masses. There are quite a few ETL solutions, but I feel there are 3 solutions that are starting to make a migration towards an easier to understand and implement vision of ETL:   These providers are more robust, and provide much of the classic ETL tools the enterprise is used to, but also have the new emphasis on API driven services...

Merging API Automation and Interoperability Into API Reciprocity

27 February 2013
While I’m wading through dictionaries and thesauruses in an effort to find a more appropriate term “governance”, when looking at SOA governance through the API lense--I figured I’d flush out another area I’m working to define a term that appropriately describes automation and interoperability using APIs. Yesterday I took a look at 31 backend as a service (BaaS) providers, in hopes of understanding more about what value they provide. Today I'm diving into the automation section of my new API trends area. While reviewing, I noticed the exact same companies that were under automation were also in interoperability. So I set out to find a new word to apply to this next generation of ETL providers that are building bridges between cloud platforms using APIs, as well as legacy data connections...

What Is A Better Word For Governance When It Comes To APIs?

27 February 2013
There is a great post by Lorinda Brandon (@lindybrandon) of SmartBear on ProgrammableWeb today called Governance vs Innovation: Do They Have to be Enemies?.  She continues a conversation, from API Strategy & Practice around the word "governance", and how in the API space, this is often considered a bad word.   I was moderating the questions for Alistair Farquharson (@afarqu) CTO of SOA Software, when Irakli Nadareishvili (@inadarei) of NPR actually agreed that it is a bad word and asked if we need to evolve beyond it and not embrace it.  I totally agree with Lorinda's approach to walking the line between governance and innovation, and look forward to more discussion around how to analyze API vs SOA principles within the enterprise--striking a balance that works for each individual approach...

API Transparency Report as Essential Building Block

26 February 2013
After reading about Google’s release of their transparency report last month, I decided I would be addding API transparency reports to my list of essential building blocks for API owners. Since I wrote that, I’ve had a great post from EFF also stating that its time for transparency reports to become the new normal.  Where the EFF outlines the illness in our current approach: When you use the Internet, you entrust your thoughts, experiences, photos, and location data to intermediaries — companies like AT&T, Google, and Facebook. But when the government requests that data, users are usually left in the dark. In the United States, companies are not required by law to alert their users when they receive a government request for their data, and in some circumstances, they are explicitly prohibited from doing so...

75 Features From Across 31 BaaS Providers

26 February 2013
I’m currently tracking on 31 backend as a service providers, in an effort to better understand how this new breed of platforms are helping developers build web and mobile apps. After looking at all the BaaS providers, there are 13 clear leaders: Then there are another 18 other players, trying to play catch up in a space that is working hard to define itself in 2013: My goal is to better understand what features are offered across these 31 BaaS providers. To accomplish this, I spent no more than an hour per provider looking through their sites and playing with their products to get at least a basic understanding of their offerings...

Freemium API Tools Can Drive Experimentation And Innovation

26 February 2013
I’m a firm believer in the power of the freemium model when it comes to APIs. Nothing is as it seems when you are deploying managing or consuming APIs. You have to have room to innovate and iterate without signing contracts or paying too much, before you find exactly the right integration or deployment that works. This freemium approach to APIs is one of the biggest reasons I’ve been supporting 3Scale since early days of API Evangelist. 3Scale was the original API service provider to offer a truly freemium tier for anyone wanting to deploy an API, and remains passionate about this to this day. During the API Strategy & Practice conference in NYC last week, I had the pleasure of meeting the SmartBear team, who share a similar perspective of the space, resulting in them launching a new suite of free tools that will help you develop, test and monitor while building API driven software...

Which Of The Three OAuth Legs Is The Most Important?

26 February 2013
We closed up the API Strategy & Practice Conference (#APIstrat) last friday with a panel called APIs, Platforms and Ecosystem, where I moderated a healthy discussion with Tyler Stalder (@tylerstalder) of Singly, Seth Blank (@AntiFreeze) of YourTrove, Asif Rahman (@asifrahman) of Newscred, Orian Marx (@orian) of App.net, Travis Wallis (@traviswallis) of PeopleBrowsr around the very broad spectrum of APIs, platforms and the concept of ecosystems. One of the questions I asked the group was, which of the three OAuth Legs is the most important?   To provide a quick primer for the portion of my audience that aren’t OAuth geeks: OAuth is an open standard for authorization that provides a method for clients to access server resources on behalf of a resource owner Ok, what does that mean? Think Twitter...

BaaS Provider Quickblox Offers Unlimited API Calls and Push Notifications

26 February 2013
Backend as a Service (BaaS) provider QuickBlox announced new pricing plans, which includes a free tier up to 10GB in traffic and storage, with unlimited API calls and push notifications. The BaaS space is heating up with lots of discussion about whether you should charge developers by active user, features, storage or API call--with each provider being pretty vocal about where they stand. Quickblox is approach similar to StackMob, who refuses to charge based upon API call, atributing it to a sucess tax. But Quickblox is somewhat different, as they still charge for hard costs like bandwidth and storage--Stackmob only charges by feature. I'm trying to understand all the approaches to BaaS pricing, which was also a panel discussion last week at API Strategy & Practice between Parse, Stackmob, Kinvey, Kii, Cloudmine and Firebase...

