The API Evangelist Blog - 2014

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


Adding Two More Building Blocks For API Rate Limiting

30 December 2014
After giving some recent attention to the Twitter API ecosystem, a place where I always learn a lot, I’m shifting up my API rate limit building block, in my list of API management resources. If you aren’t familiar with my concept of “building blocks”, in 2010 I started looking at the top APIs, and tracking on the common “building blocks” these providers are using to successfully operate their API platform. As I go into 2015, I’m still refining, and adding to this list, in hopes of establishing a common list of building blocks, that any API provider can consider as they are designing, and operating their own platforms. Until now, I had a single building block, underneath a category I titled “service levels”, which I called the rate limit page...

A Refreshing First Impression When You First Land In The Etsy API Area

30 December 2014
When you first land on any API developer landing page, the impression you get, can be one of the most important aspects of on-boarding with an API that I know of. More time than not, I'm pretty confused when I land on the landing page of APIs, being forced to look for what I need to get up and running with API what an API does, and how I will have to integrate with it. Anytime I come across an API landing page, where I'm immediately given the best possible first impression I can image, I have to showcase. This just happened while taking another look at the Etsy API, which I found refreshingly simple--yet complete. Everything on the Etsy API developer landing page has a purpose in assisting me during on-boarding with the Etsy API...

White Label API Reciprocity And Interoperability

29 December 2014
I had someone ask me, if out of the 30 API reciprocity providers I track on, if I knew if one of them offered white or private label services. I couldn’t confidently say whether or not any of them did, and as I do with my other questions, the best way to find out, is to put it out into the universe, and see whether or not one of the providers will let me know, or one of them will do it. It would make sense for companies like Zapier to offer a solution that would allow for any company to resell their services, and offer specialty versions of their API reciprocity, interoperability, and automation services. As more companies are operating online, spread across various cloud environments, the need for ETL in the cloud, or like I prefer to call them, API reciprocity services, is only going to increase...

Zapier Baked In By Default For The Rev Transcription API Platform

29 December 2014
I’m always working to help API providers understand the importance of designing their API developer portals, with a larger audience in mind. Not everyone who visits your portal, will be the one integrating with your API, and providing information for non-developers about the value delivered via API resources, can go a long ways to reach the media, and decision makers at companies who will be potentially be making decision around integrating with a service. I look at a lot of API portals, and always enjoy the ones that speak to the widest possible audience. I also enjoy when there are entire sections dedicated to providing tools and resources for non-developers. One example of this, that I found recently is available over at the transcription and translation platform from Rev, on the page they have dedicated to Zapier...

Adding Rate Limits For APIs In The Documentation For Each Endpoint

29 December 2014
As I look through the API efforts of various providers, I’m always looking for the little things that can make on-boarding, and sustained integration with an API as frictionless as possible. One of the building blocks that I recommend API providers employ in their operations, is a page that explains API rate limits—providing vital information on how API resources are throttled (or not). An improvement on the standard rate limit building block, can be seen at Twitter. Inline in the Twitter API documentation, there are details about rate limiting for that specific endpoint. This way, as you are learning about each endpoint, you can also understand what limitations are in place. A small addition that could prove critical, for any API provider, especially Twitter, who has some of the most complex rate limiting of any API I know of...

Credit Based API Pricing, With Monthly And One-Time Plans

29 December 2014
I'm reviewing the business models of many of the top API platforms over the last couple of weeks, and I’m seeing some pretty interesting approaches to API monetization. As I look through each API, I see that some platforms don’t have their API monetization strategy together at all, while others are following the pretty proven “cloud utility” model handed down from providers like AWS, and then I see some who are continuing to standardize how we pay for, and monetize APIs--which makes me happy. One interesting pricing page I reviewed over the holidays, was from the file conversion API, ConvertAPI. They have a credit based API monetization approach, allowing you to buy a certain amount of credits on a monthly basis, or make one-time basis...

A Common Place To Manage All The API Definitions In My World

21 December 2014
I’m profiling all the 700+ companies I monitor across the space, going through each one and defining their API program, evaluating the tech, business and politics of their operations. Part of this process is creating a Swagger definition for each API. I’m not deeply concerned with getting each API definition 100%, unless I'm directly integrating with the aPI. For this round I’m looking at defining just the surface area of the API, including each endpoint, headers, parameters, and body format, and leaving the underlying data model for another time. I’m publishing all of my API definitions to the API Stack Github repository. I’m using this as a staging area before I publish them to APIs...

Making Sure The Most Important Layers Of API Space Stay Open

21 December 2014
APIs are a really tough concept to help folks on-board with. I have come to realize that people see APIs very differently, and most of the time, I think this can be a good thing. In a perfect world it would be nice if everyone followed the same standards, and used only the best API patterns, when designing their APIs. This isn't the world we have, and to help better engge within the world we have, I am working to tell stories of this dysfunctional but beautiful API space we have accidently created for ourselves, develop visuals that help us better quantify things, and potentially give little nudges where I can to move things in a better direction. When I hear most technologists talk about APIs, I feel many are exclusively looking through a client / server lens...

Swagger 2.0 For The Docker API

20 December 2014
I’m developing a common API for all the APIs I deploy via Docker containers, meaning that each API that I design as a Docker image, will have an API to control all aspects of deployment, and its operations. I will be keeping most of the surface area available in current version of the Docker API, but I'm thinking I will add a handful of endpoints, and maybe alter a couple of the existing Docker defined endpoints to better meet my needs. To support my work, I need a Swagger 2.0 definition for the v1.16 of the Docker API. I wish everyone would create machine readable API definitions for their APIs by default, but until that is the norm, I will be creating myself. I’m getting pretty good at writing scrape scripts for harvesting API documentation (if they are well formed)...

On Being An API Broker For Hackathons

19 December 2014
I recently had a conversation with one of my contacts at a federal agency about a hackathon tour they are planning. The federal government doesn’t call these events hackathons, they call them data jams, but for sake of this story I’m going to call them hackathons, and also omit the name of the agency until they are ready to talk about the event(s) publicly. This agency had many questions about putting on a hackathon, but one I found particularly interesting, and something that is in line with other concepts I’m exploring in the API space, was the desire to assemble a stack of resources that developers could put to use at the event, along with their own agency APIs. They were concerned about hackathon teams coming to the event and having to spend a great deal of time looking for APIs, open data-sets, and tools to use in their projects...

Are You A Hypermedia Pragmatist?

19 December 2014
I have been spending a lot more time in 2014 learning, discussing, and telling stories about hypermedia. Early this year I identified that hypermedia was moving beyond just academic discussion, and entering the mainstream consciousness of the API community. I do not consider myself a hypermedia expert, and had a lot more to learn, and by moving hypermedia further into my regular research, over time this education would come. At the end of 2014, my deep technical knowledge of hypermedia, and the nuances between each of the formats isn’t there yet—I just do not have the production experience with any of them to know what I’m doing. I can provide an overview of the technology, the various formats, and the people behind each movement, as well as point to some real world hypermedia implementations, but when it comes to getting down to the details I’m just not there yet...

API Service Idea: API Via Excel From Within Corporate Email

18 December 2014
Most organization I’ve worked with, the Excel spreadsheet is the central way of storing, managing and sharing data, with email being the number one way to share these data filled documents. When I was doing data inventory at the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), as part of the White House open data initiative, almost every piece of high value data I found was housed in a spreadsheet, and the data stewards who were in charge of this data, would email it to me when I asked for it. To help data stewards go from spreadsheet to API, I wrote an Excel to JSON converter, that was available via a private email address. All you had to do to convert a spreadsheet, was create a new email, attach your spreadsheet to the email, then send it to the specific address, and when it was done processing, you’d get an email in response, with links to a CSV, XML, and JSON version of the spreadsheet—unless it was a super complex spreadsheet of course, but this wasn’t our target...

Do You Know That Hypermedia Is A Better Solution For Discovery Than APIs.json?

18 December 2014
I spend a lot of time field questions from people about APIs.json. This is something I expect to be doing for the next 10 years, and happy to field questions about exactly what it is all about, and help educate folks about exactly where APIs.json it fits in to the overall API landscape. A regular comment I get from technologists, and API savvy folks is “you know that hypermedia is a better solution for discovery than APIs.json?” To which I reply “yes I know, but hypermedia is a solution for the API world we want, and APIs.json is a solution for the world we have”. I would love it if everyone understood hypermedia, and designed and deployed their APIs with this knowledge in mind—something I’ve spending a lot more time on in 2014, and will continue the push in 2015...

With Number Of APIs Continuing To Grow Account Automation Will Be Key

16 December 2014
I personally depend on over 40 APIs, all of which I have to manage my developer account, apps, and API key access for. This can be a lot of work, and as I continue to add APIs to my stack, this work is only going to grow. Putting on my API broker hat, and thinking about a future, where you will need to gather and organize potentially hundreds of APIs, across multiple companies, things are going to start breaking down if we don't do something to bridge these services. Standard API Developer Accounts First, API onboarding will have to always include a standard API developer account, providing a common data model, and approach to managing developer accounts. Luckily many API platforms use API management providers like 3Scale, so this shouldn't be too much work, but I still come across plenty of APIs who do not even have basic developer account building blocks like analytics, or billing management...

History Of APIs: NOAA APIs Have Been RESTful For Over 20 Years

05 December 2014
This post is a comment that was left on my Low Hanging Fruit For API Discovery In The Federal Government post, showcasing some of the government API work I am doing. I get a lot of people who email me telling me that what I'm saying is nothing new, they've been doing APIs since 1492! ;-) Many of them are pretty hostile to the new API movement, but I love this comment from Bob Simons from NOAA, which is the exact opposite of many of the comments I receive.

Understanding More About The Web Communications Platform Respoke

04 December 2014
In the coming months I’m doing some deep profiling of the API space, so you are going to see me reviewing the approach of more API providers in the space. My goal with API reviews is not just to showcase the company or service involved, but review the overall approach of the provider. You can read more about my review process on API Evangelist, to better understand my objectives. The review in the queue today is from Respoke, a web communications platform. When you land on the Respoke website, you see all the signs of a modern platform, starting with the simple single page app style website, but more importantly, they immediately tell me what they do, in a simple, easy to understand way: Add live voice, video, text, and data features to your website or app You wouldn't believe how hard this is for some of the APIs I review...

Swagger API Definition Mapper

04 December 2014
I was having one of my long overdue check ins with API godfather John Musser today, and it reminded me of an idea I wanted to put out there, so while it was fresh in my mind, I wanted to share. I’m applying this to my Swagger driven world, but should be applied to all of the common API definition formats like API Blueprint, and RAML. I want a machine readable way to map APIs together across multiple Swagger API definitions, mapping a specific API path in one Swagger spec to another API path in an entirely different API definition. Once the paths are connected, you should also be able map specific parameters to each other. It also seems logical that for each mapping you'd want to provide some sort of meta data about the relationship, and maybe some sort of semantics involved also...

Swagger Definition Driven Sandbox And Simulation Data Templates For APIs

04 December 2014
This is something I’ve written about before in API Sandbox And Simulator From Carvoyant, and Salesforce Adds Sandbox Templates. However it is something I’d like to formalize, and get some new API service providers helping out in this area, or encourage the development of open source solutions. API service providers like Apiary and SmartBear are providing some very interesting solutions for mocking, and virtualizing APIs from API Blueprint, Swagger, and RAML. What I would like to see is the emergence of standalone solutions, providing data sets templates, or whatever you want to call it for populating mock APIs for testing, and integration. Think of it as Lorem Ipsum, but structured data meant specifically for APIs, and specific API definitions, as opposed to static mock content for websites...

Moving Beyond Just The PDF With A Single Page Report (SPR)

03 December 2014
I’m playing with more data visualizations lately, trying to establish a dynamic set of tools that I can use in my storytelling across the API Evangelist network. I've been focusing on using D3.js, Google Visualizations, and other JQuery plugins I've gathered over time, for now. During the Turkey Day weekend, I turned a subway map JQuery plugin I had found into an API, and introduced some new ways I can easily use these visualizations in my Hacker Storytelling format of publishing all of my research as Github repositories, using the master branch as a private file and data store, and the Github Pages as the public face of the project. During the proces, I’ve added the subway map to my visualization toolbox of JSON driven components that I can use when publishing my stories and research to Github, adding to my already existing tools like jekyll posts & data, mustache templates, and reveal...

Join Me For APIDays Berlin And APIStrat Europe This April 24th-25th 2015

02 December 2014
Here we go again. If you were in Chicago for APIStrat this September, then you know we are planning to have the next edition of APIStrat in Berlin, this spring. This round 3Scale and API Evangelist are partnering with APIDays to deliver two days of API talks at the Humboldt Carré, the Conference And Event Centre on Gendarmenmarkt, April 24th and 25th, 2015. I learned a lot attending APIDays Berlin earlier this year, and I am looking forward to continuing the conversation in 2015, APIStrat style. Our speaker lineup includes Mandy Waite, Developer Advocate at Google Cloud Platform; Chris Taggart, CEO of OpenCorporates; and Max Harlow from the Guardian Open Platform...

A Market For API Developer Credits

02 December 2014
This story gets file into the “way in future” bucket, because the infrastructure needed to make happen doesn't even exist. Beyond research from API grandfather John Musser (@johnmusser), and a few other blog posts or conference decks, there is no standardization of monetization strategies and pricing across APIs—making my idea impossible currently. I won’t let that stop me! What I'd like to see is a developer credit system, that I can earn buy or earn credits for any single API, but I possess a credit account across all the APIs I depend on--as an API developer I want to buy credits for API usage, allowing me to buy in single, or bulk amounts, and apply against my regular API usage...

My Turkey Holiday Project: A Subway Map API

01 December 2014
A long time ago I defined the API Evangelist network using a subway map format, plotting out the different routes you could take, and the locations all along this journey. As with anything I do, this is a work in progress, and I’m needing to regularly update this map. Currently it is in an image, and I use an image mapping tool to generate the links—something that is very time consuming. I think the subway map is an important metaphor for understanding some potentially complex ideas, and provide a single map, complete with legends, supporting content, and links to more details. My problem is I have several maps I need to create, and maintain on a regular basis. Ideally my subway mapping tool would be dynamic, allowing me to make changes as I went along...

Where Do Developers Get Idea That APIs Should Never Go Away?

01 December 2014
Almost every time an API shuts down, the tech blogosphere, and the social networks favored by the tech community erupts in comments resembling: That is what you get for depending on APIs, and APIs can go away at any time, you should know better by now, and you should not build a company on someone elses resources--just to name a few. Where did this line of thought begin? Why do developers feel so burned when a popular API like Netflix, ESPN, or Google Translate is deprecated? The main reason is lack of communication. Developers need a long runway that an API is going to be deprecated. Something that will mitigate much of the backlash, but still the comments are never, why didn't Netflix communicate with us (they did), it is highlighting that APIs can go away at any point...

Adding New Section For My Sixteen Basic API Templates

01 December 2014
As I build out new APIs for use across my systems, as well as map out the landscape of valuable API resources available today, I'm working to define templates that other API providers can follow when designing and deploying their own API infrastructure. I've accumulated 16 basic templates, prompting me to add a new section to the website called templates. These projects represent the templates I've established through my existing research, and will add other templates as they come off the assembly line. These API designs aren't mean to be the perfect solution for production environements, but to be seeds for new conversation around APIs, as well as providing a basic pattern you can use to start your own development...

The Context.io API And Thinking Out Of The Box When Crafting APIs

01 December 2014
I recently finished looking through all of the email APIs available in the space, narrowing it down to just a handful of companies who I felt were worthy of showcasing as part of my email API research. Ultimately I felt seven were worthy of discussion, and after I laid them side by side all of them were very similar in the technology, business, and politics of their APIs—all except one, Context.io. Context.io isn’t about sending or receiving emails via APIs, or simply focusing on email standards like SMPT, POP, and IMAP. Context.io provides you with storage and indexing of your emails, and then opens up a new API driven world where things are possible you never imagined. Extending upon existing standards like SMTP, POP, and IMAP with APIs like SendGrid has done is cool, but what Context...

Is Your API More Than Just A Footnote On Your Website?

24 November 2014
Not all companies who have an API are Twilio, where the API is the product. With Twilio when you land on their website home page, you are in API developer area by default, this is what Twilio does. Many other API driven companies like Twitter, provide link to the API developer program as a link in the footer of the main site, something developers have become accustom to finding. Many companies I review, don’t even have a link prominently listed on their site, forcing me to dig around looking for any evidence of an API. This story isn’t about these companies, that is a whole separate post, this story is about the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and how they have brought their API front and center by having the API present in the top level navigation, and listing their application showcase on their home page...

There Are Four API Design Editors To Choose From Now

21 November 2014
In the early days, there was just one API design tool to use, Apiary.io. Now at the end of 2014, we have four separate API design tools to choose from. I credit Apiary.io for opening up this new era of API design, expanding the API life cycle, and emphasizing healthy API design practices over just API deployment and management. In my opinion the expansion of APIs design formats, and API design tooling is extremely important to the space, allowing API providers to have conversation around API design with developers, and key business stakeholders, before development actually begins. However, the benefits of healthy API design, using leading API definition formats, goes well beyond just design, and the rewards can be seen throughout the entire API lifecycle...

Sales, Onboarding And Support In A Self-Service API World

17 November 2014
I was reviewing an API over the last couple of weeks--I signed up for an account, came back several times, and made a handful of API calls in hopes of learning more about how the API works. This is something I do a lot, and it is always interesting to experience the on boarding process (or lack of) for APIs. I first signed up about two weeks ago for this particular API, and within 48 hours I received an email asking if I needed help with my integration--that was nice of them. I like getting an email from the provider, and the more human it is, the better. At this point I didn't need any help, I’m just playing, learning, and depending on the self-service resources made available to me via the API ecosystem...

An API For Developers To Access Their API Account Information

12 November 2014
When I landed on the version 3.0 landing page for the Mailjet API, the first thing I noticed was their API configuration API. Providing a set of API endpoints for managing my own API usage is definitely something I can get behind, and think it is something worth showcasing. As part of the API Configuration portion of their email API, Mailjet provides five separate endpoints for users to manage their API developer account. /apikey - Manage your Mailjet API Keys. API keys are used as credentials to access the API and SMTP server /apikeyaccess - Access rights description on API keys for subaccounts/users. /apikeytotal - Global counts for an API Key, since its creation /apitoken - Access token for API, used to give access to an API Key in conjunction with our IFrame API /metadata - Mailjet API metadata I like this approach to providing developers with API access to their developer account details...