Get A List Of All Classes At UC Berkeley With API Call

25 February 2013
I see a lot of dead simple, yet meaningful uses of APIs come across my desk (I don’t have a desk, why do I keep saying this?) each day. One I saw today is something every school, whether K-12, college or university should have. Using the UC Berkeley API, you can get a list of all departments: _curl -v -X GET "https://apis-dev.berkeley.edu/cxf/asws/department?departmentCode=a&app_id=309fe68e&app_key=51b9d67dc4f0501eed763822a641b17b"_ Then with the proper department code you can pull a list of classes: _curl -v -X GET "https://apis-dev.berkeley.edu/cxf/asws/classoffering?departmentCode=ARCH&app_id=your-id&app_key=your-key"_ With the proper keys, anyone can easily pull relevant UC Berkeley department and class data to use in website or app, or even populate a Google Spreadsheet for other purposes...

Exactly the API Strategy & Practice Conference I Envisioned

25 February 2013
Its the Monday morning after the API Strategy & Practice Conference. The conference went off without a hitch, and was exactly the conference I envisioned when 3Scale first contacted me seven months ago about the idea of putting on the event.  In July of 2012 Steve Willmott the CEO and founder of 3Scale sent me an email stating: ..we're thinking of finally getting round to organizing an API focused event (conference) which tries to help spread knowledge about API, promote good practice and broaden the API tent beyond what it is today. The aim would be an event which combined both "business and practice" - meaning one element which tackles critical topics such as business models, strategy, success stories etc...

The BaaS Reality TV Show Panel at APIStrat

25 February 2013
One of the lively discussions at the API Strategy & Practice conference in NYC last week was the backend as a service (BaaS) panel I moderated towards the end of the first day. We brought together Ilya Sukhar (@ilyasu) of Parse, Morgan Bickle (@morganbickle) of Kinvey, Marc Weil (@marcweil) of Cloudmine, Miko Matasumura (@mikojava) of Kii, Ty Amell (@tyamell) of StackMob James Tamplin (@jamestamplin) of Firebase to talk about the fast growing BaaS space. I kicked things off with some pretty standard stuff, by having each person introduce themselves and explain what they do. Next I asked them to explain what differentiates themselves from the other folks on the couch...

AWS API Reference Architecture

13 February 2013
I was checking out the updates to the AWS Reference Architecture, where they provide blueprints for how you can use AWS. In this version AWS provides an e-commerce architecture reference--providing a system overview, a detailed architectural diagram, and a list of the AWS services used in the architectural approach. The AWS e-commerce architecture reference provides three separate areas: Web Frontend - This is a reference architecture for the web frontend of an e-commerce site. It makes use of Route 53, CloudFront, Elastic Beanstalk, S3, ElastiCache, DynamoDB and CloudSearch Checkout Pipeline - This is a reference architecture for a secure and highly available checkout pipeline service for an e-commerce site...

Google Launches HTML Game Development Course with Udacity

13 February 2013
Google is using the online learning platform Udacity to teach developers about game development. The new HTML Game Development course (CS255), is the online classroom for the programming class, coupled with a series of study groups hosted at Google's San Francisco office and a contest providing developers an incentive to complete the class. Google is kicking off the course with a live session, with Udacity CEO Sebastian Thrun on Thursday, February 14th at 10:30 AM and the class will be taught by Colt McAnlis (Developer Advocate, Chrome Developer Relations), Peter Lubbers(Program Manager, Chrome Developer Relations), and Sean Bennett (Architect, Udacity). The HTML Game Development course from Google is an interesting approach to developer education by providing an online course bundled with in-person or streamed workshops and study groups, bundled with a contest to help motivate students...

Salesforce Plans to Move Code Share to Github

13 February 2013
Salesforce has a pretty cool Code Share area within the DeveloperForce ecosystem, which allows developers to share code snippets with the rest of the community. Its a pretty cool way for anyone to share their techniques as code samples in a variety of languages, then letting the community vet the code, fork larger projects, and collaborate to improve the code for the greater good. Acknowledging that they don't have the internal resources to fully support the process, Salesforce has halted code samples submission, announcing plans to migrate the Code Sharing program to Github. Github is already the largest code sharing platform, providing social tools that developers are used to. Salesforce's publiclackowledgement that they don't have the internal resources to operate, the fact they identify the importance of such a program, and the decision to migrate to Github are all very savvy moves by the API pioneer...

Stripe Adds Jquery Tools To Its API Embed Strategy

13 February 2013
The payment API provider Stripe released a jQuery payment tool, a general purpose library for building credit card forms, validating input, and formatting numbers. The library was developed to support Checkout, Stripe's embeddable checkout widget. Simple, but extremely useful libraries like this can go a long way to introduce developers to your APIs and put valuable tools into their toolbox, that will help them be successful.  Something that can go a long way in establishing a loyalty between you and your developer community. You can find a live demo of the library, as well as the source on GitHub.

Open Source BaaS Project In The European Union

12 February 2013
The Backend as a Service (BaaS) space is picking up momentum in 2013. I’m tracking on 20 BaaS providers, in hopes of better understanding what is being offered in this space. Today I came across an interesting new, open source BaaS platform, being developed in the European Union called OPENi. The project describes itself as: OPENi is a European Union ICT Framework Programme (FP7) Information and communications technology (ICT) Collaborative project. Over the 30 month project duration we aim to deliver an open-source, cloud based platform for integrating mobile services. With a mission to: Our mission is to inspire innovation in the European mobile applications industry, by radically improving the interoperability of cloud-based services and trust in personal cloud storage through the development of a consumer-centric, open source mobile cloud applications platform...

The 72 Companies Speaking At API Strategy & Practice

12 February 2013
The API Strategy & Practice Conference is happening next week in NYC. I have had so much fun pulling together the schedule of keynotes, panels, sessions and the talks on the 429 - Too Many Requests stage.   The number of requests we've received for sponsoring, speaking and attending has been overhelming.  Resulting in a sold out conference, and an amazing lineup of speakers.  I was spending some time tidying up the speakers page and sponsor page today, and was so impressed with the companies involved, I had to share. There are 72 companies represented at API Strategy & Practice: I don't know about you, but I'm pretty blown away by the list of companies that will be attendance...

Public Library Operations Machine-Readable By Default

12 February 2013
Palo Alto has opened up city data, including operational data about the Palo Alto City Library. Using the Palo Alto City open data portal you can access machine-readable data sets about various aspects of library operations including visitor count, checkouts by type of materia, information and circulation services, programs attendance, website visitors count and how library funds are spent. The Palo Alto open data portal provides widgets with data grids and charts derived from data. But you can also request data sets and access data via the City of Palo Alto's API. The city hopes that it will increase community engagement by making data open and machine readable by default. The city is looking to throw hackathons that will develop solutions, and increase public engagement in city government, and ultimately save money and enhance city services...

Facebook Launches a New Video Channel for Developers

12 February 2013
Facebook launched a new video channel last week, dedicated to keeping developers up to date on the latest news, tutorials, speaking sessions from the Facebook developer ecosystem. Facebook is going to provide content for web and mobile developers, with attention in other specialty areas like gaming and information for publishers. The first edition of the channel will be recorded live on February 19th, with Director of Product Doug Purdy, with the top 3 things every mobile developer needs to know. I'm adding a video channel to my list of API building blocks. I don't think you have to be a Facebook before you have your own channel. Using Google Hangouts + Youtube is an easy way for any API owner to start their own video channel to support developers...

Bringing ETL to the Masses with APIs

10 February 2013
I’m spending a lot of time lately thinking about emerging trends in API usage. One area I’m tracking on, is around companies that are offering simple services that provide interoperability and automation between cloud platforms, using APIs. The best known examples are from companies like If This Then That (IFTTT) and Zapier, who provide end users with simple icon based tools for defining tasks that move data between SaaS platforms. Its tough to define this space, which in enterprise speak is really just Extract Transform Load (ETL), which is historically a process to migrate information between systems in an enterprise, using data sources and web services. But with the popularity of web APIs, we need to rethink ETL in the context of the cloud and update how we approach interoperability between the growing number of API driven platforms...

Which BaaS Pricing Model Is Better?

07 February 2013
I’ve been processing a conversation over at Branch, that was triggered by a story in TechCrunch by Sarah Perez(@sarahintampa) called, “StackMob Ratchets Up The Competition: Makes API Calls Free, Launches A Marketplace For Third-Party Mobile Services”. There are several layers to the convSteersation, the part I’m focusing on is about how BaaS providers are structuring their pricing, in which Sarah Perez writes: StackMob is now making API calls free. This latter news will impact the competitive landscape, which includes startups like Parse, Kinvey and others, all of which have traditionally charged developers as API calls increase alongside an app’s popularity. Making the argument that: Today, developers have to have an understanding of how many API calls they make, and if an app becomes really successful, developers are penalized for that with increased pricing...

Augmenting Popular Platforms With New Features Using APIs

05 February 2013
There is an interesting post on the Parse blog about instaDM, which is a service built using Parse, the BaaS platform, that provides private messaging in the Instagram ecosystem. This is a very interesting approach to externally developing features for another platform or service. I think Parse says it well: Even the hottest new apps, however, aren’t perfect and that’s where clever innovators can fill in the gaps with a great idea. Parse-powered instaDM is one such innovation. On one hand, this approach is a gamble. All Instagram has to do is copy what you've done, put it in the roadmap, and your done.  Finished. On the other hand, I think this is a very realistic way of pushing a platform forward, by external developers, using APIs...

White House Announces Round Two of the Presidential Innovation Fellows

05 February 2013

Google Adjusts Adwords API Access Tiers

04 February 2013
Google is adjusting their pricing model for the Adwords API, acknowledging that having a free usage tier is important.  Making the API easier to access, while also ensuring a certain QOS. Google has opted to go with two levels of API access: Basic - Basic access is provided by default and allows up to 10,000 operations per day Standard - Standard access is available to qualified developers and has no daily limit on operations With both basic or standard access, there are no charges for AdWords API usage. Google is just looking to maintain quality over which developers can hammer on the API, while acknowledging a free tier allows for experimentation and innovation.  All you have to do is apply to be part of the standard level, if you reach limits of basic tier...