Hey, Why Isn't This (API) Free

10 November 2014
It always makes me happy to see a pricing page, front and center when I visit an API, but I found an added bonus over at the email API, Inbox. At the bottom of their pricing page, they have a pretty simple question: Hey, why isn't this free? It’s become painfully clear in the past few years that if you’re not paying for something, you’re the product. In practice, this has resulted in “free” platforms that eventually were forced to show ads, sell user data, or fire-sale to a large company to only be unloved or shut-down. We’re taking a different approach. The Inbox API isn’t free. You pay us, and we run the service. That’s it. We know our pricing might still be prohibitive to some apps getting started...

My Continued Support As Signer Of Oracle v Google Amicus Brief From EFF

10 November 2014
https://www.eff.org/files/2014/11/07/google_v_oracle_computer-scientists-certpetition-amicus-brief_14-410_final.pdf As the Oracle v Google API copyright case was on its way to the Federal Circuit Court in 2012, the EFF reached out to me for help in crafting stories of how important it is that APIs remain free of copyright, ensuring they remain open and interoperable. I shared three stories, one on cloud computing and AWS APIs, the second on Delicious APIs, and the third on Instagram APIs, all reflecting three different scenarios that would never have happened if APIs were copyrightable. A couple weeks ago EFF reached out again, asking for my signature again, on another Amicus Brief to support Google’s request of the Supreme Court to review the circuit courts decision, and reverse it...

Join Me Tomorrow For A Panel Discussion On API Ecosystems At SF MusicTech

10 November 2014
You can find me in San Francisco tomorrow, at the Kabuki Hotel for SF MusicTech. I'm moderating a panel, dubbed “API Ecosystem”, where I will be talking APis with Antti Silventoinen (@Lamantiini) of Music Kickup, Justin Woo (@jzwoo) of PayPal / Braintree, Steven Willmott (@njyx) of 3Scale, and Bill Hajjar from Senzari. I'm planning on walking the panelists through the world of API design, development, management, and focus on API monetization, but I suspect that we'll keep things pretty  relevant to the experience, and diversity we will have present on stage. There is  a healthy mix of music industry focused providers like Music Kickup, and Senzari (aka Music Graph), but also API architecture provider 3Scale, and payment API pioneer Paypal / payment API startup Braintree...

I Will Review Your API On API Evangelist if You Add An APIs.son File Plus A Machine Readable API Definition

10 November 2014
I've been crafting Swagger 2.0 definitions for many of the leading APIs i track on lately, and to help alleviate my pain and suffering, I’m willing to write about your company if you write your own Swagger 2.0 spec. I’m sorry, this is really important work, but it can be very grueling detail work, and I'd really like your help! If you send me a 80% complete Swagger 2.0 specification, or for that matter, an API Blueprint or RAML specification, I will review your API efforts on the API Evangelist blog. I'm pretty adamant that all APIs today should have a machine readable definition in a popular format like Swagger or API Blueprint, as well as each API developer program possessing an APIs...

Resource Base API Monetization vs. Experience Based API Monetization

08 November 2014
I’m lost in API monetization land, evaluating the business models of common APIs, so you are just going to have to cope with it, until I get through this research. Honestly, I really don't care this much about making money off of APIs, it is just telling me a lot about the motivations behind many of the APIs I keep an eye on. This particular story is extracted from my research into the monetization strategies of multiple core business sectors in the API space, and one of my regular conversations that I have, with an API provider around how they can settle in on a sensible monetization strategy. In the same conversation around how these valuable resources even became APIs, we were immediately led to the topic of what we were going to charge for, and how we were going make money off these potentially resources...

Guest Post: Help Us Bring Out The Worst Of The Net So We Can Generate Page Views

05 November 2014
This is a guest post from one of our sponsors. We actually cringed, and puked in our mouth a little bit when we saw an email come in from this company, requesting a post, but they paid us well, and we knew the topic would generate an insane amount of page views, so what the hell—we can drink more so we can sleep at night. Our company didn't actually write this post, we just grabbed it from a blog that we regularly read, written by someone who actually understands the topic. This approach is much more beneficial to us, as we don't actually have to have any creativity, or skill, and it doesn't cost us a dime! #winning When we found this post, it had an informative title, but for the purposes of this guest post we changed the title a little bit, in an effort to make it more desirable, clickable, and shareable by our readers...

Tracking On The Red Flags For API Monetization

05 November 2014
I spend my time gathering what I call b"uilding blocks", as I work my way through the API landscape. I’ve been tracking on the building blocks of API management since 2011, and have expanded that to include API design, deployment, evangelism, integration and other areas of the API lifecycle in the last 3 years. I'm working my way through the 700 APIs in my API stack, I am looking for industry focused building building blocks, as well as the ones associated with an APIs business model, or monetization strategy. I have almost twenty monetization building blocks I'm tracking on ranging from free access to the availability of partner programs. As I work my way through various business sectors being impacted by APIs, I'm starting to see interesting patterns, some of which can act as a red flag for me that there are potential problems within an API operations...

Messente API: Always Use A Backup DNS Solution

05 November 2014
I found the DNS implementation over at the Messente SMS API interesting, and worth of sharing for deeper evaluation. I've been considering the various approaches by API providers when crafting their domains, or subdomains for API access heavily over the last couple weeks. During some research time today I stumbled across the Messente SMS API which opts to provide two domains for making HTTP(S) requests of their API: api2.messente.com api3.messente.com Messente provides a little disclaimer to handle the developer side of manual load-balancing these API calls: These two domains have the same final destination regarding the API functions. In order to ensure that your requests always reach Messente API services, please use one of them as primary and the second one as backup...

Project Idea: Codenvy-Like Containerized Spreadsheets

05 November 2014
I wrote a story about a company I’m advising for last week called Codenvy, who is delivering modular, scalable, cloud development environments using their web IDE and Docker. I'm currently working my way through the spreadsheet to API, and API to spreadsheet solutions I track on, and it is making me think that someone should deliver a Codenvy-like containerized spreadsheet environment. With this type of environment you could forever end the emailing of spreadsheets, allowing people to craft spreadsheets, complete with all the data and visualization goodness they desire, and clone, fork, share, and collaborate around these containerized spreadsheets. You could have a library of master planned spreadsheets that your company depends on, and manage user permissions, analytics, and even scalability, performance, and distribution of vital spreadsheets...

API Sandbox And Simulator From Carvoyant

05 November 2014
I’m digging deeper into my Evernote lately, getting back to those half written stories I have laying around, and next up is about the Carvoyant API sandbox and simulator. I came across their Free #connectedcar data candy in the Sandbox blog post, and was intrigued by the concept of a simulator, not just for IoT related APIs, but potentially for any API. Carvoyant provides a free API account which comes with a sandbox API for playing with the platform, and a traffic simulator that allows you generate vehicle and trip data for use in developing applications. I can see how a sandbox plus simulator is essential for developing automotive related applications, as you can’t be expected to have real car connection and data in all scenarios, something clearly Carvoyant has put a lot of thought, and work into...

Project Idea: Server Side API Deployment Using Open Source API Frameworks

04 November 2014
As I write up a story on Magnet, another one of the API SDK service providers to emerge in the space, I can't help but evaluate what other building blocks have the potential to evovolve, and be offered as a specific service. Machine readable API definition formats like Swagger and API Blueprint make services like Apimatic and Magnet possible, and I enjoy thinking about other potential services that could be easily generated from definitions in this way. One possiblity that comes to mind is server side scaffolding, and the possibilities of generating server side scaffolding for your APIs in a variety open source API frameworks, using machine readable definitions. It is difficult to generate 100% of the server side of an API using machine readable API definitions, but you sure can go a long way in auto generating a scaffolding that will get you most of the way there...

Moving Elasticsearch Into API Management With New API Security And Access Features

04 November 2014
Elasticsearch, the open source, distributed, real-time search and analytics engine just announced that it is introducing a security layer on top of their API driven search platform. Historically you have to secure any APIs exposed via Elasticsearch through your own proxy or firewall solution, now with "Shield" you can natively manage your APIs directly in Elasticsearch. Shield, in the same spirit of Marvel, is built on top of Elasticsearch public extensions points, and is easily installed as a plugin to add security features to any existing Elasticsearch installation. It does not require a different distribution of Elasticsearch, and relies heavily on the open public APIs Elasticsearch already exposes...

Some Examples of API Integration Pages In The Wild

04 November 2014
One pattern I'm seeing emerge on some of the API platforms I’m watching from week to week are integration pages, showcasing the other 3rd party services than an API has integration with. An integration page is similar to an application showcase, but instead of showing apps build on an API, you are showcasing other platforms that are already integrated with. A recent one that I’ve seen out in the wild is from web development annotation platform Usersnap, showing the platforms they connect to: The second I came across was from OpsGenie, the alerts and notification platform, showcasing all of the common platform they work with: I’m going to add an integrations page to my list of API management building blocks for API providers to consider...

The Expanding API Universe: More API SDK Focused Services Emerge

03 November 2014
I'm beginning to see just about every building block in the design, deployment, management, and integration of APIs evolve into individual startups who are looking to provide services to the API sector. I wrote about Apimatic a few months back and how they are focused on generating high quality SDKs from machine readable API formats like Swagger and API Blueprint. This last week I was introduced to another provider, Magnet, and their rest2mobile service which will “generate mobile native code for REST services”. Magnet has chosen to focus exclusively on mobile SDKs, where Apimatic is focused on web and mobile SDKs. I consider web SDKs one building block, and mobile SDKs another building block, and companies should evaluate their need for them side-by-side, something service providers like Apimatic and Magnet are looking to assist with...

Just Be Straight Up About Your API Pricing

03 November 2014
I know. I’m kind of a broken record this week, but I’m trying to quantify the business model, and monetization strategies of APIs across various industries, and understanding what companies are charging for their services just makes me crazy sometimes. I don’t know what people are thinking when they craft their approach to explaining what an API will cost to access. Here is an example of what I’m talking about over at Stocklytics. When you land on Stocklytics home page, this is what you see: After spending some time looking for anything else about pricing, I signed up for the service, and after I logged in to my account I found this page, which then takes me directly to a Paypal page: Do companies even think about what this does to the on-boarding process? I’m not evening focusing on the errors in my brand new developer account that I had to contend with before I discovered the add credits page...

I Trust API Providers More When API Pricing Is Front And Center

03 November 2014
When you look through as many APIs as I do, you start to get a feeling for many of the subtle signals, that can result in a wealth of information about the actual viability of an API. One signal I'm starting to track on more is pricing, and I'm gathering more details about how an API provider articulates their pricing, or often times doesn’t. The way an API provider discusses their business model can tell you so much about their motivations, the amount of resources they have available, and the experience they have in managing APIs and engaging developers. Pundits in the space love to talk about the viability of public vs private API, and that public APIs just aren't viable, and will be going away soon...

New API Management Providers: Clean, Modern API Portals With ReadMe

03 November 2014
It makes me happy to see new arrivals in the world of API management service providers, especially after all the consolidation we saw last year with many of the 1st and 2nd wave of providers like Mashery, Vordel, Layer7, and Apiphany. One of the new API management providers that have emerged is Readme, who is looking to provide an attractive, simple, and intuitive way to launch developer portals for your APIs. Readme reminds me of some of the landing page tools designed for web marketers over the last decade, to provide informative gateways for site visitors, but ReadMe is all about providing meaningful doorways to our API resources. First, I like ReadMe's definition of what is a developer hub? Documentation - Topical guides, tutorials and troubleshooting...

Swagger Visualization Layer Using D3.js

30 October 2014
I'm just going to keep putting my ideas out there, so that y'all will build what is needed for the API space. In support of my API design tool, and my interactive API documentation tool, I want a Swagger generated visualization layer for APIs, using D3.js. I’m envisioning a whole marketplace of visualizations I can choose from, driven from various popular APIs like Twitter, Crunchbase, OpenCorporates, and much more. There are number of proprietary data visualizations tools emerging out there (I’m watching you), but what I'm looking for is specifically an open solution using D3.js. I don't have a problem if there are premium layers, and features that are driven by commercial APIs, or there being added charges for API consumption in general, but I want the visualization, and underlying JSON to be open and configurable—encouraging access and re-use...

Establishing Common Dictionaries That Industries Can Use In Their API Design

30 October 2014
I’m going through each of the 100+ business sectors I track on as part of my API Stack. As I make my way through each sector, and generate Swagger, and APIs.json files, the language of the resources used across a particular sector starts to come into focus. I’m talking about the words used for crafting URLs, parameters, and the underlying data models for common APIs. In a perfect world everyone would come together and use something like Schema.org, and work to extend, in an organized, collaborative way across different industries—I would call this the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) approach. Unfortunately what we have is a shitload of dialects popping up, driven from the dark depths of our legacy IT infrastructure, only seeing the light of day when an API gets exposed, and the dialect used by an isolated IT tribe all of a sudden becomes part of the mainstream world...

Now Our Development Environment Is Now Containerized And Scalable Like Our Production Environment

29 October 2014
The production environment for delivering web and mobile applications has radically evolved in the last couple years, becoming more distributed, scalable, virtualized, and containerized. APIs, and new development frameworks are providing a smorgasbord of resources for developers to put to work, and devops is putting more power and control, throughout the development life cycle, directly into a developers hands. It is time that a developers environment evolves to keep pace with the environment developers are building applications for. I’ve been talking about containerization in the API space for a while now, something that is still a very manual process, so I have been looking out for a potential development environment that matches my vision for orchestration with APIs for some time now...

Top 5 Most Popular Themes On API Evangelist In 2014

29 October 2014
Throughout 2014, when I look at the top 10 posts in my Google Analytics dashboard each month, there has been a consistent theme of what stories are driving page views. The concept of a page is only one metric I look at when evaluating where the API space might be going, and while I don’t write stories specifically to page views, they do provide me with a general barometer of what my readers are interested in. I’m seeing give areas consistently generating the most views across the API Evangelist Network: Internal APIs - This slot is pretty much dominated by The Secret To Amazons Success Is Internal story getting thousands of page view each month, even with being written back in January of 2012...

API Discovery Continues Its Move Into The IDE With Eclipse Che

29 October 2014
Another layer to the release of Codenvy this week, was the announcement of the Eclipse project Che, an open source "project to create a platform for SAAS developer environment that contains all of the tools, infrastructure, and processes necessary for a developer to edit, build, test, and debug an application”. Che represents the next generation IDE that runs in the cloud, which coincides with other signs I've seen around API discovery moving into the IDE with signals from API pioneers like SalesForce and Google, or from Microsoft in Visual Studio. I’m still learning about Che, but I’m beginning to see two distinct ways Che and APIs can be employed. First lets start with the environment: You can build extensions for Che, and when those extensions are compiled into the kernel, Che creates server-side microservices, a RESTful API, and cross-browser optimized JavaScript, which is then pluggable into a browser IDE...

Guest Post: Let Our Sponsors Blow A Little Smoke Up Your Ass

29 October 2014
This is a guest post from one of our sponsors. We didn’t vet them as a sponsor, or the content they were going to write. We just cashed their check on the way to the strip club this evening, and gave the a Wordpress login, so they could post their post. We aren’t in the business of understanding where the actual technology space is headed, we are in the business of telling you stories of where we want the technology space go, in the service our own selfish desires. You see we view technology blogs as a PR urinal for us to piss our stories into, so we all can pretend like they are real stories. Our technology is a cloud based REST-like hypermedia API micro services framework, that is deployed in a web-scale, reactive, docker containerized environment that run anywhere in the cloud or on-premise within your infrastructure, or a hybrid of the two...

Query Parameter Determining Which Fields Are Queried For API Call

29 October 2014
I was taking a look through the NewsCred API yesterday and there was a parameter I have seen before, but find interesting, and wanted to share with you. It was a field called query_fields, which you could include the fields you wished to have searched, using a keyword provided in the parameter “q”. You often see a parameter which determines which fields I get back with my response, but I like the concept of have a parameter to choose which fields I want searched in the first place. I think it is a simple, parameter based way to give developers more control over their API calls, in a way that will make sense to a wide audience. Now I need to figure out a way to aggregate these simple little API design tricks and make them available to readers when they are designing their APIs...

Evolving Beyond Just Resources Towards A More Experience Based API Design

28 October 2014
I really love the thought process around API design, and I am always looking for ways to push forward my craft. Telling stories is one way I do this, forcing me to make what I’m doing understandable to a wider audience, which is also the exact thing I’m trying to do with my API designs—mind blown! An example of this in action is with my link API, which I use in multiple places across my API monitoring system. The Link API has a pretty basic design, that reflect the resource, and its underlying database structure: /link/ (GET, POST, PUT, DELETE) Title, Description, and URL I use this API in numerous ways, the original API design is very much based upon the resource that it is, a link...

Another View of The API vs. Data Download Model

28 October 2014
I’ve talked a lot about the benefits of APIs over download of data stores in the government space, and I’m always on the lookout for other interesting examples of making data available via an API, as well as a full data download. I’m doing a lot of research right now on the financial API space, and stumbled across Quandl, a data provider who has free access financial data APIs, while also selling access to premium databases. Quandl has aggregated 7 financial and economic databases into one database solution that you can pay to download, or you can freely access via their unlimited use API--Quandl puts it like this: All these new premium databases will of course automatically benefit from Quandl’s free data-usage features: unrestricted API access, integration with 20+ libraries and tools, unlimited downloads in any format, multiple export and visualization options, and more...

If You Have A Publicly Available Mobile App You Have a Public API

27 October 2014
I’ve had several browser tabs open around the recent Snapchat security breach, hoping to craft an API-centric story around the whole affair. I think SmartBear covers the security lesson around the Snapchat breach well, my motivation in writing a story would be more about incentivizing popular mobile platforms like Snapchat to establish a robust approach to APIs, and provide a platform for everyone discuss the tech, business, and politics of application integration, rather than keeping it all in the dark. Your Application Programming Interface Surface Is Publicly Available As I play with tools like Charles, Runscope, API tools, and other proxy and application traffic management tools, I can easily map out the surface area of any iPhone application I have installed—providing me with a blueprint of an API, and potentially its underlying data model...

Reducing The API Stack Down From 830 to 690

26 October 2014
I just finished going through my API Stack, taking a fresh look at each API provider, and recording some information about each of the providers in my API monitoring system. When I started looking through my stack a couple days ago there was 830 companies listed, and after this pass through I carved the stack down to 690--why? APIs Go Away It is a fact of life, APIs go away. I'm always amazed at how quickly an API will disappear or just fall into disrepair. I don’t have time to assess what exactly has happened to all APIs, but if I get 404s, or can't find signs of an API program in 10 seconds, and a quick Google search, I pull them from the stack. I've noticed many start-ups seem to be coming out with a slick mobile app + API, and then a few months later the API seems to disappear...