Salesforce Discusses Its Eclipse Plugin Release Approach

04 February 2013
Salesforce talked a little bit about its strategy around the development and release strategy around the Salesforce Eclipse plug-in.  Providing a little transparency into how they stagger its API releases as well as waiting to release their Eclipse plug-in, until API release is complete. I’m more interested in this story from an API building block perspective. An eclipse plug-in seems like a building block for only the most mature APIs out there, and especially ones targeting the enterprise. An eclipse plug-in is not for every API, but I think I will add it as a building block to consider. It also seems like something a 3rd party provider could step up and find success with as well, by building a single or suite of Eclipse plug-ins that provide integrated API developer tools across popular or high value web APIs for Eclipse users...

Open By Default for New Generation of API Integrators

03 February 2013
I did a presentation at the DC API Meetup, when I was in Washington DC last week. My talk was some of my usual material around the history, business and politics of APIs, but included a section on trends, where I covered some of the newer aggregation providers like Singly, BaaS providers like Parse and automation tools like IFTTT. At the end of the meetup, we did a QA panel session, and Javaun Moradi (@javaun), product manager at NPR digital, made a great point about the reliability and stability of this new generation of third party platforms building aggregate, backend, automation or other types of providers who are in turn, dependent on other API providers. Javaun questioned the reliability of this new generation of startups, who are newly funded, most likely not yet profitable, dependent on other APIs, and are most likely going to be acquired later on down the road, or go out of business when funding runs out...

Deploy and Manage API on Amazon Web Services (AWS)

03 February 2013
For the longest time I would get asked, "Which API service provider should I use to deploy my APIs?". This was a tough question, because historically the API management providers don't help you deploy your APIs, they only help you manage them. Deploying your APIs was up to you. Generally you already had some sort of internal system that you would use to generate RESTful interfaces or you'd go find your own open source API framework and deploy. Then you'd proxy or connect your API to one of the API service providers. These lines are now blurred by providers like Intel with their enterprise API gateway, and through API deployment resources from 3Scale. 3Scale is investing in open source server technology for NGINX, and blueprints for API deployment using Amazon Web Services...

Individual API Deployments Will Get Smaller and More Numerous

02 February 2013
Master API architect at Layer7 Technologies Mike Amundsen (@mamund) has a great post this week on Four Tech-Related Trends That Will Shape 2013. One of the predictions that caught my eye was that "individual service deployments on the Web will get smaller and more numerous"--he clarifies it with: Influenced by the existence of the many mobile apps running on a single device, Web-based services will become small, single-focused offerings that (in the words of Doug Mcllroy) “do one thing and do it well.” This will also explode the number of available services. The advantage of this trend will be an increase in the agility and evolvability of service offerings. The challenge will be an increased need for governance at the “micro-service” level...

The Scientific Archive of Biodiversity Audio and Video Recordings Needs an API

02 February 2013
I was listening to Did You Hear That? I Think It Was The Sound Of A Walrus, on NPR this morning. It is about the Macaulay Library, which is: ...the world's largest and oldest scientific archive of biodiversity audio and video recordings. Our mission is to collect and preserve recordings of each species' behavior and natural history, to facilitate the ability of others to collect and preserve such recordings, and to actively promote the use of these recordings for diverse purposes spanning scientific research, education, conservation, and the arts. The library's collection has a total of more than 7,000 hours of sounds, the result of an 80-year collaboration between the scientific community and the library's volunteer collaborators...

One API Discovery Definition to Rule Them All

02 February 2013
When I talk about API discovery, in-person at events, or on my blog(s), I notice people automatically default to thinking I mean a universal API discovery language that will work for all web APIs. I think the technologists that operate in the API space are always striving for technical perfection--resulting in the discussions that you see around REST, HATEOAS, OAuth and similarly for this one about API discovery. I’m thankful for the passion and dedication of the technologists in this space, but when it comes to API discovery, I’m never talking about a universal language or approach. I personally just don’t believe there can be one definition to rule them all. When I reference API discovery, I’m focusing on API discovery at the provider level, and providing information and resources that allow people who launch APIs to be successful...

API Server Mashups Will Increase But Client Mashups Will Decline

02 February 2013
Master API architect at Layer7 Technologies Mike Amundsen (@mamund) has a great post this week on Four Tech-Related Trends That Will Shape 2013. One of the predictions that caught my eye was that "server mash-ups will increase but client mash-ups will decline"--he clarifies it with: The increasing popularity of languages like Node.js, Erlang and Closure will make implementing server-side mash-ups more efficient and easier to maintain than doing the same work within a client application; especially for the mobile platform. This will reduce the “chattiness” of client-side applications and increase the security and flexibility of server-side implementations. The result will be a perceived increase in responsiveness and a reduced use of battery power on mobile apps...

Method to the Madness

02 February 2013
I'm always working to find a way to organize my world, to help me better keep track of my wealth of content and information, while also assisting people in navigating my sometimes chaotic world of sites, blogs and projects. To help organize this, I'm breaking my navigation on KinLane.com into two main groups.  The first area is overview information about my world in the following sections: Blog - My personal thoughts and random observations in blog form About - My official bio that I use across most of my profile, which changes each year Research - Any areas I'm currently researching or looking to research in the near future Projects - Projects that I've completed and made publicly available (hopefully on Github) Talks - Some video and slideshows from talks that I've given Images - A variety of logos, photos and drawings from across my world as API Evangelist Mission - The mission statement for my evangelism platform Contact - Various ways you can get a hold of me The second area is providing links to all my main properties: API Evangelist - Business of APIs API Voice - Politics of APIs API Stack - My ranking system for the API space Hack Weekends - A resource site focused on hackathons IPA Evangelist - My personal blogging about my love of IPAs Hacker Storytelling - A format I'm using in 2013 to make my projects open and machine readable by default When you google my name, KinLane...

The API Evangelist Toolbox

02 February 2013
I've spent a lot of time lately looking for new tools that will help you plan, develop, deploy and manage APIs.  My goal is to keep refining the API Evangelist Tool section to provide complete API tool directory you can filter by language or other tag.   I've added a number of open source tools to my database lately.  But I know there are many more out  there.  So I put out on the Twitterz that I was looking for anything that is missing. Here is what I got: @kinlane runscope.com/oauth_tool — John Sheehan (@johnsheehan) February 2, 2013 @kinlane github.com/devo-ps/carte — John Sheehan (@johnsheehan) February 2, 2013 @kinlane I/O docs. what all do you want it to cover? i’d put requestb...

A Conversation About APIs in Washington DC

01 February 2013
I came to Washington DC this week for meetings with a couple federal agencies and a handful of private companies who contract with our government--including a conversation last night at the DC API Meetup Group, which met at NPR offices downtown. The API Meetup started with pizza, a healthy selection of beer and networking with around 50 API professionals and API curious from around the DC area. I was able to meet about 15 folks I know online, but have never had the opportunity to connect with in real life. Ben Balter (@BenBalter), one of the Presidential Innovation Fellow (PIF) kicked off the conversation with a presentation of some of the cool API discovery, CSV to API, DB to API and various tool he's developed during his time as a innovation fellow...

New Open Source Backend as a Services Platform for Game Developers

01 February 2013
A new player in the Backend as a Service (BaaS) space has emerged, from former OpenFeint co-founder Peter Relan--called OpenKit.  The new BaaS platform is targeting game developers, providing cross-platform tools for both iOS and Android.  The core features of the gaming BaaS platform are: Cloud data sync - Save game progress in the cloud with data storage. Sync it across both iOS and Android devices for a consistent gaming experience Leaderboards - Drop-in leaderboard SDK's for both iOS and Android. Give your users the opportunity to compete against millions of other players Facebook & Twitter auth - Users login with familiar third party social networks like Facebook and Twitter...

Storytelling Is Essential Companion To Open Data and APIs at World Bank

01 February 2013
I had the pleasure of being on stage with Tim Herzog (@tgherzog), a Open Data Specialist from the World Bank yesterday at the DC API meetup at NPR. During the QA panel, at the end of the meetup, a question came from the audience, stating that open data from government is often boring, and thus is the reason much of what we see built on government isn't that exciting--alluding that there has to be more high value, exciting data that isn't being released. While I agree that much of the data made available from open government initiatives is boring and stale, and there are probably much better datasets available, I also think this is more of a storytelling problem, than a data problem. After the question was asked, I quickly answered by pointing to my left at Tim Herzog, and said the World Bank does an awesome job at this...

Traffic and Weather - Virtualized API Stacks

01 February 2013
I recently added the Traffic and Weather podcast to the right hand menu for everyone to enjoy. What John Sheehan (@johnsheehan ) and Steve Marx (@smarx) are doing on the podcast is SO needed in the API space, I highly recommend subscribing to the podcast in your itunes and listening regularly. I was honored to be critiqued in the podcast this week, where they “gently” disagreed with my post from earlier this week on my speculation around virtual API stacks. So I wanted to “gently” respond and help clarify. The first 60 seconds, pretty much sum up rebuttal, where they make my argument for me by saying IFTT and Zapier are already doing this? Which is the whole basis for my story except I use Singly and Temboo as examples...

Protecting Your Brand With API Branding Guidelines

29 January 2013
One of the top five concerns I hear from companies considering APIs is regarding losing control of their brand. With APIs being about access to raw data and resources, companies immediately think that developers will extract the value, without any attribution or reference to the companies brand. Even with this being a major concern, I see many APIs implement very poor branding guidelines, giving developers zero direction regarding how to properly provide attribution.  This is a missed opportunity to not just protect the API providers brand, but actually extend it and increase its value. With this in mind, I'm always on the lookout for good examples of API branding guidelines.  One recent example I came across while monitoring my API Stack, is from the Active Network which provides activity and outdoor content via their APIs...

App.net File API And The Opportunity for Private Label BaaS Resources

29 January 2013
App.net has just released a File API to add to their messaging and communication stack, allowing any App.net account to natively store files via the social platform. Each App.net account will be given a 10GB file storage area, allowing applications to read and write files, that can be linked and embedded within App.net communications. This approach reminds me of what I’m seeing within the backend as a service (BaaS) space with other common developer resources like user management, object storage and key-value stores. App.net is just making sure developers have the resources they will need to be successful building web and mobile apps with the App.net API--a similar motivation for BaaS providers as wel as other API providers...

Virtualized API Stacks

28 January 2013
Up until now we tend to think of APIs individually--we approach integration in terms of the Twilio API, Twitter API or the Facebook API. But as the number of public APIs has grown beyond 8K, and an unknown amount of internal and partner APIs become available, we are seeing new patterns of aggregation and interoperability emerge from companies like Singly, but also seeing automation be added into the mix by companies like Temboo, and entire backend stacks from providers like Parse. These new aggregated or backend stacks of API driven resources can be as general as object and key-value stores, user management and other developer commodities we see backend as a service providers (BaaS) bring to the table, or they can be very personal like the photos Singly is aggregating across Flickr, Facebook and Instagram and with friends and followers across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn...