Gathering My Thoughts Around Common Patterns For Base URLs Across Nearly 700 APIs

26 October 2014
I just finished going through my API Stack, taking a fresh look at each API provider, and looking for one simple thing—the base URL for each of their APIs. Throughout the process I looked at almost 700 API developer areas, trying to find the base URL they are using to serve up some of the most valuable API resources publicly available on the web. Accepting The Madness When you look at 700 APIs, you have to wade through a lot of madness. When I'm looking at APIs, I’m looking for more than just a perfectly designed API from a technical perspective, I’m interested in value, presentation, and other more meaningful aspects. Often times I will overlook your base URL, but it doesn’t stop me from taking note of some of the crazy domains, and subdomains people are using to provide access to their API resources...

I Am Using Kimono Labs To Fill In Gap For Companies Who Do Not Have AN RSS Feed For Their Blog

25 October 2014
I am tracking on around 2500 companies who are doing interesting things in the API space. Out of these companies about 1000 of them have blogs, which for me is a pretty important signal. About 1/4 of these companies with blogs, do not have an RSS feed, which in 2014 seems a little odd to me, but maybe I'm an old timer. I believe that a blog is one of the most important signals, any API provider come put out, right alongside Twitter and Github. Historically I depend on the Twitter account for these RSS-less blogs, but now I'm taking a different path, and using Kimono Labs to fill in the gap. Using the Kimono Labs Chrome extension, I just visit the main blog page for one of these companies, and select the title of the first blog post...

Dwolla Using Slate For An Evolved API Documentation Experience

24 October 2014
I'm liking the new Dwolla's new API docs that they just launched. They are using an open source API documentation framework called Slate, developed by Tripit, for their own API documentation.  I enjoy seeing the different directions that providers take with their API docs. Slate's approach is a different path than we've been seeing with interactive docs using frameworks like Swagger, but provides a very intuitive, elegant documentation experience which includes code samples tailored to each API endpoint. Here are the features Slate lists on the Github repository for the project: Clean, Intuitive Design - The description of your API is on the left side of your documentation, and all the code examples are on the right side...

Crazy Mess Of URLs Across 400 Of The APIs In My Stack

24 October 2014
I know that some of my readers are URI experts, URL ninjas, and masters of the domain, but most of my readers are not, and I wanted to share some of the 100K view of what I see across the world of domains, in the API space. I’m going through my API Stack over the last couple days (continuing this weekend), looking at 800+ companies who have APIs, and after going through roughly half, I’m seeing some seriously crazy practices for crafting URIs for APIs programs. Let’s start with the general path to your developer program, I highly recommend providing a simple subdomain, providing access to your APIs  in a simple, consistent path like http://developer.example.com--at the very least put it in a consistent folder like http://example...

Someone Please Build My Open, Interactive, Portable, And Visual API Documentation Toolkit

24 October 2014
I wrote about visual API documentation a few months back, after I looked at the approach from OpenFDA, and now after taking a look at the value Slate brings to API providers like Dwolla, these feelings are re-surfacing in my mind. Since I have limited time, I’m getting pretty good at putting my ideas out there, allowing anyone to step up and execute on opportunities I’m seeing across the API space—I just do not need the extra work. I love me some Swagger UI, as you can tell from the fact that all of my APIs use Swagger as the API definition format, as well Swagger UI for the interactive documentation. I’m pretty convinced of the importance of documentation being a hands-on experience, but after looking at approaches like OpenFDA, and Dwolla with their Slate driven API docs, I’m convinced they should also be more beautiful and functional...

Reworking My API 101 Content: Consuming APIs

16 October 2014
APIs came in to existence to satisfy a demand for access to valuable content, data and resources, and the more APis that are developed, the more the appetite for API consumption has grown. APIs enable website, web and mobile applications to build applications, using resources that were completely out of reach in even the recent past. Some API resources, like a simple city look-up by postal code, might be simple enough that a developer could recreate, but other resources such as global satellite imagery is something the average developer does not have the resources, or the time to create—the more API resources available, the cooler the apps we build, and the more we hunger for valuable API resources grows...

I Need Help To Make Sure The Dept. of Agriculture Leads With APIs In Their Parks and Recreation RFP

16 October 2014
I need your help with something. I’m in the business of helping start-ups, all the way up to our federal government identify valuable assets, and make them more accessible for use in websites, and mobile devices. As part of this work I’m always on the look out for valuable public assets across city, state, and the federal government, and help make sure the conversations around these assets always include APIs, so that we aren’t just building websites, mobile applications in silos, and limiting the potential for public access, by individuals, and small businesses.  Over the last couple years I have cultivated a small group of API evangelists in various sectors, who help keep me informed of important government projects, and one of my partners in crime Alyssa Ravasio (@alyraz) brought a pre solicitation for an RFP to my attention from the Department of Agriculture, for a “Recreation On Stop Support Services” to my attention—a service you can see in action at Recreation...

Reworking My API 101 Content: Providing APIs

15 October 2014
The world of APIs starts with an individual, company or organization, with some sort of content, data, or other digital resource, wanting to make it available, on the Internet, in a machine readable way, so that others can build sites, and applications around it. Even though APIs use the Internet for communication, it doesn't mean that they are openly accessible to anyone. Providing APIs, is very similar to providing websites, you can control which users have access to it, where they can go, and what they can do—APIs are just meant for other websites, web applications, and mobile developers.  Solving a Problem APIs are all about providing solutions, to everyday problems in our increasingly digit worlds, from sharing data with partners, developing mobile applications, to disrupting an entire legacy industry who refuses to change and evolve...

What Is The Biggest Challenge For Fraud Detection API SiftScience?

15 October 2014
I’m spending more time reaching out directly to API providers, in an effort to better understand what they are up to. A couple weeks ago, I asked Sarfaraz Rydhan (@safoo) from the Fraud Detection API platform SiftScience, what is the biggest challenge you face in attracting developers to your system? In many cases, the biggest challenge is developers needing context into the business and operations side of the companies they work for. We offer a machine learning powered fraud detection product to help internet companies in many verticals fight fraud. In an e-commerce integration, for example, a developer may need to know about how users interact with the store, when a customer's credit card is charged, how order information is sent to the warehouse for fulfillment, how operations analysts work within the e-commerce system...

What I Spent Ada Lovelace Day Working On

14 October 2014
As I track on the API space, the gender gap becomes increasingly obvious. As with many other guys, I’m struggling with coming up with the most constructive way that I can contribute to closing the gender gap in technology. As I do with the rest of the API space, I figured I can work harder to tell more stories about women doing interesting things in the API space, while also working to understand the history of women in the space. With this in mind I took the opportunity on Ada Lovelace Day, to publish a project dedicated tracking on women doing interesting things in the world of APIs, and as with the other 75+ projects, I will spend time each month moving the project forward. My goal is to find more stories for my blog, more speakers and attendees for API industry events, and make sure women are better represented across my research...

An Outside-In Approach To Jumpstarting An API Effort At The University of Oklahoma

12 October 2014
I wrote a story a couple of weeks ago, about how to kickstart APIs at the University of Oklahoma (OU). I ended the post, saying I would find some easy targets for generating the initial APIs, and publish a basic developer portal using Github Pages. After some work I think I have enough done to initiate another conversation with my friends at OU. In any company, organization, government agency, or institution, where you are trying to decide where to start with APIs, the public website is the place to start. If data and content is already published to the website, it should also be available in a machine readable format via an API—this is the obvious place to start at OU. To help find the low hanging fruit, when it comes to data and content at OU, I wrote a simple script that would slowly spider every page of the ou...

Exposing Dictionaries From My API Collections

11 October 2014
I’m playing around with different ways to compose, and examine collections of APIs. I have a database of over 2500 API that I keep an eye on, and for some of them I’ve been generating Swagger specs, and using APIs.json to compose them into collections. I did this with 10 APIs I'm calling my utility stack, because they are some of the fundamental utility style resources I depend on to make the API Evangelist network function. I generated Swagger specs for the 10 following APIs: bitly Data API Search FullContact Name API FullContact Location Normalization API Pinboard All Posts API AngelList Startup API Wordnik WordList API AlchemyAPI Keyword and Term Extraction AlchemyAPI Text Extraction API AlchemyAPI Author Extraction API Then using these Swagger definitions, I outputted any parameters that are used for endpoints, as well as the fields for all of the APIs underlying data model...

Launching 25 APIs To Assemble A Single Poem For Each Day

10 October 2014
I first started Poem of the Times back around 2003, and for about five years I harvested a poem each day, from the top headlines across the top english speaking newspapers around the world. Sometime in 2008 I stopped generating the poem, but in an effort to showcase the potential of APIs, I thought it would be a good time to revive the project. Version 1.0 of Poem of the Times used RSS to pull its headlines, and for version 2.0 I want to use APIs. Something that seems impossible when you are faced with the fact that most of the top newspapers do not have APIs, which is very sad. ;-( However in 2014 we can make APIs from any web page using Scraping to API tools like Kimono Labs. Using Kimono Labs I created an APIs for each of top 25 newspapers...

Exploring The Possibilities of Being An API Broker

10 October 2014
I’m playing around with different ways of building API collections using APIs.json, and building on a concept I saw introduced by Cyril Gaillard’s story titled "I don’t need a business co-founder, I need an API broker", something which was expanded on by Patricio Robles (@probles) on ProgrammableWeb with "would your company benefit from having an API broker?" The concept of an API broker is interesting. If you had talked to me a year ago, I would have framed my thoughts on API brokering in a more algorithmic way, but after reading these posts, I am looking to merge in my thoughts around API evangelism, taking more of a human approach to API brokering. While I think API brokering in the future might look like more like high speed trading with algorithms doing the heavy lifting, I’m thinking for right now it is something we need humans to bridge, bringing a more personal approach during the wild wild west days of APIs...

The Publicly Available Private Target APIs

09 October 2014
I’m doing my usual monitoring of the API space, and while looking at various developer areas, I stumbled across the Target Developer Portal. I find the Target developer portal interesting because it is publicly available, but before you can get any information you have to register or login. When you land on the landing page for developer.target.com you simple get a page that says: Please Note: Access to the developer portal is restricted to Target employees and trusted third parties that currently have a working relationship with Target Corporation. Registration requests that do not meet these guidelines will be rejected. I would like to see more information about Target’s API efforts, which I think they could do without giving away business intelligence, but overall I support the line they are walking with their API efforts...

The Real-Time API Layer Becoming Default For Providers

07 October 2014
One of the API news story of the day was the release of the Hacker News API. I’m only lightly interested in the fact that HN now has an API because, honestly I don't feel like an API at this point in the evolution of tech curation site is something to applaud, but their approach to making their API real-time I think does subtly reflect other currents in the API space. HN partnered with Firebase to make sure the tech news curation site doesn't just have an API, it has a real-time API. Meaning you can now get HN links in machine readable way, so that you can build the popular flow of tech information into other web, and mobile applications—in real-time! HN launching an API…yawn! HN launch an API with Firebase bkked in, reflects a growing trend from influential APIs...

Divorces, Mergers And Acquisitions, In The API Economy

06 October 2014
As I hear stories of the HP separation today, I'm reminded of how companies of all shapes and sizes interact, both historically, and in this potentially new API driven business landscape we find ourselves in. I’m not an expert in running any size company, but this won’t stop me from being a pundit on the subject! ;-) The HP story brought me back to a conversation I was having the other day with a VC, regarding what is next for Apigee, and when I said IPO, the VC asked me if maybe SAP would buy them. I know that SAP and Apigee are partnering, but honestly I don't know jack about Apigee’s business model, or even SAP, so I really don't have a clue what is next, I can only guess...

I Updated My APIs To Use Swagger 2.0

06 October 2014
I spent some time this weekend updating a handful of my APIs to the new Swagger 2.0 API definition format. I was already using an older version of Swagger, so the migration wasn’t too difficult. I have about five new APIs I want to roll out over the next couple weeks, and I wanted them to up to date, using the latest version, so moving forward my knowledge using my existing APIs was the best way to prepare. I moved forward the five "core APIs", as I call them, analysis, APIs, building blocks, curated, and tools, to all use Swagger 2.0. These APIs provide access to my monitoring system I use to keep track of the space. I also migrated two of my "stack APIs", image manipulation, and screen capture, which are designed to be general purpose, utility APIs  I use across my platform...

Trade.gov Using APIs.json And Added To APIs.io

06 October 2014
I've been a big proponent of APIs in the federal government, and it makes me really happy to see Developer.Trade.Gov using APIs.json to provide an inventory of APIs available at the federal agency dedicated to strengthening "the competitiveness of U.S. industry, promotes trade and investment, and ensures fair trade through the rigorous enforcement of our trade laws and agreements". If you aren’t familiar with APIs.json, it is the open format that 3Scale and API Evangelist are working on to help make APIs discoverable. You can see APIs.json in action at the open source API search engine APIs.io, where the International Trade Administration (ITA) has submitted their APIs.json file for inclusion...

Taking A Fresh Look At What Open Source API Management Architecture Is Available

05 October 2014
I’ve been a outspoken advocate for more open source API management tooling, for some time now. I'm sensitive to the fact that startups have to make money in the API space, but in my opinion a certain layer of the API space needs to remain open and interoperable for this all to work, and I feel that open source tools are an important variable in this equation. When I last checked into what was available in the space, there really wasn't much, so in 2014 I figured I'd take another look. Originally there is just one player on the space who was completely open source, and that is WSO2: API management is just one tool in the massive open source catalog that WSO2 brings to the table. The company provides a number of open source tools including identity & authentication, ESB, data and API management solutions...

Reworking My API 101 Content And First Up Is The 100K View

03 October 2014
The home page of API Evangelist has always been my API 101 page, where any new visitor can land, not know a thing about APIs, read the page, and walk away understanding at least what an API is, and hopefully also a greater understanding of how it impacts their world. From the beginning the API Evangelist home page always had a lean toward API providers, and over time I've added information about consuming APIs, as well as trends in the API space I'm seeing. In my opinion my 101 content has become too lengthy, and not properly onboarding people to the multiple areas of APIs like providing APIs vs consuming APIs. I think it is time to overhaul my 101 section, and produce some newer, more relevant API 101 content for 2014...

Translating The World Of Hypermedia APIs For The Normals

02 October 2014
I’m giving my hypermedia API research a little love today, and as part of this I was reviewing examples of hypermedia in the wild like with the Elastic Path Cortex API. Elastic Path was the first company to introduce me to the possibilities around hypermedia way back in 2011, so I enjoy checking in regularly to see what they are up to with their APIs. As of January 2014 I’ve committed more time to doing research on hypermedia APIs, as well as work to tell stories about how hypermedia is being applied by companies, in a way that anyone can understand. This last summer at API-Craft in Detroit, the hypermedia community acknowledged that they have an image problem, and had some significant work ahead of them when it comes to storytelling, specifically around speaking to the “normals”...

Internal Strategy Trumping External API Efforts In Many Conversations

02 October 2014
I spend many of my days talking to startups, SMB, SME, larger enterprise, institutions, and federal government folk about APIs—if you haven’t heard, its what I do. I’ve become the sort of counselor for the world of APIs, sometimes just listening, but often times giving advice, and sharing random thoughts with a wide variety of characters, who are looking to understand the world of APIs. One pattern I've been consistently seeing across many of these API sessions, is that questions around internal API strategy are trumping any external or public API questions. These usually discussions start with questions of API design, deployment and management, but then often times move to strategies around internal evangelism, and incentivizing the usage of APIs in general, not just consuming your own internal APIs...

Seamless Spreadsheet To API Solution From Data Everywhere

02 October 2014
As the popularity of APIs rapidly increases, I’m seeing spreadsheets play a growing role in both providing APIs, as well as consuming APIs. On the road to #APIStrat Chicago I came across a company who has a pretty dead-simple approach to using spreadsheets to drive data via APIs, called Data Everywhere. Data Everywhere describes their service: Select the cells in your existing spreadsheet and click publish. Your data will be instantly available in other spreadsheets. Our REST API makes your data available in databases, phones, websites, and other applications. Whether we want to admit it or not, most of the world's data is locked up in spreadsheets, and providing dead simple tools to liberate this data via APIs are a very logical solution...

I Find It Interesting That Wordnik Created The API Definition Format Swagger

01 October 2014
I’m working through my API design stories, and was working through some research on the origins of Swagger, and as I'm writing a paragraph on Wordnik, I became distracted around how Swagger was born out of this "word" startup. You see, Wordnik presents themselves as "a new way to discover meaning", and out of this work, Swagger, "a new way to discover meaning" from APIs was born. Words are an important building block in communication, and I see APIs as a similar, more structured way to approach online communication on the open Internet. Swagger has given us a new vocabulary, providing a new way to describe, and communicate around APIs. You can programmatically pull a a Swagger specification for an API, and within a few seconds you have an idea of what the API resources means, and has to offer...

Maybe I Am Missing Something, But Where Is Your Pricing Page?

01 October 2014
I was doing some research on travel and transportation APIs over the last couple of weeks, and one of the developer portals I was looking at was one of the enterprise leaders in the space, the Sabre Dev Network. I really like the overall implementation from Sabre, except for one thing... There is no pricing page for the Sabre Dev Network. ;-( The only place you find a mention of pricing is in the FAQ page, where it says: "We have a number of different pricing options for our services. Whether you are a company just starting out or an established travel provider, we have pricing options that will fit your business needs.” I understand you are a little apprehensive about sharing your pricing, or maybe you haven’t really thought it through all the way, and just want to shake the trees and see what falls out...

Autogenerate Runscope-powered API SDKs Using APIMatic

01 October 2014
Swagger is now Open API Definition Format (OADF) -- READ MORE As the API lifecycle continues to expand and comes into focus, new services are emerging to help both API providers, and consumers, better manage API operations from start to finish. New API integration services like Runscope have emerged to better understand how APIs are actually being consumed, and services like APIMatic are born out of the need to produce better quality SDKs for developers--it only seems natural that eventually these services would start working together. APIMatic will now generate SDKs in 7 languages that are designed, and enabled to inspect/debug all of the requests and response data between their API, and the applications that depend on them...