Does Your API Have a Built in Incubator or Accelerator Program?

28 January 2013
API ecosystems are all about research & development, and an opportunity for incubating ideas and apps in a way that invites 3rd party developers and companies to develop innovative ways of using your company assets and resources. I’ve discussed incubation within an API ecosystem before, and how companies are not just identifying developer talent and the best apps, but actually investing in companies via their API. A new example of this in action is Nike's launch of their Nike+ Accelerator--a partnership with TechStars that will host 10 companies for a three-month, immersive, mentor-driven startup accelerator designed to spur development on the NikeFuel, the Nike+ FuelBand, and Nike+ Running API platform...

I Am Speaking at NPR for the DC API User Group Next Thursday in Washington DC

24 January 2013
I am invited to speak at the Washington DC API User Group, next Thursday January 31st 2013, at the NPR offices in Washington D.C. It looks like a pretty sweet linup of people, gathering for API meetup: 18:00 - 18:30 Food, drinks and networking 18:30 - 18:40 Welcome and introductions 18:40 - 18:55 Ben Balter, Presidential Innovation Fellow, MyGov 18:55 - 19:10 Kin Lane, API Evangelist 19:10 - 19:25 David Hale, PM for Pillbox, National Library of Medicine 19:25 - 19:40 Eric Herzog, Open Data Specialist, World Bank 19:40 - 19:55 Private sector presenter TBA 19:55 - 20:00 Refill your beverage 20:00 - 20:30 Panel discussions with Alex Howard, O'Reilly Media 20:30 - 21:00 Networking If you are in Washington DC, make sure and come by and join in the API conversation, and say hello...

The Next Generation of API Discovery

24 January 2013
For the last seven years, when you wanted to find an API you went to ProgrammableWeb. It has been the definitive way to discover new APIs, and responsible for all the buzz in the space that has gotten the industry to where it is. Now that ProgrammableWeb is at 8400 APIs in its directory, and adding 50-100 each week, it will continue to get even more difficult to discover APIs. Even for someone like me who has looked at thousands of APIs, it can be very difficult and time consuming to find the API or APIs you are looking for. In 2013 there are even more ways to find APIs, new approaches that are looking to define the next generation of API discovery and consumption. Currently I’m tracking on 4 API directories in addition to ProgrammableWeb: APIhub - APIhub is the best way to publish, discover and consume APIs...

Google Goes All In With Github, You Should Too With Your API

24 January 2013
Google is migrating samples and tools for App Engine, BigQuery, Compute Engine, Cloud SQL, and Cloud Storage to a new Github account, they are calling the Google Cloud Platform. Google is going all in with its use of Github, something I'm encouraging API owners to do. They are working to manage all of their essential API tools there like their start projects, which show developers how to get started with Google APIs as well as other helper tools like the OAuth 2.0 Helper, that helps developers be successful. Github provides a lot of benefit beyond the obvious aspect of open sourcing your code. Google is actively engaging with developers using Github alongside all of these open source projects...

Traffic and Weather Now Available on API Evangelist

24 January 2013
I just added a new feature to the right hand menu, for the podcast Traffic and Weather, a podcast about APIs and the cloud from John Sheehan (@johnsheehan) and Steve Marx (@smarx). I’m big podcast fan, and I"m always looking for something I can listen to in the background while I’m coding or writing stories.  Traffic and Weather is great for this. The podcast dives into various topics ranging from Webhooks to oAuth, but keeps things light, where I think even non-technical folks can get up to speed on the latest in the space. John and Steve make things very informative, while being friendly and keeping it conversational. I added a widget to my right hand menu, which will always pull the latest episode from Traffic and Weather...

Estimating the Number of Non-Public APIs

24 January 2013
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. ProgrammableWeb is known for publishing the number of public APIs in its directory, and they regularly present an impressive graph that shows how this number has increased exponentially over time. However, not all APIs are public, and ProgrammableWeb is not able to obtain information on how many non-public APIs exist. SDK Bridge writes API documentation as a service, and many of our customers have us document their non-public APIs. That puts us in a unique position to be able to estimate what percentage of APIs is public compared to non-public...

Making Transparency Reports Standard Operating Procedure

23 January 2013
Google released an update to the Transparency Report today, showing information regarding government requests for users' data on the Google Network. Google's transparency report proves details on Government requests including who they come from, where the requests originate, types of requests and other critical information about how our government monitor us citizens and ultimately the entire world online. There are stories on other blogs that state Facebook and other platforms should follow Google's lead with transparency reports of their own. I agree. We will never see our government mandate industry leaders to do this, so us people have to lobby corporations to follow Google's lead. I see this type of transparency being critical to any company claiming they have an "open platform" or "open APIs"...

Hacker Storytelling

23 January 2013
I love to write. My girlfriend has really help me kindle this passion. Thank you @audreywatters. After 2.5 years of telling stories on API Evangelist, I’ve gotten pretty good at organizing my ideas, and putting out stories that showcase the best (and worst) from the Business of APIs. I’ve gotten so efficient at it in 2012, I even launched API Voice which is dedicated to the politics of APIs, the API Stack which is dedicated to top APIs and Hack Weekends which is all about hackathons. When I meet people in the real world, I often hear, “You sure blog a lot, I see like 5 posts a day coming from you!” I do write a lot, but it comes in waves. I tend to write a lot of stories all at once, pumping out 15-20 pieces and then I trickle them out across the appropriate domain over the next couple days...