The U.S. International Trade Commission Includes APIs In Latest Report

30 September 2014
Those of us who live and breathe the API space, throw around a phrase, “The API Economy”, quite a lot. Referring to the increased usage of APIs across vital industries to drive web and mobile applications, but we as we do often, the phrase is used to describe the future of things, rather than where things actually are. While we are seeing APIs begin to affect global economies, we really don't have much hard evidence that "The API Economy" is a thing beyond our own techno fascination. With the release of a new report from the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC), called Digital Trade in the U.S. and Global Economies, us API geeks are getting the first actual evidence of "The API Economy", with a section in the report called "Increasing Collaboration and Integration in Online Services—The Economic Contributions of Application Programming Interfaces"...

Where Do We Start With APIs At The University of Oklahoma?

30 September 2014
I’m dedicating more time lately to research how APIs are being used at universities, and a couple months back I published my first white paper on using APIs in higher education. As I do with other sectors, I would like to shed light on how APIs are being used at universities, and potentially share best practices, and stories between higher educational institutions, amplifying the positive effects of APIs. My efforts are beginning to pay off, and I was recently contacted by two friends, Mark Morvant (@MarkMorvant) and Adam Croom (@acroom), at the University of Oklahoma. They had seen my University research, and read my white paper, but what really lit their fire was the piece in the NY Times about student-built apps teaching colleges a thing or two—after reading that, they decided to give me a call to discuss APIs more...

What I Would Look For When Hiring a Modern API Developer?

30 September 2014
I get asked about hiring developer advocates, and API developers quite often during the week, but this specific question in my inbox from Augmate, I found more interesting. I thought their usage of a “modern API developer” was a little different, which gave me a reason to provide some fresh thought on the subject. After reading the question, my first response was going to be: API developer for consuming APIs or providing API? A thought which I immediately nullified, because any “modern API developer” is both. You should never just consume APIs, or just develop APIs, you should always do both—something that will give you the healthy perspective that I would be looking for when hiring...

Extract Knowledge From Audio And Video Using The Clarify API

29 September 2014
I’ve been tracking on a growing number of video, and voice enabled APIs lately, and one that is continually popping up to the top of my API monitoring list is Clarify. The description Clarify provides on their docs page is pretty concise: The Clarify API provides a RESTful API to extract knowledge from audio and video content Why is Clarify popping up on my list lately? There are a number of things that will cause an API related company to show up on my radar, but Clarify has several things going for it lately: Branding Shift - Recently they migrated from being Op3nVoice, which I didn’t think wasn't that hard to spell, but I know that many people would have trouble with, to being Clarify—which is a cleaner brand...

Introducing API.Report, A Community API News Site

29 September 2014
I curate a lot of interesting stories across the API space from my RSS feeds, the Twittersphere, and my overactive email inbox each day. Only a small percentage of these stories ever make it to my business of API analysis site apievangelist.com, or my politics of APIs analysis at apivoice.com. Over the summer, this got me thinking, and while wandering around Detroit after API-Craft Detroit this last July, Steve Willmott (@njyx) and I were talking about the rapidly expanding API space, and both felt there was a gap in the news reporting for the API sector. ProgrammableWeb (PW) does a good job of providing API news and analysis for the space, but because of my monitoring of the space, I know there is a lot more news that never sees the light of day...

Thank You @3Scale For Investing In The Community With @APIStrat

29 September 2014
We just wrapped up the 4th edition of @APIStrat in Chicago last week, and once again I’m very happy with the way things went, as 400+ folks gathered to discuss APIs. The event had the right tone, and I got the usual flood of comments from attendees, speakers, and sponsors about what a great experience the event was. I would love to take credit, but all of the responsibility goes to 3Scale for making it happen. 3Scale takes all the risk, and their rockstar team makes the event a reality—I just help get folks to the conference, contribute ideas to the schedule, present, and MC as much of the event as I possibly can. @APIStrat has been helping move forward the conversation in the API space for two years now, starting with New York and San Francisco in 2013, and now Amsterdam and Chicago in 2014, all made possible because of 3Scale's investment...

My API 101 Workshop At @APIStrat In Chicago Next Week

20 September 2014
I’m working on the details of my API 101 workshop with Kirsten Hunter (@synedra) next week. She is delivering most of the content for the 2 hour workshop, as she has evolved a pretty sophisticated set of API 101 materials. My contribution will be from my history of APIs, and my API trends material, helping people understand the how we got here, and some thoughts on where we are going. History of APIs As I continue to make sense of the API space, I'm evolving my history of APIs story, adding and consolidating areas that I think have significantly contributed to the overall growth of the API space. While I track on 100+ categories, or business sectors, in which I think APIs are being applied in some interesting ways, I feel these seven areas are the cornerstones of the app, and its underlying API economy...

Machine Readable API Definition Format Swagger Matures to 2.0

19 September 2014
The machine readable API definition format Swagger, just rolled over to version 2.0. I use Swagger to describe all of my APIs, and I largely associate the creator of Swagger, Wordnik for kicking off this latest renaissance in defining APIs in a way that provides us with a machine readable vocabulary to talk about all of these valuable resoures that we are exposing via APIs. There are other formats out there, older ones like WADL, and more recent ones like API Blueprint, and RAML, but Swagger was the one that revived this movement, helping us create ways for generating important elements throughout the API lifecycle, from mock interfaces in the design process, to testing and monitoring of product APIs...

Some Advice For The Enterprise When Beginning Your API Journey

19 September 2014
I'm seeing the enterprise wake up to the potential of an API centric approach to doing business, slowly evolving beyond a Service Oriented Architectural (SOA) approach, and trying to understand why APIs are superior for delivering resources to the web, mobile, and Internet of thing (Iot) apps they are delivering, and increasingly depending on. Even though we are clearly in an enterprise phase of the API evolution, I’m watching many leading enterprise entities struggle with their early API efforts, producing some pretty weak solutions, that developers are not finding useful, and hurting their efforts right out of the gate. I know that many enterprise API architects will dismiss my advice, because they know better than I do, but I feel compelled to share my thoughts, in hopes that even a handful will be more successful with their API efforts, which I think will also help the overall space as well...

How Do We Continue Moving Green Button Data And APIs Forward?

17 September 2014
I'm preparing for a talk at the The Smart Grid Interoperability Panel Second Annual Conference, in Nashville Tennessee, specifically participating on a panel titled "Using Power Grid Open Data Initiatives". I accepted the request to go speak as part of my wider work on the Green Button iniative out of The White House, DOE, NIST, and the GSA. I was asked to provide some thoughts on how to help move the Green Button efforts forward earlier this winter, and again in the spring, and just haven't had the bandwidth to give any energy, so I saw this as a great opportunity to make some time as part of this panel. In May, The White House, 18F, some Presidential Innovation Fellows, and myself were asked to move the Green Button ball forward, resulting in a new website, and developer area that is all hosted on Github...

Beyond Public APIs In Government: Internal Access to Resources

15 September 2014
The conversation around open data and APIs in government is dominated by talk of making resources available to the public, which is a good thing, but is only 1/3 of the discussion that should be occurring amongst gov-focused techies, as well as the project owners, and data stewards who are managing these vital public resources across federal agencies. APIs are not just deployed to support public access to resources, this has just been the trend that is getting all the headlines, and there is still lot of value to be realized when putting APIs to work within an agency, opening up access to data, content, and other digital resources, increasing efficiency agency-wide using Internet technology...

Building The Type Of Audience I Really Want

14 September 2014
I used to work hard to write blog posts on API Evangelist that would have broad appeal with the Hacker News community, and at first I didn't have any luck, after trying to engage with readers on posts, I found myself blacklisted, where nothing I submitted showed up. I lived in some kind parallel universe, all because I argued with a couple influential HN users, who didn't like what I had to offer. I started a new account for API Evangelist, and began playing the game with a little different approach. I didn't engage with users, and wrote posts with titles that would bring in readers, kept things short and superficial, and had some front-page exposure, which would result in thousands of pageviews, and then would dissipate...

Can You Show Me The ROI On All Of This API Stuff Before We Commit

14 September 2014
I am working on a white paper for a big enterprise provider who is looking to deliver solutions in the API space. At their request I’ve gone through six industries and looked for companies who have over 5k employees and are doing interesting things with APIs--a request that produced some great research for the white paper, as well as for stories here on API Evangelist. It can be hard to find large enterprise organizations who are doing full blown "API", because honestly many of them just do not get it yet. Sure I can find many that are doing web services, and dabbling with APIs, but it can be downright difficult to find examples of companies that I would showcase as a healthy API patterns...

In The Future APIs Will Be Default For All Cities

13 September 2014
Swagger is now Open API Definition Format (OADF) -- READ MORE In 2014 we are making significant progress in deploying APIs in support of city operations, but we still have so much more work ahead of us when it comes to making public resources available. You can find a dedicated developer area full of data sets, and APIs, in most major US cities like New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and many more, but what else can we do to really pick up the momentum and quality? Standardizing API Design Practices APIs are not that difficult to design with the right education, and experience. Developers who work on city contracts, or are employed by the city should all be taught common web API design practices, and be exposed to modern API design tooling like Swagger and Apiary...

Internal API Search Engine For Everyone At Your Company (Not Just Developers)

11 September 2014
I’ve talked about how the open source API search engine APIs.io can be deployed as an internal API search engine, as well as for public API discovery in the past. One aspect of this approach that I can’t emphasize enough, is that the search engine doesn’t just return APIs in the search results, it can provide access to supporting building blocks as well. The APIs.json format doesn't just provide a machine readable way to describe, and index your APIs, it also provides a way to describe the building blocks that support your APIs like code samples, SDKs, and other things API consumers will need when putting APIs to work for them. The indexing of these API support elements really starts to benefit company operations when you also bundle tools for non-developers alongside internal APIs, like spreadsheet connectors, d3...

No Public APIs Are Not Going Away Just Cause A Few BigCos Fumble At It

11 September 2014
I saw another story about whether or not public APIs are going away, which is another story in a fairly long line of stories I’m seeing lately from enterprise outlets about whether or not the demise of Netflix, ESPN, and now Aetna means public APIs are a bad idea, unsustainable and now will be going away—proving enterprise API architects right that an SOA is the way to go. If you are looking at the bigger API picture, the answer to this question is clearly no. Amazon, Salesforce, Twilio, and many other public APIs with straightforward business models are doing just fine. Just because a handful of companies who never quite had a business model, and never really gave their API efforts  the resources they needed to be successful, doesn't mean that public APIs are a bad idea...

If You Need Assistance With Your Healthcare API Strategy I Have The Person

10 September 2014
I get a lot of folks who engage me about the API space, most of them are API providers, many are focused on API consumption, with only just a small few are looking the evangelism and analyst side of things. As far as I know I’m the only individual out there looking at all industries, across all of these areas, working hard to understand how APIs are being applied across the board. I’m always keeping an eye out for talent that is also working to expand their knowledge in the same way, but as the API universe expands I think this is going to be increasingly difficult, and I think we are going to start needing more analysts who focus within specific domains, and business sectors. With this in mind, I’ve been closely watching Mark Silverberg (@skram) over at SocialHealthInsights...

Explaining APIs To Senior Leadership: Access To Company Resources Without The IT Hassle

10 September 2014
One question I get pretty frequently from my readers, is about how they should explain APIs to their senior leaders, specifically the non-tech savvy executives. In my opinion, these conversations can be some of the most important ones, not just for a single company, but potentially an entire industry. To help support this effort, I’m working through several stories that anyone can put to work when trying to convince their senior leaders that APIs are a thing--this week is about access to resources. APIs are all about making vital company resources available in a self-service, and secure way over the open Internet. Despite popular belief, most APIs are not publicly available, just the overview, documentation, code samples, and other building blocks are publicly available...

A Conversation With @ijroth, @dorkitude, @antonyfalco, and @medjawii In The Next Generation API Stack Panel @APIStrat

08 September 2014
When I think about the concept "API mashup", It conjures up visions of clever hacks using Twitter and Google Maps from 2008 or 2009, where savvy developers would find innovative ways to mashup two or more APIs, and deliver some sort of web, and eventually mobile application on top of a couple of common APIs. In 2014 I think the concept of a mashup has evolved, and while the term has fallen out of popularity with some people, I think the topic is still extremely relevant, and is something I want to discuss more at @APIStrat in Chicago at the end of this month. To continue this discussion we've asked four leaders from the world of APIs to join me on stage for a panel discussion we are calling “The Next Generation API Stack”: Issac Roth (@ijroth) of StrongLoop Kyle Wild (@dorkitude) of Keen...

API Evangelist Thoughts On The Right To An API Key And Algorithmic Organizing

06 September 2014
There was a very interesting piece from venture capitalist Albert Wenger (@albertwenger) of Union Square Ventures over the labor day weekend, called Labor Day: Right to an API Key (Algorithmic Organizing), that I’ve had open ever since and wanted to take a moment to add my thoughts to. First let me say, I agree 100% with Albert’s post, but I felt that the piece left out some very critical elements, which I think Albert simply left out because he was just trying to get a short thought published over a holiday weekend, but I feel pretty strongly these points are critical to his argument, and should be put out there. You can read the full post over on Albert's blog, but I think this statement sums it up nicely: There is a simple and universal regulatory change that would dramatically shift the bargaining power: an individual right to an API Key...

Explaining APIs To Your Senior Leadership

04 September 2014
One question I get pretty frequently from my readers, is how should they explain APIs to senior leaders, specifically the executives who aren't tech savvy. In my opinion, these conversations can be some of the most important ones for not just a specific company, but potentially an entire industry—so I wanted to provide some material you can use in your own conversations. First APIs are just like websites, but instead of being for humans they are meant for other desktop, web, server, and mobile applications. When you go to twitter.com you get an HTML listing of tweets, and when you go to api.twitter.com you get back JSON which is meant for other application to read, where the HTML is meant to make visible for the human API--that is it, that is the difference...

An API Evangelism Strategy To Map The Global Family Tree

03 September 2014
In my work everyday as the API Evangelist, I get to have some very interesting conversations, with a wide variety of folks, about how they are using APIs, as well as brainstorming other ways they can approach their API strategy allowing them to be more effective. One of the things that keep me going in this space is this diversity. One day I’m looking at Developer.Trade.Gov for the Department of Commerce, the next talking to WordPress about APIs for 60 million websites, and then I’m talking with the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about the Family Search API, which is actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records from around the world. I’m so lucky I get to speak with all of these folks about the benefits, and perils of APIs, helping them think through their approach to opening up their valuable resources using APIs...

Thank You For Your API Evangelist Blog(s)

29 August 2014
I get quite a few nice comments about my blog(s) behind the scenes. Many are from the enterprise or insttutions, where I know I could never get away with publishing publicly. As the APi space has heated up in 2014, more people are trying to make sense of this API mayhem, and ultimately they come across my blog, and find  valuable information that really helps them in their journey. I have been considering adding a page, listing some of the kind words I get from folks--maybe I will someday, but today I received a nice email, one I couldn't help but ask if I could repost--so here is a nice message from Saswat Anand: Hi I have been reading your blogs and following you on Twitter for a couple of weeks now...

Video From The Hypermedia Panel At API-Craft In Detroit Last Month

28 August 2014
I never properly wrapped up my experience at API-Craft last month, where I moderated a pretty important panel discussion on hypermedia with Mike Amundsen (@mamund), Mike Kelly (@mikekelly85) Steve Klabnik (@steveklabnik), Kevin Swiber (@kevinswiber), Jørn Wildt (@JornWildt), and Markus Lanthaler (@MarkusLanthaler).  The discussion was pretty amazing, I will let you watch for yourself. The action actually starts right at about 30:00 minute mark, so there is a lot of dead space until then.  Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream   Careful it is 3 hours of some pretty geeky talk, you might experience some hypermedia side effects. Seriously though, this is a pretty important video discussion about a very relevant, and often misunderstood part of API evolution...

Explaining My Work Around APIs In Higher Education To Institutions

28 August 2014
I’m needing to quantify the work i do around APIs in higher education for a university in the U.K., so I figured I’d craft into a story that I can share with my readers, and potentially other schools who would ask what it is that I do. I am interested in APIs in higher education because I feel strongly that our institutions are a fertile environment for ensuring that the next generation of our society possess the digital literacy they will need to navigate and find success in our increasingly digital world. When I mention that higher education institutions should be incorporating APIs into daily operations, most folks immediately think of a very technical, IT directed effort, which is one layer to the discussion that should be considered, but ultimately it is about developing an awareness, and engagement by administration, faculty, and the students with the increasingly public APIs that surround us, as well as internal institutional APIs...

Please Open Source Your API Before Shutting It Down

28 August 2014
I am making another pass through 821 companies doing interesting things with APIs, and flagging a handful of them as inactive. I will then attempt to contact each of the companies to see if anyone is home. All signs point to a handful of them being dormant projects, with silent blogs, twitter accounts, and other common streams you normally see flowing from API platforms. If any of them are indeed shutting down, I’m going to urge them to consider open sourcing as much of their API platform as they can, from server side, and client side code to API definitions. At the very least I would like to capture a snapshot of the API, the title, description, image, and a machine readable Swagger spec of the interface, to help record the pattern for future consideration...

You Can Have An API Just By Choosing Products And Services That Have APIs

27 August 2014
When it comes to APIs, the quickest way to get an API for your company, organization or government agency is to choose to only use online services that have APIs. Twitter, Facebook, Google, Dropbox, Github, Instagram, Flickr, and many other popular services you already use, all have APIs. As I’m expanding on my tracking of API deployment tools, to include deploying APIs via Google Spreadsheets, and to scraping data from websites, I can’t help but step back and consider truly what is the easiest way to deploy an API, which really is about choosing to use online services that already have an API--no connecting to your backend systems necessary! We talk about APIs in the context of developers, using APIs to build applications for end-users, and provide system integrations...

Using Excel As An API Datasource And An API Client For The Masses

27 August 2014
I’ve been tracking on the usage of spreadsheets in conjunction with APIs for several years now. Spreadsheets are everywhere, they are the number one data management tool in the world, and whether API developers like or not, spreadsheets will continue to collide with the API space, as both API providers, and consumers try to get things done using APIs. APIs are all about getting access to the resources you need, and spreadsheets are being used by both API providers and consumers to accomplish these goals. It makes complete sense to me that business users would be looking for solutions via spreadsheets, as they are one potential doorway to hacking for the average person—writing macros, calculations, and other dynamic features people execute within the spreadsheet...