Google Drive SDK Early Access Program

23 January 2013
Google has an SDK early access program setup for the Google Drive platform, and is inviting a select group of dedicated Google Drive developers to join the program. Giving them access to upcoming Google Drive SDK features and the opportunity to provide feedback. Google isn't accepting everyone--they will be screening applicants based upon the type and quality of the application, number of users, and ability to implement and provide feedback on new features as they're made available. An early access program seems like a good idea for API owners. It gives you the chance to test out your alpha and beta APIs, client libraries, SDK's with a controlled audience, before you release them out into the wild...

WSO2 Now Has API Reporting With Google Analytics

21 January 2013
WSO2's open source API management platform for creating, managing, consuming and monitoring APIs, now has the ability to track API usage through Google Analytics. Since APIs are deployed using HTTP, the same transport we are using for websites, it makes sense that we should be able to see statistics for both our websites and APIs, side-by-side using Google Analytics. After creating a new profile for your API in Google Analytics you can put the tracking code into your WSO2 API Management interface and begin seeing real-time or standard (24 hour) reporting on API traffic in the Google Analytics interface. Since Google Analytics has an API and widgets, you will be able to use this data easily in other reports or system integrations that may need access to your API usage data...

API Strategy & Practice Conference in New York is SOLD OUT!!

21 January 2013
It is 30 days until the API Strategy & Practice conference in New York City, February 21st and 22nd, and the event is now sold out! The event will be a 275 person conference focused on discussing the API industry. Since the event was postponed after Hurricane Sandy, the demand to get in and speak was overwhelming and conference tickets didn’t last long either. We were able to keep almost all the original session lineup while make a couple changes and squeezing in a couple new speakers, where possible. I am really pleased with how the event has come together. We have an amazing lineup and from looking at the attendee list, it looks like it will be a diverse groups of folks in attendance, discussing APIs...

Digital Strategy: 20 Federal Agencies, 76 data API and 75 Mobile API Initiatives

19 January 2013
It has been a while since I provided an update on the White House Digital Strategy.  I monitor the progress of federal agencies participation programmatically, using JSON reports published by each agency at the agencies domain, /digitalstrategy. After running the script today, I notice 20 federal agencies with active footprints.  There are about five more, but there are issues with the JSON version of their digital stratgies--I really want to focus on the programmatic value. So, across these 20 agencies I find 76 data API initiatives and 75 mobile API projects. To bring you up to speed, there are two specific milestones in the Digital Government Strategy that specifically address API deployment: 2...

Moving From API Area to API Stack

18 January 2013
Finding APIs that compliment your API, and talking about the mutual benefits is nothing new. When I worked with the print API Mimeo, I would write code that used Mimeo API in conjunction with Box API or Dropbox API. Mashing up or bundling your APIs with other complimentary service can really help, when you are trying to explain the value your API delivers. I’m beginning to see patterns of even deeper integration and partnerships between APIs emerge--where one API provider will resell the API of another provider.  APIs partnering with other APIs isn’t that new, but reselling of each others API services to their developers is a fairly new concept, providing a potential new wholesale channel for API providers...

Six Backend as a Service(BaaS) Providers Discuss the Industry at #APIStrat in NYC

18 January 2013
Backend as a Service (BaaS), sometimes called Mobile Backend is a Service (MBaaS) is a growing trend I’m monitoring at API Evangelist. I’m tracking on 20 providers in the space, with two newly added open-source BaaS platforms. Beyond the research, stories and analysis on BaaS, I just added a BaaS panel at the API Strategy & Practice Conference in New York City, February 21st and 22nd. The panel will include six of the leading BaaS platforms: Marc Weil (@marcweil) of Cloudmine James Tamplin (@jamestamplin) of Firebase Miko Matasumura (@mikojava) of Kii Morgan Bickle (@morganbickle) of Kinvey Ilya Sukhar (@ilyasu) of Parse Ty Amell (@tyamell) of StackMob  API play a critical role in BaaS platforms by providing interfaces for the common services emerging in the BaaS space, like object storage, user management and location, to name a few, but also bring in other 3rd party services like Twitter and Facebook...

An MMS API For The Next Generation of Mobile Apps

17 January 2013
I am a big fan of APIs that do one thing and do it well, like Twilio. I had lunch with the team from a similar API yesterday, called Mogreet. The Mogreet API lets you send and receive text or multimedia messages and use the platform to transcode, host and send video, audio and images for your web or mobile application. When you think of the popularity of Instagram, the rebirth of Flickr and the ubiquitous value of photos and images online, it just makes sense that MMS is going to play a critical role in mobile app development in 2013. I have a daughter, who sometimes responds to my SMS, email, chats and facebook messages. Her attention span doesn’t include always responding to her dad in "his" preferred formats...