Brewing Up Something Awesome With The Jive Software API

27 August 2014
Enterprise social API Jive Software wins for the best developer landing page. Normally I tell folks, like I did with Trade.gov last week, that your landing page should have a short, precise description of what you API does—this is some seriously valuable real estate, and you have one chance to make an impression. I would put Jive Software into the category of more making a first impression, than providing a short description of what the API does: I wouldn’t recommend this approach for every API provider, but if you can do it right, and make a solid first impression—run with it! As an API Evangelist, and IPA Evangelist, I can seriously get behind a message like “brew up something awesome”...

Adding Separate Page For My API Stack APIs

26 August 2014
I have been slowly producing my own stack of APIs, which I'm putting under The API Stack brand. My goal with each of these APIs is to do one thing, and do it well, then package up the server side code, API definition, and publish as its own standalone Github repository.  I have an Evernote full of ideas for APIs, and I'm seeing plenty of great API designs that I could easily emulate from the rest of The API Stack. As I have time, I will deploy each of my API designs as an API Stack API, eventually looking to build a robust stack of utility APIs. To support this I've separate out my APIs here into two separate pages, my core APIs, which will provide access to content across the API Evangelist network, and my stack APIs which will all be the modular, API Stack designs...

Relationship Between APIs And Containers

26 August 2014
Containers are a fast growing trend when it comes to delivering compute resources online. Reflecting the world of API design, I feel containers are about deploying exactly the cloud resources you will need to complete a specific compute objective, then putting everything into a single virtualized container definition, that can be forked, clone, scaled, and evolved indpendently of any other resources. Each individual container posesses everything it will need from the operating system, file system, database, necessary libraries, and APIs to accomplish its given objective. Virtual containers will make API driven resources even more agile, nimble and scalable--not just for providers, but also for consumers...

APIs That Do One Thing And Do It Well Like ZipLocate

26 August 2014
My friend Mark Silverberg (@skram), pointed out a very cool API the other day, that geolocates zip codes, and appropriately named ZipLocate. What I really like about ZipLocate is that they do one thing, and they do it well. Don’t get me wrong I love me some AWS and Twilio, who have industrial grade APIs, but I also have a love for simple, lightweight APIs that focus on one thing. Another interesting thing about ZipLocate is that it is always free, and never rate limited. He says that it is relatively cheap to host the API, because bandwidth usage is light, with all API calls are heavily cached. I like this type of micro service design--I want thousands more just like it. What I also dig about ZipLocate is that if you “...

Notification Focused Startups Within Leading API Ecosystems

26 August 2014
I was keeping an eye out for interesting API stories on ProductHunt the other day and came across an cool notification startup that lives in the Stripe API ecosystem, called Hooked. Hooked allows users to set up notifications for any events related to a Stripe account. Hooked uses the Stripe API to disocver events, and then employs webhooks to send notifications. As I'm writing this story, I realize this is very similar to my previous story today about real-time and visualization layers for APIs, and that notifications could easily be provided as a white label solution for API providers, giving them a ready to go notification layer to their APIs. Right now I lump notifications in my research under real-time, but I think I will be pulling it out into its own research area...

Real-time and Visualizations Will Be Key in Financial API Deployments

26 August 2014
I have been doing a lot of research into the world of financial APIs, specifically looking at some of the larger companies providing APIs that deliver market news, data, corporate profiles, and other data that make markets go round. As I consider some of the common building blocks that are common across many financial API--real-time data frameworks, and visualization tools are two of the top items that I think will be part of every financial API stack in the future. Almost every API I looked at had some sort of real-time stream, promising data faster, as well as a way to extract meaning from these streams using template, or custom visualizations. I’m tracking on real-time API services and tools, and i’ve been seeing some of these frameworks, like Firebase getting baked in by default to some API platforms...

Which API Do I Need?

25 August 2014
I was looking around the Google Developer area as part of some regular work, and I noticed an interesting page Google has under their mapping session, that help users decide which API they need based upon their goals. As the page says: "The API picker lists the most common things you may want to do on a map or with location-based data, and suggests the API that most suits your needs. For details about each API, follow the links to the related documentation."   I don't think that the table layout Google uses is a particularly good one, resulting in a pretty busy looking matrix. I don't think it is a perfect solution, but I like the idea of providing developers with some sort of assistance in understand which API to use, based upon their goals...

Ocotoparts Open Source Google Spreadsheet

25 August 2014
Electronic search engine APIs Octopart developed a pretty slick Microsoft Excel plugin for their API a while back, and have now taken it to the next level, with a Google Spreadsheet connector for their API. You can find a simple video on on their site, and the code on Github. Using the open source Google Spreadsheet API connector, you can connect to the latest electronic parts pricing and availability in your Google Docs, kept up-to-date using the Octopart API—providing a pretty interesting way to maintain a bill of materials (BOM), across multiple providers. Octopart's approach to using both Microsoft Excel, and Google Spreadsheets as an interface for the average business person is pretty interesting, not because it is the perfect technological solution, but because it brings the value of APIs closer to the actual business problem owners...

The Expanding API Conference Landscape

25 August 2014
As I’m riding the build up for APIStrat in Chicago, and preparing for I Love APIs in San Francisco, and the API 360 Summit in DC, I can’t help but think about how busy the API event scene is getting—in 2014 there are 14 separate conferences focused on the world of APIs. In the beginning there was just Gluecon, Defrag, and the Business of APIs, then 3Scale and API Evangelist got together and started planning for @APIStrat, then immediately API Days happened, Nordic APIs came on the scene, API-Crafta  grew beyond just Meetup, and before you know we have 14 separate events. I’m going to be biased here, because @APIStrat is my baby, and I’ve been involved in supporting API Days since day, so these two events will always have a special place in my heart...

Andrew Nacin Of WordPress @APIStrat Chicago

25 August 2014
I am super stoked to announce that we have Andrew Nacin (@nacin), the lead developer from WordPress keynoting API Strategy & Practice in Chicago next month. We are looking to continue the conversation around an official WordPress API, scheduled for inclusion in the WordPress 4.1 release. While an API for WordPress may not seem like anything that big, when you think about it being baked into WordPress by default, it means that over 60 million websites will potentially get an API, and 22% of the top 10 million websites run WordPress—a pretty significant shift. WordPress is still taking feedback on their upcoming API release, and you can visit their website and participate there, and now you can also come to Chicago the end of September, and hear Andrew talk about his work at WordPress, and participate in the convversation around the WordPress API afterwards in the halls...

Push Button API Deployment With The Heroku Button

23 August 2014
The new Heroku Button gets us one step closer to a new age of API deployment, where anyone can deploy the APIs they need without any developer or IT resources. As I’m working on packaging up API designs for my screen capture API, and image manipulation API, this type of approach is what I’m envisioning for all of my APIs in the future—push button API deployment. You shouldn't have to wait to deploy the API you need. Just as we are beginning to deploy pre-packaged application stacks like Wordpress, and Drupal, we should be able to deploy common API deployments for images, blogs, videos, and much, much more, with a single click of a button. Once any new API is launched it can be configured, and connected to other systems using the API, allowing it to operate as part of larger stack, or stay as completely independent node  that just checks in with the mother ship from time to time...

WordPress Style API Modules For Government

22 August 2014
The other night I was writing about the need for a social media directory API, like the one the GSA has launched for the federal government, but specifically for the City of Chicago. I was trying to get a list of each of the City of Chicago Twitter accounts, and while I’m glad there is a central social media account list, I always want an API so I can eliminate the need for data entry. After I posted my story, Oliver Seiler (@0seiler) emailed me the API endpoint for the New Zealand Government Directory API, which doesn't include the social media information that our federal government social media directory API delivers, but offers another look at what one possible pattern for government directory APIs is...

The Heroku HTTP API Design Guide

22 August 2014
I stumbled across a cool resource out of Heroku today, their HTTP API design guide, which intends to direct practices for API design on the Heroku API platform. Heroku’s goals around APIs design are, "consistency and focusing on business logic while avoiding design bikeshedding”. They put out the guide to drive consistent aPI design practices at Heroku, but are also interested in sharing with the wider API community. I think API design best practices are something every API provider should have, and publish publicly (on Github). I think it is ok to even fork, and modify existing guides like Heroku’s or maybe from 18F out of federal government. This most important thing is that you have a guide that can guide your team, or other teams within your organization...

Adding PokitDok To Healthcare Research And The API Stack (Well They Did)

21 August 2014
I’m adding PokitDok, a simple API for healthcare to The API Stack, and my overall APIs in healthcare research. Well I didn't exactly add them, PokitDok added themselves to my healthcare research by forking the Github repository, and adding themselves to the JSON data source—once I received the pull request, I accepted, and they were published on the site. Usually once a week I spend time to manually adding new companies I've come across in my monitoring of the API space, but being a one man show I can’t find everything across this massively expanding space. This is why I depend on you to help me curate the best from across the space. Not everyone knows that the entire API Evangelist network of 60+ research projects all runs on Github, which allows anyone to help write posts, curate industry news, and maintain the lists of API providers...

FDA Finding Their API Mojo With A New Drug Label API

21 August 2014
I first wrote about openFDA back in June, showcasing the launch of their new developer area, and I'm happy to see they aren't missing a beat when it comes to launching new APIs. I recently saw that openFDA just launch a new endpoint, called the Drug Label API, which allows you to query over 60K prescriptions and over-the-counter drug labels. It is satisfying to see such a large government agency find their API mojo. The original spark at the FDA was lit by Presidential Innovate Fellow Sean Herron (@seanherron), but most recently Sean has handed off the iniative to an internal team who will keep they platform moving forward using the same formula. Beyond just the API, openFDA is also seriously putting the "open" in openFDA with: Public Repo on GitHub  Extensive Community Q&A on StackExchange Progress Terms of Service for Government Everything the openFDA is doing provides a great blueprint for other agencies to follow, from their creative evolution of the interactive API documentation, to encouraging other federal agencies to fork, and use the openFDA TOS in their own platforms...

What I Have Been Calling API Trends, Are Slowly Being Baked Into API Operations

21 August 2014
In my monitoring of the API space, when I started seeing a large number of blog posts, tweets, companies, and other elements I track on get tagged with the same tag over and over, I take notice. My blogging, CRM, and news curation system all have their own tag cloud interface for the week, showing which tags have been applied--so if a tag gets heavy usage, I know it. Over the last couple of years, I've spun up new research into other areas within the world of APIs, beyond my core design, deployment, management, evangelism, discovery, and integration research. I created separate buckets beyond just provide and consume to track on these new areas, called trends, opportunities, and priorities...

Publishing Your APIs To Product Hunt

20 August 2014
It can be hard to keep up with what the latest geek trends are--where all of the latest digital watering holes are (especially when your old), that allow you to find the latest info, conversations, and links to everything cool and hip. I depend on my network of API peeps for tips, and last week I was introduced to a new place that I wanted to pass on to you, called Product Hunt. Product Hunt does a good job of describing what they do: Product Hunt surfaces the best new products, every day. It's a place for product-loving enthusiasts to share and geek out about the latest mobile apps, websites, hardware projects, and tech creations. I’ve had the site open for the last five days, scanning for cool tech creations that grab my attention, and when I opened the tab today, I noticed that APIs dominated the top of the list...

Route SMS Messages To Google Spreadsheets Via Twilio API With TwilioSheet

20 August 2014
If you follow Twilio blog or Twitter account you can always find a good API story from the API leader. It also makes me happy to see trends I’m seeing from other provider re-enforced by the API heavyweight. This time is providing spreadsheet integration with common API resources, like Twilio SMS. Twilio has a pretty slick tool they call TwilioSheet that allows you to receive SMS messages in a Google Spreadsheet, and created a pretty nice walkthrough of the entire setup. Providing this type of functionality helps, as Twilio says, "make it easy for developers and non-developers alike to receive SMS messages in a Google Spreadsheet”—emphasis on the non-developers. Whether we like it or not, the spreadsheet is the #1 database solution in the world, and provide a huge opportunity when it comes to bridging the world of APIs with the wider business landscape...

Who Is Going To Build The Uber API Platform For The Sharing Economy?

20 August 2014
The sharing economy is booming, and with the release of the Uber API, the attention on this space will only increase. Personally I’m only interested in the surface area of the API that Uber has released, and what it tells about the opportunity for API designers in the sharing economy. I think the surface area of the Uber API is pretty minimal, but very significant when you look at it as a glimpse of what is to come, as the sharing economy gets a direct pipeline to the API economy, and the resulting app economy. Oh yeah, I went there—I used all the economy buzzwords in once sentence. Seriously, I think the five endpoints that Uber launched with, are very telling: /products /estimates/price /estimates/time /history /me These API endpoints represent the beginning of the shared economy API surface area, and while there will be many additions, augmentations, and different takes on what APIs look like in the sharing economy, I predict many other providers will often emulate Uber in their own design...

Why I Am Continuing To Integrate Zapier In My Business Workflow

20 August 2014
I depend on a number of cloud services to make my personal and business world go round. Even as a programmer, who can hand code just about any script to integrate, automate, and orchestrate my world, I find myself using more reciprocity services like IFTTT and Zapier. API reciprocity providers are one of the most important evolutions of the API space, because they make the whole world of APis accessible to the normals, and not just to the geek crowd. My time is valuable, and personally I'd rather being using existing tools and services, rather than re-inventing the wheel, and when it comes to orchestrating my online life, I need all the help I can, which is why I am looking IFTTT and Zapier for help...

Sorry Google, Your Programming Test Is Not A Valid Measurement Of My Skills

20 August 2014
I’ve been talking with a very nice recruiter over at Google over the last couple weeks, and she has been so kind in keeping me updated about opportunities for evangelism at Google. This is the 3rd round of talks I've had with Google while being the API Evangelist, talks that historically go nowhere because of their programming test, which is a super silly aspect of their HR process. I was straight up with the Google recruiter a couple of weeks ago when she first emailed me, and again when we talked on the phone last week—I do not take programming tests to open up doors for employment conversations, sorry. ;-( It is a waste of my time, and yours, and doesn’t measure shit. I understand that you have to qualify large number of folks, at your very algorithmic-centric company, but when it comes to measuring what I do, a programming test isn’t a thing...

The API Focused Dev Shop

20 August 2014
I tag a lot of interesting companies that show up during my weekly API monitoring. When I see a tag go from 1 or 2, to over 5 companies--I take a closer look to see what is going on. An increase in the number of companies focusing in a specific area could be a trend, or it could be nothing. The tag "API Agency" ticked over to 6 today, when I added Aquevix, an indian company that is focusing on API development. As of August 2014 I now have six separate agency style companies that I've found who have a focus on API design and development: 6 Companies API SupportDeveloper Support Beyond FAQ, Forums and Documentation. First class support for your API. Processing an API request often means directly or indirectly interacting with 2 or more systems...

An APIs.json Collection Of API Resources Across Your Public, Partner Or Internal Resources

19 August 2014
Swagger is now Open API Definition Format (OADF) -- READ MORE APIs.json was designed to be a versatile API discovery format, not just a format for public API discovery via search engines like APIs.io. An APIs.json is meant to be a machine readable index of APIs within a single developer hub, providing information on the API endpoints as well as any other supporting resources--there is no reason that all of this can’t also be applied in a private setting. APIs.json can easily be placed within a domain, subdomain, or at any network address, and be used to describe an internal collection of API resources, as well as bring in outside APIs. APIs.jsonbui excels at aggregating multiple, potentially disparate APIs, into a single coherent collection for use in development...

Bing Developer Assistant for Visual Studio Delivers Relevant API Code

19 August 2014
The Bing Developer Center team has released a pretty interesting pluginthat assist developers who use Visual Studio when building web or mobile applications using APIs. In an effort to make developers lives easier, the Bing Developer Assistant now comes with integrated API code search that, “while coding, a relevant code snippet related to your current API will be automatically displayed in the IntelliSense window which is powered by Bing Code Search". "Code snippets are short piece of code that you can easily learn and copy", and you can "copy the code, or click the source URL to view where the code snippet comes from, or click "Search More" to find more code samples related to the API"...

Average Number of APIs Used In A Modern App

19 August 2014
I had someone ask me the other day if I had any numbers on how many APIs are used in a modern web or mobile applications--great question! I often refer to the growth in the number of APIs we use, but this is really just anecdotal, and not based on any real facts. In August, as part of the lead up to @APIStrat I am spending more time reaching out to dev shops in Chicago, with the most recent talks with Bryson Pouw at Blaze Portfolio, and Dave Devitt at SYDCON. In future conversation I will make sure and ask the dev shops how many APIs they use in the average app they deliver. If you have any data on the average number of APIs used in web or mobile apps at your agency, or know of research or stories that talk about this, please let me know...

Providing Users With Reciprocity Tools So Important Intuit Purchases itDuzzit

19 August 2014
One of the interoperability, automation, and reciprocity providers I track on itDuzzit has been acquired by the accounting platform Intuit. Usually acquisitions are just news, and not worthy of analysis here on API Evangelist, but I feel the itDuzzit acquisition is a significant sign when it comes to API providers, consumers, and reciprocity providers. I’ve been seeing more API providers offer IFTTT or Zapier integration as a default option, in their own developer hubs. I think the Intuit acquisition of itDuzzit reflects this evolution in how APIs are deployed, and consumed, something that has been pushed forward by this new generation of API reciprocity providers. The Intuit announcement recognizes that this new breed of reciprocity providers have the potential to reach beyond a core developer audience by: The itDuzzit technology allows multiple audiences to create sophisticated integrations with very little coding required...

How Are Dev Shops In Chicago Using APIs? A Talk With Bryson Pouw At Blaze Portfolio

18 August 2014
I recently talked with Bryson Pouw (@bpouw), Founder / CEO at Blaze Portfolio Systems in Chicago about how his portfolio management and trading technology company sees the world of APIs. Last week I had talked with Dave Devitt (@sydcon), President at SYDCON, a web development shop, and this week I was very interested to hear Bryson’s view on APIs, because his company is a little more niche, focusing specifically on the needs of the investment professional. Atom Align, the Blaze Portfolio Systems flagship product is looking to help investment professionals better manage their portfolios, and a big enabler of this is the Atom Align API, which provides programmatic access to: Information Queries – Obtain the list of portfolios, orders, brokers, and securities Trade Orders – Place, execute, cancel, and allocate trade orders Manage Trade Extracts – Create and download trade extract file The Atom Align API is only made available to trusted Blaze Portfolio partners and clients upon request, while also being used internally to drive system integrations...

Every API Provider Should Have A Logo And Branding Page

18 August 2014
I spend a lot of time looking for good quality logos to represent the companies I track on and write stories about. I have a certain vision in my head about how I want company listings and detail pages to look across the API Evangelist network—something that takes a lot of work. To support this vision, I spend a lot of time looking for logos. Sometimes you can find them in the header of a website, but often times they are poor quality, not configured to be standalone, or difficult to get at for any number of other reasons--making my work a lot tougher. I published a new list of 819 companies who are doing interesting things with APIs that I call The API Stack. After publishing the project, Concur, one of the travel API providers listed, tweeted at me asking if I could replace their logo with a better quality one from their official logo page--I did so very quickly! I sure love me a good logo and branding page for an API...

One Possible Reboot Of The API Stack

18 August 2014
I used to publish out a list of curated stories each week, and a listing of the top 25 APIs I was paying attention to during my regular monitoring of the API space to a site I called The API Stack. When i went to Washington DC last summer as a Presidential Innovation Fellow, I suspended that weekly ritual, and never picked up after my world got back to normal. I’m still monitoring about 1000 companies, with over 2000 total APIs, and curating the stories--I just don’t take the time each week to publish them to The API Stack. In an effort to try and reboot the project, provide value to the API Evangelist network, as well as to you my loayal reader, I've republished a new reflection of my work at the Github project...

What Is An API First Strategy? IT architecture And Catalyst For Engagement

15 August 2014
I wrote about What Is An API First Strategy? Adding Some Dimensions To This New Question the other day after talking with 18F. One of the commonets on the post was from my friend Logan Powell (@logantpowell), and I think it was so good, that it deserves its own post. I will let Logan do the talking: To supplement the pool of meaning here, I would like to add that an API-first strategy is one where the API serves as both a pattern of an enterprises IT architecture as well as catalyst for engagement. In a nutshell, an API-first strategy is a systems paradigm shift -- from a centralized, engineered mechanical system made up of subordinate parts serving as means to deliberately designed ends -- to a decentralized, organic and evolving ecosystem where the individual actors can be spontaneously enfranchised or co-opted by any other actor / set of actors to serve new purposes...

Student, Instructor, Classroom, Class, And Course API Planning At BYU

14 August 2014
I spoke with Phil Windley (@windley) over at Brigham Young University (BYU) about their API strategy this morning. BYU is bringing together API providers and consumers, to establish a coordinated strategy for delivering designing, deploying, managing, and integrating with APIs across campus--an effort being led by CIO Kelly Flannagan (@kelflanagan). As part of their latest API effort, BYU is focusing in on the lowest hanging fruit when it comes to campus resources: Students Instructors Classrooms Classes Courses The API team is still struggling with a handful of technical details like how to deal with unique identifiers, and relationship between resources, but overall they are on a healthy path when it comes to getting their API designed, and deployed for use at the institution...

The Speed Of Federal Government When It Runs On Github

14 August 2014
I’m coordinating with the development team for Developer.Trade.Gov today, providing them with a review of their new developer area, and some suggestions on how to make their APIs, and developer more usable. The Developer.Trade.Gov is published as a Github repository, using Jekyll and Github Pages to actually deliver the website. The feedback I’ve been giving to the team, has been done through the Github issue management for the repository. One piece of feedback I left was: I love that when I land on your home page, I get a brief description of what developer.trade.gov delivers, the probem is that the description is below the fold on some monitors, leaving just the 3 links available to see...

Swagger, APIs.json, And Review For The New Developer.Trade.gov

14 August 2014
I got a gentle ping today, as I often do when there is a new developer hub or API launched in the federal government. This time it was located within the Department of Commerce, for the International Trade Administration, and was a new developer area, with five APIs at Developer.Trade.Gov. I quickly went through the new developer area, which I consider passing the test for a minimum viable developer area, possessing all the essential building blocks an API developer hub needs. The only places I feel it fell short is in the feedback loop, and providing machine readable definitions for each of the five APIs. I submitted my feedback as Github issues, on the repository for the developer hub, but when it comes to machine readable definitions for each of the five APIs, I know how easy this is, so rather than just submit issues, I figured I'd get to work generating the machine readable API definitions for Developer...

Taking A Look At The API Licensing Stack

13 August 2014
One of the byproducts of the Oracle vs Google API copyright case, was a realization that many API providers and consumer do not understand the layers of the API stack, let alone the potential licensing considerations for each layer of the API onion. I wouldn't just blame API providers, and consumers, I’m still getting a grasp on all of this, which is why I'm blogging about the subject. Let’s take a quick crack at defining the layers to the potential API licensing onion: Data - What is the licensing for the actual data returned and collected by an API? I’m still learning about the ways to license your data, and the Open Data Commons provides some guidance in this area, while others feel that your data can just as be easily licensed using Creative Commons licensing...

Taking Web Service Inventory At The Department of Veteran Affairs

13 August 2014
I haven't written much about my experience last summer as a Presidential Innovation Fellow (PIF) at the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). I have lots of thoughts about experience at the VA, as well as participating in the PIF program, and I choose to trickle these thoughts out, as I continue to make sense of them, and bring them into alignment with my overall mission as the API Evangelist. One of the jobs I was tasked with at the VA as a PIF, was taking inventory of the web services within the agency. When asking folks where these web services were, I was directed to various IT Leads on different groups, each giving one or two more locations I could look for word, excel, or other PDFs talking about web services used in projects and known systems...

Replacing Legacy Systems With APIs At The Department Of Veteran Affairs

13 August 2014
I haven't written much about my experience last summer as a Presidential Innovation Fellow (PIF) at the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). I have lots of thoughts about experience at the VA, as well as participating in the PIF program, and I choose to trickle these thoughts out, as I continue to make sense of them, slowly bringing them into alignment with my overall mission as the API Evangelist. On deck are my thoughts on replacing legacy systems with APIs, at the Department of Veteran Affairs. In the “real world”, one of the motivations for deploying APIs, is to assist in the evolution, and replacement of legacy systems. The theory is, you have older system that needs to be replaced, and you can wrap in a modern web API, and slowly switch any desktop, web, mobile or other client system to use the new API—then you build out newer backend system, and make the switch in the API layer from the legacy to the newer backend system, leaving everything operating as expected...

Never Looking Out The Window, Let Alone Trusting Anyone External Of The Department of Veteran Affairs

13 August 2014
I haven't written much about my experience last summer as a Presidential Innovation Fellow (PIF) at the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). I have lots of thoughts about experience at the VA, as well as participating in the PIF program, and I choose to trickle these thoughts out, as I continue to make sense of them, and bring them into alignment with my overall mission as the API Evangelist. I was given three projects when I started work at the VA: 1) Inventory data assets 2) Inventory web services 3) Move forward D2D, a forms web service that would allow VA hospitals and Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) to submit forms through the claims process on behalf of veteran. The most prevalent illness I witnessed across these three efforts was a unwillingness to trust outside groups (even VSOs and hospitals), and a lack of desire to share data and resources to anyone outside of the VA (ironically except contractors), to the point where groups seem to take defensive positions around what they did on behalf of our veterans...

Can You Add My API To Your Website Listing?

13 August 2014
I get regular requests to add APIs to my website via email, Twitter, and carrier pigeon. I have an Evernote that I put these requests into, and as I have time, I review, then possibly add to the appropriate API Evangelist network project. To support this process, I've crafted a new response email to requests I get, that I thought I would share with everyone: Sure thing. It could take me a day or two, or maybe up to a week. You are also welcome to fork any of the 60+ API Evangelist network projects, and add to the JSON list that is driving the listing, they are all under the /data folder. Otherwise I'll add as I have time in the next week. Once you submit your pull request, if your company listing is relevant to the research I’m doing, I will accept your addition...

The Color Of Money When Deploying APIs At The Department Of Veterans Affairs

13 August 2014
I haven’t written much about my experience last summer as a Presidential Innovation Fellow (PIF) at the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). I have lots of thoughts about experience at the VA, as well as participating in the PIF program, and I choose to trickle these thoughts out, as I continue to make sense of them, and bring them into alignment with my overall mission as the API Evangelist. I just wrote a piece on replacing legacy systems at the VA using APIs, where one of the systemic constraints in place that restricts the modernizzation VA systems using API is purely about money, and more specifically the color of money. I won’t bore you with the detail of the topic, but in short the color of money is: Money appropriated for one purpose cannot be used for a different purpose, according to the Purpose Act (31 U...

Adding Google To List Of API Deployment Companies

12 August 2014
I was taking another look at the Google Cloud Platform yesterday, and stumbled across Google Cloud Endpoints. It was something I saw come across my feeds, but really didn’t give it the time it needed to see what it was all about. With the new Google Cloud Endpoints, Google is making a strong push to be not just an API deployment provider, but their approach also reflects what I’d consider to be an evolution of backend as a service (BaaS) deployment. I think Google describes their service better than I can do it justice: Google Cloud Endpoints consists of tools, libraries and capabilities that allow you to generate APIs and client libraries from an App Engine application, referred to as an API backend, to simplify client access to data from other applications...

The Five Month Journey Toward A Stable APIs.json Discovery Format

11 August 2014
I published the story last night on finalizing the most recent version of the API discovery format APIs.json, and the support for it in the open source API search engine APIs.io. Steve and I are done messing with the format for a while, and want to encourage API providers to begin describing their APIs using the open format. After publishing the story last night, I also had an interesting comment on Google+ from Jonas Hellström: The question got me thinking about how APIs.json rolled out. As with API Commons, APIs.json started as a conversation between Steve Willmott (@njyx) and I. Around the beginning of April we combined our notes on what each of us envisioned when it came to API discovery, establishing the first APIs...

How Are Mobile Dev Shops In Chicago Using APIs? A Talk With Dave Devitt At SYDCON

11 August 2014
I just talked with Dave Devitt (@sydcon), President at SYDCON Web Development, Inc. in Chicago about how his web and mobile development shop sees the world APIs. I’m always on the hunt for stories about how the everyday person on the ground at startups, all the way up to the federal government, actually see the world of APIs, and I was pleased that Dave could make some time to share his view of APIs with me. First, Dave said something I found very interesting when we first started our conversation. He said they were a “web development shop”, not in the the sense that they build websites, but that they develop applications that use the web for their operations. I think this is an important distinction when we start putting developers into buckets, and it isn’t always as straightforward as building websites, web applications, mobile, single page or Internet of Things apps—we are now building software that uses the Internet for communication, something that will inevitably use all of these channels (and more)...

What Is An API First Strategy? Adding Some Dimensions To This New Question

11 August 2014
I hear this phrase used more and more lately, “An API First Strategy”. It is something you hear from startups like printing API LOB, to established players like Pearson, all the way up to 18F at the GSA in Washington DC, but what is API first? Much like APIs in general, an API first strategy is something that will mean something different to each company, organization, government agency, or individual. From my view, the most common interpretation of API first will be: Develop an API First - Before you build your website, web, mobile or single page application you develop an API first, then you get to work on defining the channels you will be making the API resources available on...

An API Case Study Format From Google Cloud Platform

11 August 2014
I was browsing through Google’s Cloud Platform, in the 15 minute lead up to a preliminary discussion with Google about being an evangelist for the platform (another story), and I saw a useful pattern from the "customers" section for publishing API customer case studies--something I wanted to share with you. This pattern was evident in the Travel Agency Masters Big Data with Google BigQuery case study. I think the format for the case study provides a simple format that other API providers might consider following: A catchy summary title  Challenge the company faced  Solution to the problem  A quote from company  Results from the solution Additionally, Google provides an "At a Glance" summary in the left hand bar, for those busy folks who don't have the time to read case studies, providing a quick summary of the case study: What they wanted to do  What they did  What they accomplished  About API service used The outline for the case study, as well as the summary version is a nice, simple format that any API provider could use to when crafting their own API case study experience...

Expanding API Gateway Connectors Into A World of API Deployment Startups

10 August 2014
I’m seeing an increase in the number of API deployment services this year, such as startups like StrongLoop and API Spark. These companies are looking to help all of us deploy APIs from common systems, often without the need for IT or programming resources. The providers I’m seeing emerge are catering to some of the lowest hanging fruit for deploying APIs. The commonly used, and easiest to access systems, that contain the valuable content, data, and media we need to make accessible via APIs. The common source for many of these API deploy solutions are: Excel Spreadsheet with SheetLabs Google Spreadsheet from API Spark Database At The Dream Factory These common information sources, represent the places where the average person in any size company, organization or government agency will be storing their valuable resources...

Next Stable Version of APIs.json + APIs.io Is Ready - Are Your APIs Discoverable?

10 August 2014
Steve (@njyx), Nicolas (@picsoung), and I have been working hard to gather all the feedback from some very smart folks on the API.json format. Now we are stoked to finally announce that we have the 0.14 version ready for prime time. Our goal with the first version of APIs.json, was to just get the idea out there to get feedback from the community, and after four iterations, we feel like the format is now something the community can really build on. First, lets recap, what is APIs.json? APIs.json is a machine readable JSON file that lives in the root of your domain, and describes your APIs and its supporting API program. Think of APIs.json as a robots.txt, or sitemap.xml from Google, but instead of describing all the pages of your website, an APIs...

Where The Good IPAs Are In Chicago While At API Strategy And Practice In September

09 August 2014
In preparation for API Strategy & Practice in Chicago, September 24-26th, I did a little research on where the good beers, and specifically the kick-ass IPAs can be found. You may not know, but in addition to being the API Evangelist, I am also the IPA Evangelist (plan b career path), and I'm always interested in knowing where the killer IPAs are, in addition to knowing where to find the best APIs.  While in Chicago we want to be able to have the tasiest beer possible at the conference, while also having the best options for finding good beer and food after the event to network and socialize with the 600+ folks that will be at #APIStrat. To prepare for #APIStrat I found 32 local Chicago breweries:

Public APIs Are Tough When You Are In A Tightly Controlled Industry

08 August 2014
ESPN just announced that they will no longer be accepting registrations for public API keys, and discontinuing all of their public APIs. I saw a few enraged comments on the Twitterz when I originally tweeted out the story, and also saw a couple of people compare it to the recent Netflix API deprecation. In reality I don't think the shuttering of the public ESPN API, or the Netflix API is a reflection on the viability of APIs, steering clear of the usual API FUD that APIs are forever, wait no…they can go away at any time! I think the decision to shutter the ESPN API is due to lack of vision, outreach, and the establishment of the vital developer feedback loops that are necessary to make APIs successful, but most importantly they failed to understand the challenges faced when deploying APIs in a tightly controlled industry...

The Blog For Your API Is The Most Important Signals You Can Send

08 August 2014
A blog is such a simple thing, but when it comes to the world of APIs, it can be one of the most important signals for whether or not an API is worthy of integration, or you should just move on and continue looking for another API to use. I know many folks will dismiss that a blog is so relevant, especially if they are coming from IT or developer disciplines--I respectfully decline. In reality, a blog not only provides a great way to keep API consumers up to date, it also provides the essential human face to any API operation. An API’s blog provides a regular flow of information that show there is someone behind the curtain, who is not just working on the API, but actively is contributing ideas to the API community, and is there to support...

Share Your API News With Me On The API Report

08 August 2014
I’ve launched a new API news site, designed to provide short news updates from across the world of APIs. The API Report is the newest part of the API Evangelist network of sites, with apievangelist.com as the analysis on the business of APIs, apivoice.com as the analysis on the politics of APIs, and the the API Report as the industry news heartbeat. The API Report is built on Github, as a public repository, using Github Pages, and Jekyll. This approach to blogging opens up the news site to a new form of collaborative publishing, allowing anyone to fork, author their own API news story, and make a pull request for publishing to the site. Every commit will be reviewed for quality, and either rejected, or published to the live API Report website...

Give Me A URL To Request Then Store My API Keys In My Private Github Repo

08 August 2014
Swagger is now Open API Definition Format (OADF) -- READ MORE I went through 77 federal government API developer portals a couple of weeks ago, as part of some API discovery work I’m doing with APIs.json. I ended up targeting 120 APIs that I will be generating of Swagger definitions, and API.json for their umbrella domain, or subdomain over the next couple months. As I made my way through each of these developer areas, I began to realize that I would have to sign up for API keys at each of these developer areas. I’m sure some of the APIs will not require a key, but it is still potentially 77 separate API keys (I will let you know the final count when I know), that I will have to register for—the federal government needs a common, yet distributed API management strategy...

Continuing With The API Restaurant Analogy

07 August 2014
I began exploring the use a restaurant menu to help people understand API copyright, and how your API definition is not your secret sauce, and that there is so much more to your API that just the surface area. I'm continuing my exploration of using restaurants as an analogy to help onboard people with not just API copyright, but introducing APIs to the masses--helping them understand the layers to the API space, in a way that is familiar. To prepare for future stories and conversations I'm expanding on my API definition = Menu analogy with: API Providers = Restaurant Owners Developer Portal = Restaurant APIs = Food & Drink Items API Definition + Docs = Menu API Consumers (Apps) = Restaurant  Customers (People) Freemium - Samples Out Front Partner Access = Catering Terms of Service = We Reserve The Right To Refuse - No Substitutions API Service Providers = Restaurant Equipment Providers Obviously it is work in progress...

Mapping The World Of Internal APIs Via Rogue API Registry

07 August 2014
Daniel Jacobson - Scaling the Netflix API I was learning more about the discovery of private APIs with the Charles App, and was fascinated by its potential to visualize, and map the darkest regions of the API realm. There is a lot of speculation about the number of APIs out there, with the 10K+ public APIs that are currently available being the “tip of the iceberg”, and the number of private APIs rpresenting the rest of the surface area below the dark surface--making the approach that Tim Rogers (and others) employ a tantalizing option for mapping these dark waters of the rapidly expanding API space. HTTP proxing and monitoring solutions like Charles are nothing new, and there are a wealth of next generation API integration tools like Runscope and APITools available, but what is interesting about this, is the routing all of your app traffic for your laptop, tablet or smartphone through a proxy, and record not just the traffic between you and the private APIs your apps depend on, but the mapping out the API interface, request, response, and underlying data models...

The University of API White Paper: Looking At APIs In Higher Education

06 August 2014
Download as PDF I spend a great deal of time looking at new APIs from companies, institutions, and government agencies during my weekly monitoring of the API space, and over the last couple years, I've come across an increasing number of APIs tht are out of higher educational institutions around the world. It began with a centralized developer area at the University of Washington (UW), and then I saw the same from UC Berkeley, with more recently noticing the impressive conversion of 250+ services from a traditional Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), to a more modern web API approach, at Brigham Young University (BYU). Along the way I began seeing that APIs at higher education institutions were going to be an important piece of the overall API puzzle, and as I do with any research area, I setup a Github repository (university...