Markdown APIs and Future of Reporting on Data

17 January 2013
I just posted a story on how I like the Guardian’s approach to data journalism, and spending time evolving on last nights thoughts about the possibilities of Markup APIs. As I’m migrating much of the front-end of my websites to run on a home brew of Github Pages, Jekyll and JSON fueled Mustache Templates, I am seeing more of the potential of not just Markup APIs, but Markdown APIs that will run in a purely client side environment. Imagine if I could go to a provider like the Guardian, US Census or other high value data provider, grab a link to a Markdown API JavaScript file that is relevant to a story or report you are working on.  With this Markdown API I would be given a whole dictionary of markdown you could use...

API Management Platform Emergent One Launches Free Tier

17 January 2013
Emergent One, one of the newest API management players on the block, just announced a new free development tier. The Emergent One platform provides simple, cloud-based tools for connecting to your MySQL or PostgreSQL database, and quickly generating an API from your database. I didn’t sign up for their service when they first launched, because they didn’t have a free tier, and I’m unwilling to put in credit cards and commit to brand new services. This is something I have problem with from running development and IT teams who use a wide variety of cloud services. I would spend a great deal of time each month chasing down charges and other issues from cloud services that were being experimented with...

Markup APIs and API Scripting Platforms

16 January 2013
Over the holidays I added a new section to API Evangelist called "trends". One of the areas I’m tracking on is what I’m calling “scripting platforms”. While you can program against any API using the language of your choice, these platforms are aggregating APIs and make available through a custom language stack. This approach is different than what I’m seeing from aggregate APIs like Singly. Scripting platforms may offer aggregate APIs, but are also providing a way to easily script against them, in new and abstracted ways. I’m still trying to understand each company, as well as the nuances between each approach--so stay tuned. In the last couple weeks, I’m seeing a possible new approach to programming against APIs come into focus, one that is using HTML instead of scripting--using Markup APIs...

Googles Embeddable Approach to the Civic Information API

16 January 2013
I stumbled across the Google Civic Information API today, which allows developers to build applications around civic information including polling place, early vote location, candidate data, and election official information. As soon as I landed on the home page, I scanned the left hand navigation, and noticed the option for "embeddable tool". As you know embeddable tools are are something I advocate all API owners should consider when assembling the building blocks of your API. I like Google's approach to the Google Voter Information Tool, which lets users look up their polling place, early vote sites, ballot, and election official information for the US 2012 General Election. To support the embeddable tool, Google provides a quick overview, with instructions for "quick embed" and more granular options allowing anyone to configure region, address, local and other advanced settings...

Netflix Storytelling And Why You Should Tell Stories of Your Platform

10 January 2013
The mission of API Evangelist is centered around telling stories from the API space, shedding light on the innovative things developers and API providers are doing across all business sectors. Over the holidays I rolled my history of APIs series into its own section. It can be very difficult to understand who the players were in the API game, last year, let alone 10 years ago. If there aren’t stories about what happened in 2001, it can be very difficult to piece together the history. In 2012 I also scaled up my API monitoring system to track the blogs and tweets of over 1000 APIs, providing a way for me to track activity across the space and establish my own API ranking system resulting in what I cal the API Stack...

In API We Trust

09 January 2013
If you've met me in person, you know I always wear my logo on my t-shirt.  I'm not a graphic designer, and when I needed a logo for API Evangelist, I just wrapped the words in JSON and called it good.  It has stuck.   When I was in France speaking at API Days, the art director at faberNovel drew some very cool sketches of me.  He recently followed up with some more high resolution images I can use for t-shirts.   Very cool! Thank you so much Benoit Talabot and faberNovel!  I'm working on ordering some t-shirts using the work, right now on Inkd.

Make Sure You Are At API Strategy & Practice in February

07 January 2013
I'm rebooting the marketing and PR for the API Strategy & Practice conference after the holidayz. After finding a new date for the event on February 21st and 22nd, we've gone through the session and speaker lineup and almost the entire line-up is coming back, with a couple of new entries including a new keynote from Jeff Lawson of Twilio. We had a whole bunch of new requests for speaker additions over the holidays, and while we tried to squeeze in where we could, with such a killer lineup and the fact that everyone was committed to the new dates, we had to decline some pretty good talks. Over the next week we are going through and confirming with all registered attendees to verify they will be attending, but since the event was sold out before hurricane Sandy, I expect we will be announcing the event as sold out pretty soon...

API Voice in 2013

01 January 2013
After looking back at 2012, I wanted a January 1, 2013 blog post for my blogs. My first blog post of 2012 was my tour schedule for January, 2012. While it was a pretty busy time for evangelizing and hackathons, I wanted something a little deeper. I’m not sure what, but I will play with the format year to year, until I find what I’m looking for. Every year I rewrite my bio, based upon where I am. I’ve been doing this since 2009. This year I will write inaugural blog posts along with my bio rework, and post to each of my active blogs. We’ll see if it resonates again in 12 months and I do it again in 2014.

API Evangelist in 2013

01 January 2013
After looking back at 2012, I wanted a January 1, 2013 blog post for my blogs. My first blog post of 2012 was my tour schedule for January, 2012. While it was a pretty busy time for evangelizing and hackathons, I wanted something a little deeper. I’m not sure what, but I will play with the format year to year, until I find what I’m looking for. Every year I rewrite my bio, based upon where I am in my life. I’ve been doing this since 2009. This year I will write inaugural blog posts along with my bio reworking, and post to each of my active blogs. We’ll see if it resonates again in 12 months, and I do it again in 2014.

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