The Hypermedia API Debate: Sorry Reasonable Just Does Not Sell

05 August 2014
I moderated a panel of hypermedia experts at API Craft in Detroit last week. One theme that dominated not just the panel, but was also pervasive in the conversation over the next two days of the API event, was how can the hypermedia space, improve its overall image, message, and potentially reach a wider audience, and maybe even converting some of the hypermedia skeptics, to hypermedia evangelists. After a session at #APICraft, dedicated to understanding all the hypermedia hate, Mike Amundsen (@mamund) and I continued the conversation, where he stated: When it comes to hypermedia, and technology online, reasonable just doesn't sell. This statement sums up my views of the current state of the hypermedia conversation...

Twilio The Hell Out Of The Largest And Most Important Industries

04 August 2014
Irakli Nadareishvili (@inadarei), Dave Goldberg (@davidgoldberg) and I were having an interesting conversation on the Twitterz, after I posted "As We Recover The Banking Industry Seems To Be Warming Up To APIs", yesterday--on a topic I think is worth repeating regularly, to generate discussion within any business sector. I think that all three of us are optimistic about what APIs can do in an industry like banking, and because of our experience, we are very realistic about what is possible in the end--realizing not every API will be good by default. I'll just let you follow along with our conversation, then I'll explore a little more: As We Recover The Banking Industry Seems To Be Warming Up To APIs http://t...

As We Recover The Banking Industry Seems To Be Warming Up To APIs

03 August 2014
I originally started writing this post after API Strategy & Practice in Amsterdam, where I had numerous conversations with banks, about the potential of APIs, and how banks might be starting to move from talk to action, when it comes to their API programs. After recent talks with a couple more folks, behind the scenes at banks, I’m pretty convinced, as the enterprise are doing in other sectors, banks are slowly waking up to the potential of APIs—something that has taken a long time, as they slowly come out of their bank vaults, where they were hiding during the economic meltdown. When you Google the phase "banking API", you see the signs that the space is ripe for disruption with APIs from two open banking pioneers: The Open Bank Project - an open source API and App store for banks that empowers financial institutions to securely and rapidly enhance their digital offerings using an ecosystem of 3rd party applications and services Plaid - The Modern API for Banking Data, allowing developers to programmatically interact with banks and credit cards These players do not represent movement from the banking space itself, the conversation I’ve had with Visa, Mastercard, Capital One, Rabobank, and others I can’t even mention are notoriously closed about what they are doing, but these new open banking API platforms do represent the opportunity that exists in the space...

Everyone Is About To Get An API With The New Wordpress API

02 August 2014
While at API Craft in Detroit this week I had the pleasure of hanging with two leads on the WordPress(org) development team, and discuss the API strategy for the blogging platform. Andrew Nacin (@nacin), Lead Developer, and Ryan McCue (@rmccue), WordPress Plugin Developer, facilitated an open circle discussion to work through the challenges that WordPress is facing when developing an API for the open source blogging platform. At face value, I know a number of API developers who will be less than pleased when they hear about a WordPress API, as both PHP, and WordPress are easy targets for developer’s hatred, for generating less than perfect code. ;-) But, in the end you can’t ignore some of the stats on WordPress usage: Used by more than 22...

The Leaders When It Comes To APIs In Higher Education

02 August 2014
When visiting an API developer area, as soon as the page loads, you can tell if its an organized effort, or something that was thrown up by a single project or team. Half of the institutions I track on as part of my university API monitoring have a centralized developer area for their APIs, as well as what appears to be an organized approach behind the designing, deploying, managing or evangelizing their APIs.  I’ve talked with both University of California Berkeley and Brigham Young Universities about their API strategies, while only having light communication with University of Washington and Michigan. I feel there are some interesting lessons to be had when taking a look at these six leading universities...

Getting Labeled A Hater On The Hypermedia Panel At API Craft

01 August 2014
I’m still gathering all of my thoughts on the hypermedia media panel this last week at API Craft. I have an Evernote full of ideas, thoughts, and potential stories from the amazing API event this week in Detroit. First up is responding to the Twitter backchannel around being a hypermedia hater, and the panel I moderated on Monday between Mike Amundsen (@mamund), Mike Kelly (@mikekelly85), Steve Klabnik (@steveklabnik), Kevin Swiber (@kevinswiber), Jørn Wildt (@JornWildt), and Markus Lanthaler (@MarkusLanthaler). After bringing the panelists up, giving them each 10 minutes to introduce themselves, I kicked off the discussion by calling out a Tweet from @JeremiahLee: @kinlane I hope the conversation about hypermedia makes it beyond #APICraft to the rest of us because it still seems like 99% bullshit...

The Emerging Landscape Of API Orchestration Platforms

01 August 2014
I’ve been exploring one possible API future more and more lately, a future which centers around the a concept of being able to deploy virtual API stacks, by employing the power of deploying API resources in virtualized containers, something that will free individual API resources up for orchestration in new and exciting ways--doing for APIs, what APIs have been doing for companies. Driven by a recent evolution in cloud computing introduced by Docker.io, we are beginning to see new services emerge that get us closer to this vision of API orchesstration. Last week I wrote about how StrongLoop providing one look at the future of API deployment, using Node.js. This week I was introduced to another API deployment solution that also resembles some of these earlier thoughts I have had on API orchestration, from BlockSpring...

Getting To Know Jørn Wildt For The API Craft 2014 Detroit Hypermedia Panel

28 July 2014

My Discussion Today With 6 Hypermedia Leaders At API-Craft in Detroit

28 July 2014
I'm preparing for my hypermedia panel at API Craft Detroit today. The API Craft organizers have brought together one of the most important line-ups, when it comes to the hypermedia API discussion, that I've ever seen. To prepare for the discussion,  I've spent time profiling each of the panelist, to help me, and hopefully you, better understand who they are: Mike Amundsen (@mamund) Mike Kelly (@mikekelly85) Steve Klabnik (@steveklabnik) Kevin Swiber (@kevinswiber) Jørn Wildt (@JornWildt) Markus Lanthaler (@MarkusLanthaler) These six hypermedia leaders, spend their time discussing hypermeida on the API-Craft forum, but it isn't just talk, each of the panelsts have each also contributed their formats and tooling to the discussion, resulting in 9 separate hypermedia formats to consider: Collection+JSON - http://amundsen...

Getting To Know Markus Lanthaler For The API Craft 2014 Detroit Hypermedia Panel

27 July 2014

Hypermedia Feels Like We Are Still Learning To Communicate With APIs

27 July 2014
I’m looking through each of the worlds, of my hypermedia panelists, Mike Amundsen (@mamund), Mike Kelly (@mikekelly85), Steve Klabnik (@steveklabnik), Kevin Swiber (@kevinswiber), Jørn Wildt (@JornWildt), and Markus Lanthaler (@MarkusLanthaler), for API Craft tomorrow, reaquainting myself on what they bring to the hypermedia table, adding to my knowledge, and hopefully sharing some of the findings with you. As I look through each of the hypermedia definitions, developed by my panelists, I keep feeling, that as API providers, there is still a lot of education that has to occur, to not just helping us better communicate with APIs, but also be more skilled at sharing and interacting around the resources we are making available via APIs...

Getting To Know Kevin Swiber For The API Craft 2014 Detroit Hypermedia Panel

27 July 2014

Getting To Know Steve Klabnik For The API Craft 2014 Detroit Hypermedia Panel

26 July 2014

Getting To Know Mike Kelly For The API Craft 2014 Detroit Hypermedia Panel

25 July 2014

New Indix API KickStart Program Reduces Costs For Developers

25 July 2014
I like to showcase examples of companies who use their API communities as incubators, establishing them as a sort of external R&D lab that invests in 3rd party developers who are building cool stuff on top of their API driven resources. I came across an announcement from product intelligence platform Indix, in my usual monitoring of the API space, and they have a pretty cool program for their developers: Indix KickStart – a program to help startups and small businesses accelerate the development of product-aware applications and deliver rich product-aware experiences. Indix is looking to jumpstart early stage startups use of the Indix product API. Companies that have less than $1 million in funding and $100,000 in revenue are eligible apply, and Indix will evaluate the startups potential for receiving access to the Indix API at a reduced price point...

A Shared, Distributed Experience(Metrics) Layer For The API Driven Application Stack

25 July 2014
I’m in the middle of processing multiple emails, as well as coming down off an early morning conversation, all on the subject of analytics. A portion of the conversations are about analytics at the web site, web or mobile app level, and a portion of it was around analytics for API developers, as well as API platform providers—basically the full stack of analytics including platforms, developers, apps, all the way to the end-user. Increased visibility into the API layer, and how developers and their apps are consuming API resources, is a cornerstone of API management. There are numerous solutions out there to give you analytics in websites and web apps (Google Analytics), and within the mobile app itself (Mixpanel), and there are analytics at the API layer for both API providers, and the many developers who are integrating APIs into their applications and systems (3Scale)...

Showcasing Your API Integrations With Other Platforms

24 July 2014
I saw two tweets from Zapier the other day, where they were highlighting two separate SaaS platforms, who had integrated Zapier into their own platform. Both Gumroad and Hall took the time to highlight the other platforms they are integrated with. I think there are a couple of interesting items in these stories… Zapier & IFTTT Integration A while back I added reciprocity to this list of API management building blocks, because I was seeing enough API providers, taking it upon themselves to make sure their platform had both Zapier and IFTTT integration. Ensuring your API is working with leading reciprocity providers will become even more critical for API providers, as more non-developers are putting APIs to work managing their daily personal, and professional lives...

Increasing The Focus On APIs In Higher Education Is Important

24 July 2014
Maybe I’m a little biased at the moment, after participating in a Reclaim Your Domain hackathon with some really smart folks from multiple universities, as well as working on my first white paper on APIs in higher education, but I feel pretty strongly that higher education institutions focusing on APIs will extremely important in the next two years. I’m constantly working to understand the big picture of the emerging API economy, the importance of the government API development phase, and working to understand what is next for the US government API strategy, while also acknowledging we need the enterprise to continue waking up to the potential of APIs. I think, right along with government, and the enterprise, another importance piece of the overall API puzzle is increasing the focus on APIs in higher education...

Getting To Know Mike Amundsen For The API Craft 2014 Detroit Hypermedia Panel

24 July 2014

The New StrongLoop API Server Provides A Look At Future Of API Deployment

23 July 2014
I’m looking through the most recent API server release from StrongLoop, and I can’t help but see echoes of what I’ve been researching, and covering across the API Evangelist network. API management has been front and center for years, but API deployment is something that is just now being productized, with a wealth of new service providers emerging to provide API deployment solutions that go beyond DIY frameworks, and enterprise API gateways. Let start with walking through their announcement of their StrongLoop API Server: LoopBack 2.0 - An open source framework for quickly creating APIs with Node, including the client SDKs. mobile Backend-as-a-Service - An mBaaS to provide mobile services like push, offline-sync, geopoint and social login either on-premise or in the cloud...

Models For API Driven Startups Built Around Public Data

23 July 2014

Reclaim Your Domain LA Hackathon Wrap-up

22 July 2014
I spent the weekend hacking away with a small group of very smart folks, at the Reclaim Your Domain Hackathon in Los Angeles. Fifteen of us gathered at Pepperdine University in west LA, looking to move forward the discussion around what we call “Reclaim Your Domain”. This conversation began last year, at the #ReclaimOpen Hackathon, continued earlier this year at Emory University, and we were looking to keep the momentum building this weekend at Pepperdine. Here is a breakdown of who was present this weekend: Jim Groom - University of Mary Washington (@jimgroom) Michael Caulfield - WSU Vancouver - http://hapgood.us/ - (@holden) Michael Berman - California State University Channel Islands (@amichaelberman) Chris Mattia - California State University Channel Islands (@cmmattia) Brian Lamb - Thompson Rivers University (@brlamb) Timothy Owens - University of Mary Washington (@timmmmyboy) Mikhail Gershovich - Vocat (@mgershovich) Amy Collier - Stanford (@amcollier) Rolin Moe - Pepperdine (@RMoeJo) Adam Croom - University of Oklahoma (@acroom) Mark C...

When I Remix APIs Using Swagger How Do I Deal With Authentication Across Multiple APIs

17 July 2014
One of the things I’m loving about where the API space is going, is the simplicity, and remixability of available API resources, when they are defined with machine readable API definitions like Swagger. An example of this, can be found in my recent work to make federal government APIs more discoverable. I generated machine readable API definitions using Swagger, for four separate APIs out of the GSA. The APIs were spread across two separate domains: usa.gov & explore.data.gov. You can follow the details of research, at each of the project repositories, but as I continue with my work, I keep thinking about the power that having a machine readable definition for all four of these APIs, and my ability to now remix these simple, and powerful API resources into virtual stacks...

It Takes A Team Of Evangelists To Raise An API

17 July 2014
There are a lot of lessons to be learned from the leaders of the API space, pioneers like Amazon, Twilio and SendGrid, when it comes to running our own API programs. Fortunately for the community, most of the leading API providers are willing to share their experience and wisdom with us, such as SendGrid, with their latest series Tips and Tricks for a Beginner Developer Evangelist. The blog series delivers some great API evangelism wisdom, from the mouths of evangelists, who are in the trenches, getting the word out about the email API platform, and supporting its large ecosystem of application developers. I'll let you read the tips from the SendGrid team, what I thought was interesting, was the makeup of their evangelist team...

Will You Add Me To API Evangelist And How To Spot The Cool Kids

17 July 2014
In the API space it is easy to recognize the cool kids, the ones that are in the know. These types of personalities just understand how to get things done, don't take no for an answer, and understand the DIY, self-service nature of APIs. I get a lot of folks who ask me to add them to my API Management provider section, or my API Integration area. I always add these people to my Evernote queue, and when I get time I go through and profile them, I add them to my master CRM, and when I publish the latest round of content and data to the API Evangelist network site in question, the blog post, or company listing will be updated—something that can take minutes or weeks, depending on my workload...

Machine Readable Terms of Service Didn't Read Applied To APIs Via APIs.json

16 July 2014
I’ve long been fascinated by the Terms of Service Didn’t Read project. i’m on the mailing list, and try to make time to stay in tune, but have yet to ever contribute any bandwidth to the EXTREMELY important project, around making sense of the crazy terms of services (TOS), that we agree to in our daily lives. I finally found myself at a point where I'm forced to start paying more attention to API terms of service, and hopefully will be able to slice off a little bit of dedicated bandwidth to Terms of Service; Didn’t Read. I have two projects that have floated up on my list, and deserve some priority attention. First I’m applying the TOS Didn't Read work to a side project of mine called Reclaim Your Domain, which is a project to help me define my digital self, and reclaim some of the content, data and other value I generate on a daily basis online...

API Deployment For Non-Developers Using Zapier, Google Docs, and APISpark

16 July 2014
I’m exploring different ways that APIs can be deployed, with an emphasis on deployment by non-developers. There are numerous cloud services available, that allow non-developers to execute common business tasks like registration forms, surveys, payments, and product sales, and when you combine these business functions with Zapier, Google Docs and APISpark—you can deploy an API, no code skills required. This story begins with the ability to deploy an API from any Google Spreadsheet using APISpark, putting API deployment within the grasp of the average business user. Next, I want the easiest possible way to get data, from multiple sources, into a Google Spreadsheet? Answer: Zapier (or other reciprocity provider, like IFTTT)...

Support For Only Two Creative Commons Licenses In The API Commons

16 July 2014

Need A Formal API Standard For Your Government Agency? Fork 18Fs, And Make It Your Own!

15 July 2014
The elite technology group at the GSA, known as 18F, has released the latest copy of API guidance for federal government agencies to follow when designing their own APIs. Using 18F’s own description: This document captures 18F's view of API best practices and standards. We aim to incorporate as many of them as possible into our work.APIs, like other web applications, will vary greatly in implementation and design, depending on the situation and the problem the application is solving. I like the mix of info that is delivered as well: High level design guidance that individual APIs interpret to meet their needs. Low level web practices that most modern HTTP APIs use. To top it off, the API Standards is hosted on Github, in its own repository, and as Gray Brooks from 18F says: "Want a formal API Standards for your agency to adopt? Fork ours, add your name to the top, and make it your own...

State of Hypermedia Today @ API Craft In Detroit

15 July 2014
I’m working with Brian Mulloy (@landlessness) of Apigee, to organize six of the leading hypermedia experts for a 2 hour panel discussion on the state of hypermedia, at API Craft, in Detroit, Michigan this month. I couldn't imagine a more distinguished panel of hypermedia experts, than this lineup: Mike Amundsen (@mamund) Mike Kelly (@mikekelly85) Steve Klabnik (@steveklabnik) Kevin Swiber (@kevinswiber) Jørn Wildt (@JornWildt) Markus Lanthaler (@MarkusLanthaler) The 2 hour panel is going to be broken into an hour of 10 minute presentations from each of the six panelists, followed by another hour of QA discussion between myself, the panelists, and the API Craft audience. I’ve started a Github repository to gather thoughts for the discussion, from the panelists, and if you have anything you'd like me to discuss, feel free to submit an issue, and I'll consider including in the discussion...

Chief Data Officer Needs To Make The Department Of Commerce Developer Portal The Center Of API Economy

15 July 2014
Today, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker (@PennyPritzker), announced that the Department of Commerce will hire its first-ever Chief Data Officer. I wanted to make sure that when this new, and extremely important individual assumes their role, they have my latest thoughts on how to make the Department of Commerce developer portal the best it possibly can be, because this port will be the driving force behind the rapidly expanding API driven economy. Secretary Pritzker does a pretty good job of summing up the scope of resources that are available at Commerce: Secretary Pritzker described how the Department of Commerce’s data collection – which literally reaches from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun – not only informs trillions of dollars of private and public investments each year and plants the seeds of economic growth, but also saves lives...

CORS Makes Your API Portable And Remix-able

15 July 2014
Swagger is now Open API Definition Format (OADF) -- READ MORE I was looking through federal government APIs the other day, looking for the low hanging fruit, when it came to making government APIs more discoverable using APIs.json. During my initial work, I played with three separate APIs from www.usa.gov, which I think demonstrates the importance of CORS, and how opening it up for APIs, makes them more portable and remix-able. When it comes to the the three APIs from www.usa.gov, I do not have control over the API itself, but I wanted to create a self contained, site that showcased the government APIs, and provide interactive API documentation generated using Swagger. I made sure all three of the APIs had machine readable API definitions using Swagger, then I setup a simple HTML page, which allowed anyone to play with each of the APIs...

"An API Definition As The Truth In The API Contract"

15 July 2014
Swagger is now Open API Definition Format (OADF) -- READ MORE One conversation I had at #Gluecon this year, was around the role an API plays in being a contract between providers and consumers, with Tony Tam (@fehguy) from Reverb. API contract, is a common phrase to describe how API services are consumed, and depending on the on-boarding process, an API provider and consumer can enter into a contract for services around a set of resources, in a self-service way. In the last couple years, with the increased use of API definition formats like API Blueprint, Swagger, and RAML, we often reference this API definition as a tangible representation of the contract API providers and consumers enter into...

Financial Data Aggregator Yodlee Looking For A Director of Developer Evangelism

14 July 2014
I spoke with the leading financial data API aggregation providers Yodlee last week, regarding their hunt for a director of developer evangelism. Yodlee provides an aggregation API that is designed for developers who need secure access to their users’ bank, credit card, investment, and loan accounts—if you think about it, this is a pretty critical API, in what we are all calling the “API Economy”. Yodlee isn’t just looking for a junior evangelist, they are looking for a director—someone to lead the charge, when it comes to evangelizing Yodlee to potential API consumers, while also supporting the community and applications that are already integrated with the financial data aggregation platform...

Libraries Hacked: UK Library API, Data And Technology Hacks

14 July 2014
I stumbled across a pretty cool site, dedicated to educating, and providing librarians with the tools they need to hack--of course with an emphasis on APIs. Libraries Hacked mission is "analyzing and promoting open source technology hacks and projects in libraries", and providing a wealth of resources for institutions along the way: APIs - open systems online to integrate into your hacks source code - open-source apps, and projects to explore and enhance data - links around the web to download reports and stats in various formats (pdf, excel...) hack events - past and future events to get involved in and get inspiration from articles - articles on relevant subjects to the site, with guest contributions tutorials - how-to guides and reviews of software tools and apps to use when hacking In the API section, they provide a nice introduction to what is an API, and why you would use an API, including nine library focused APIs: copac - search over 70 UK and irish academic national & specialist library catalogues culture grid - provides uk library listings, searchable by location, authority, region - and also lists associated collections europeana - an interface giving full and searchable remote access to all of the Europeana collection data european library api v2...

AutoDevBot Open Sources Their API Monitor

14 July 2014
The API monitoring service AutoDevot has opened sourced their JavaScript API monitoring solution, built on Frisby.js, called API Monitor Runner. The API monitoring tool, allows for a pretty robust configuration file, that lets you detail exactly what the service should monitor, and how it should behave when something out of the ordinary happens. I though the trigger actions stood out, allowing you to take common actions when something occurs with an API: TRIGGER_EMAIL - enable email notification TRIGGER_PAGER_DUTY - enable PagerDuty notification TRIGGER_WEBHOOK - enable a generic webhook notification TRIGGER_HIPCHAT- enable HipChat notification AutoDevBot, even takes things to another level, providing a ready to go Docker container, to quickly deploy API Monitor Runner, and then configure it on setup, using Docker environment params--a very interesting approach to deploying open tooling to support APIs...

Look At Existing APIs In The Space Before Designing Your Own

14 July 2014
It is a pretty basic concept—look at other competing or complimentary APIs in the space, before designing your own. This seems like common sense to me, but I look at APIs for a living, and I’m interested in finding the best API patterns across business or government sectors. Even though this topic seems like a no-brainer to me, I still encounter many folks who contact me to discuss their API strategy, but have not looked at any APIs, in the same genre as the one they are looking to enter--which tells me I should be writing about this topic on a regular basis. My first advice to any API provider, looking to begin new API effort, is to look at as many of the leading APIs out there, as you have time for...

Looking At 77 Federal Government API Developer Portals And 190 APIs

10 July 2014
I spent most of the day yesterday, looking through 77 of the developer portals listed on the 18F Github portal. While I wanted to evaluate the quality and approach of each of the agencies, my goal for this review cycle was to look for any APIs that already had machine readable API definitions, or would be low hanging fruit for the creation of Swagger definitions, as part of my wider API discovery work. I had just finished updating all my API Evangelist Network APIs to use verion 0.14 of APIs.json, and while I wait for the search engine APIs.io to update to support the new version, I wanted to see if I could start the hard work of applying API discovery to federal government APIs.  Ideally all federal agencies would publish APIs...

Low Hanging Fruit For API Discovery In The Federal Government

10 July 2014
I looked through 77 of the developer areas for federal agencies, resulting in reviewing approximately 190 APIs. While the presentation of 95% of the federal government developer portals are crap, it makes me happy that about 120 of the 190 APIs (over 60%) are actually consumable web APIs, that didn't make me hold my nose and run out of the API area.  Of the 190, only 13 actually made me happy for one reason or another: OpenFDA - Well, I've already gushed about OpenFDA. Climate Data Online Web Services - Just a clean, valuable, well done API for government. National Climate Data Center - Nice portal, valuable datasets, just needs some nice APIs and BOOM! National Renewable Energy Laboratory - NREL just get it, they are doing some great APIs...

Applying APIs.json To API Discovery In The Federal Government

10 July 2014
I recently updated my APIs.json files for all my API Evangelist network domains, to use version 0.14, which is getting pretty close to a stable version. While I await APIs.io to be updated to use this version, I wanted to to spend some time publishing APIs.json files, but this time across federal government APIs. The thing I like most about APIs.json, is that you can do one for anybody else’s APIs. In the case of our federal government, I don't anticipate any agency getting on board with APIs.json anytime soon, but I can do it for them! There are a lot of APIs in federal government, where do I get started? To help me understand the scope of API discovery in our federal government I looked through 77 developer portals, outlined by 18F...

The Power In API Discovery For APIs.json Will Be In The API URL Type

09 July 2014
An APIs.json file lives in the root of any domain, or subdomain, and provides references to a collection of API resources. The APIs.json is meant to be a lightweight framework, where someone can build a collection of APIs, give it a name, description, some tags, and the APIs collection points you where you need to go, to get more information about those APIs. For each API, you can define a list of URLs, each with a defining “type”, letting you know what to expect when you visit the URL. Right now, most of those URLs are just for humans, pointing to the developer portal, document, and terms of service (TOS). We are adding other API url types, that API search engines like APIs...

Fixing The Machine Readability in API Commons

09 July 2014
When I first published 11 simple API definitions, I had developed using schema.org, into the API Commons, I made a mistake when I referenced the Swagger specifications for each of the APIs. I linked to the machine readable Swagger spec, but not the raw JSON stored on Github, errorneously I linked directly to the Github page. I want the machine readable API datastore, at API Commons, which is used to drive the API listing page, to be completely machine readable, referencing all APIs, their machine readable API Commons manifest, as well as machine readable API definition. As the smart folks over at APIMatic pointed out to me, I had been flip-flopping on this. Some of my later entries were machine readable pointers, but my earlier entries were not...

APIs Are Often Just A Facade That Is Covering Up The Legacy View Of World

07 July 2014
I was exchanging emails with someone regarding API design considerations at their large institutions today, and where they could find healthy patterns for API designs within their industry. As with any API provider, they were concerned with emulating the best API design patterns they could, and evolve the design of their own services. They put it like this: ..."our APIs largely expose our internal mess and legacy design rather than presenting a well thought out, consistent view of the important resources and operations"... We all want to deploy the best designed API that we possibly can, but with a lack of meaningful API definition formats (until recently), and nowhere to go and search or browse for common API design patterns (something 3Scale and API Evangelist want to fix with API Commons, APIs...

APIs Can Open Up Your Company To Outside Ideas

07 July 2014
I talk about this concept often, but couldn't find any definitive post on APIs opening up a company, organization, or agency to outside ideas. This is something I hear from startups, up to federal government agencies, and from well known business brands, such as Absolut Vodka. Absolut was one of the keynotes at API Strategy & Practice in Amsterdam, this last march. Eva Sjokvist, from Absolut, walked us through the development of their Absolut Drinks Database API. An amazing story by itself, but one thing she said that stood out to me, which is an interestingly common by-product of the API lifecycle, was the process itself opened up the company, making it more receptive to outside ideas, and collaboration...

Evolving How We Approach The API Lifecycle With APIMatic

07 July 2014
I’ve expanded my monitoring on the world of APIs, from just API management, which I’ve been doing for four years, into tracking on APIs across multiple buckets I'm calling design, deployment, management, monetization, evangelism, discovery, integration, aggregation, reciprocity, and real-time. I am always working to understand who the key players are across the API space, but also make sure they are categorized into one, or many of these expanding buckets--helping me quantify things. It is always very interesting to see how an API service provider fits into more than one of these buckets, as well as when new players emerge to cater to just one of these buckets, like Apiary did with API design...

A Mobile Developer Toolkit With The University Of Michigan APIs

07 July 2014
I am continuing my research into how universities are using APIs, and while I was going through the developer areas for the universities I track on, I noticed an interesting mobile developer toolkit, from University of Michigan. When you land on the homepage of the University of Michigan developer portal, to the right you will see some valuable resources that is looking to help developers think through the bigger picture of designing, developing, deploying, testing and distributing, mobile application that are built on campus resources. The University of Michigan mobile developer toolkit is broken down into four separate groups: Design Requirements and Features User Interface (UI) Design Graphic Design Usability Accessibility Guide Get Started Developer Guide Set Up a Development Machine Resource List Distribute U-M Intellectual Property Rules Licensing and Distribution Develop & Test Choosing a platform Multi-device development Integrating Single Sign-On or CoSign U-M (APIs) Using Emulators and Simulators Testing Your App I think the resources they provide, represent a very long term vision around delivering API resources to developers, who will be building applications for the institution--something that all universities should look at emulating...

"An API For API Ideas"

04 July 2014
I have a lot of ideas while being the API Evangelist. It just comes with the territory. I have an Evernote folder that I publish these ideas to, and some of them, like my Screen Capture API, I actually make a reality. The other night while writing, Shadow API: Launching An API Before Someone Else Does, I went to add the Nebraska homestead record API idea to my Evernote, and I said, ENOUGH! I need a public place to store these ideas, and while I'm at it, I'll enable others to publish ideas there too. What better way to allow collaboration around a content store or dataset, than a Github repository plus API. So I launched API Ideas, as an individual API project, on the API Evangelist Network...

Kicking Off Image Manipulation API Work

04 July 2014
I'm working a wider campaign focused on getting my shit together around my images, and part of that is continueing work I had started with my screen capture API, and launch more image manipulation API resources. I have a wide range of needs to resize, crop, filter, and apply other filters to photos I work with, as part of my storytelling, and if I had a set of image manipulation APIs, life would be better--so as I do with anything, I got to work building an API. The result is the first, in a series of image manipulation APIs. Right now I focused on some low hanging fruit, like applying filters to images, which includes Charcoal, Oil Painting, Polaroid, and Sketch. Next, I will tackle some more utility APIs like resize, crop, and rotate...

Expanding The Layer Of API Discovery From Within The Developers IDE

03 July 2014
Much like API design and integration, the world of API discovery is heating up in 2014. We are moving beyond the API directory as our primary mode of API search, in favor of a distributed approach using APIs.json, and supporting open source search engines like APIs.io. Another area of API discovery I’ve been watching for a while, and predict will become an important layer of API discovery, will be via the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) plugin. Open Source SalesForce API IDE Plugin SalesForce just announced they have just open sourced their API IDE plugin on Github, after developing on it since 2007, when APEX was born. The plugin is old, but is very much in use in the SalesForce ecosystem, something I’ve written about before...

An Open Source Distributed API Search Engine

03 July 2014
I wanted to stop and reflect for a moment on the open source, distributed API search engine, that 3Scale and API Evangelist developed, in support of the APIs.json discovery format. When we conceived the APIs.json API discovery format, we knew that the project would be dead in the water, if there wasn’t a clear incentive for API providers to generate an APIs.json—helping them get their APIs found. Until 2014, when you said "search for APIs", it meant going to a website (programmableweb.com), and searching for an API in a curated directory of APIs. In the last couple years, we’ve seen an evolution on this directory search model from Mashape, in the form of a hub or marketplace...

If This Then Visualize That (IFTVT)

03 July 2014
In the tech space, when we see a pattern that works, we run with it. This is why you hear, “It is the Uber for X”, or “It is the Github for X”, and I recently talked about how I’m starting to see more of, “It is the If This Then That (IFTT) for X”. The IFTTT model, or what I call “reciprocity”, is an evolution on the classic enterprise ETL model, resulting in over 25 companies that I’m tracking on in the space. Reciprocity works, because it is about solving a simple problem for everyday users, using APIs to take a single action—if this happens over there, use APIs, to do that over there. There are many other words used to describe this evolution of ETL in the clouds, including interoperability, and automation, I use reciprocity because it better describes what is happening as part of the growing global API economy...

"Expanding The Layer Of API Discovery From With The Developers IDE"

03 July 2014
Much like API design and integration, the world of API discovery is heating up in 2014. We are moving beyond the API directory as our primary mode of API search, in favor of a distributed approach using APIs.json, and supporting open source search engines like APIs.io. Another area of API discovery I’ve been watching for a while, and predict will become an important layer of API discovery, will be via the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) plugin. Open Source SalesForce API IDE Plugin SalesForce just announced they have just open sourced their API IDE plugin on Github, after developing on it since 2007, when APEX was born. The plugin is old, but is very much in use in the SalesForce ecosystem, something I’ve written about before...

Intellectual Exhaust (IE)

02 July 2014
As I generate shitloads of content playing the API Evangelist on the Internets, I struggle with certain words, as I write each day—one of these words is intellectual property (IP), which Wikipedia defines as: Intellectual property (IP) rights are the legally recognized exclusive rights to creations of the mind.[1] Under intellectual property law, owners are granted certain exclusive rights to a variety of intangible assets, such as musical, literary, and artistic works; discoveries and inventions; and words, phrases, symbols, and designs. Common types of intellectual property rights include copyright, trademarks, patents, industrial design rights, trade dress, and in some jurisdictions trade secrets...

Shadow API: Launching An API Before Someone Else Does

02 July 2014
In a perfect world, every government agency, non-profit organization, and company would have an API, and the content and data available via their website, mobile applications, and other systems, would be accessible in an easy, machine readable way. This perfect world does not exist. Even though many government agencies, non-profit organizations, and companies are getting hip to the world of APIs, there is still massive amounts of work to be done, and I'm afraid if we want to see APIs across our government, we are going to have to do much of it ourselves. I was listening to an NPR story on the release of files detailing Nebraska's homesteading history, a project between the National Archives and National Park Service, today...

Deploying An API From Amazon S3 File Store

02 July 2014
I'm spending a lot of time updating my API deployment research lately, making sure it reflects what is truly going on out there in the space. In addition to tracking on legacy approaches to API deployment like enterprise API gateways, or using an open-source API frameworks, I am also trying to understand the realities of scraping data for deployment of APIs, and new solutions from API platforms like APISpark, StrongLoop, Orchestrate.io, and Import.io. When it comes to the realities of deploying an API, your data or content sources is likely to come from a myriad of file stores, databases, and other systems, and I’m looking to explore as many of the as I possibly can. Todays exploration is focused on deploying an API, using Amazon S3 as a file store...

Making More Time To Play With The Smallest Federated Wiki

02 July 2014
I'm always working to better understand the best of breed technology solutions available online today, and to me, this means, lightweight, machine readable apps that do one thing and do it well. One solution I’m looking at is called the Smallest Federated Wiki, from Mike Caulfield(@holden), which has been on my list for several weeks now, but one of his latest posts has floated it back onto my priority list. To understand what the Smallest Federated Wiki (SFW) is, check out the video. I haven’t personally downloaded and installed yet, which is something I do with all solutions that I’m evaluating. SFW is Node.js, and available on Github, if you want to play with as well--I'm going to be installing on AWS if you need an AMI...

Building Blocks Of API Deployment

01 July 2014
As I continue my research the world of API deployment, I'm trying to distill the services, and tooling I come across, down into what I consider to be a common set of building blocks. My goal with identifying API deployment building blocks is to provide a simple list of what the moving parts are, that enable API providers to successfully deploy their services. Some of these building blocks overlap with other core areas of my research like design, and management, but I hope this list captures the basic building blocks of what anyone needs to know, to be able to follow the world of API deployment. While this post is meant for a wider audience, beyond just developers, I think it provides a good reminder for developers as well, and can help things come into focus...

Deploy An API From A Google Spreadsheet Using APISpark

30 June 2014
Spreadsheet are the most used datastore in business. When Google came out with their web-based spreadsheet, it was a game changer (for those who have access), when it came to managing, collaborating and sharing small data sets. When it comes to data management, not all of us live in the world of big data, and spreadsheets are a quick and dirty data store that gets the job done. As the web was maturing, Google saw an opportunity, and launched the labs version of Google Spreadsheets in mid 2006, bringing spreadsheets into the web 2.0 era of the Internet. In 2014, the next step, in the evolution of the spreadsheet, is to be able to plug spreadsheets directly into the API economy, allowing spreadsheet data stewards to make their valuable content and data available to web, mobile and Internet of things (Iot) developers via simple web APIs...

APIs.json API Property Types

30 June 2014
I’m working the great feedback we've had on APIs.json, an adding everything to the Github issues for consideration in the next version. Today I’m spending a little time thinking through the big picture of APIs.json, and some of the building blocks I'd like to see reflected when API providers generate their APIs.json. Each API listed in an APIs.json has what we are calling: "Properties Elements”. The properties element is a collection, with two values: type and url. While we provide you with a base set of property element types you can reference: Swagger RAML Blueprint WADL WSDL TermsOfService InterfaceLicense StatusPage Pricing Forums AlertsTwitterHandle Our goal is to continue providing, “reserved” types that we recognize, while also leaving properties elements, being as organic as possible—meaning you can define your own references, and tell the story of why these are important building blocks in your own API strategy...

API Design White Paper

30 June 2014
Download as PDF My research for API Evangelist spans 50+ projects, but my core research is focused on seven projects in API 101, history, design, deployment, management, discovery and integration. In each of these areas, I evaluate who the key players (companies and individuals) are, and the tools and services they produce. Using my own, custom developed system, I monitor these key players, in all of the research areas, consuming blog posts, tweets, code commits, and much more, trying to establish a deep awareness in each of these fundamental layers of the API economy. The goal of my monitoring is to help me in producing blog posts (short form), and white papers (long form), while generating valuable analysis for my research, and increasing my own understanding and awareness of the API economy...

Developing The Language We Need To Communicate Throughout The API Lifecycle

28 June 2014
We are still in the infancy of the API economy, and now with barely 14 years of evolving web API design, we are only just now developing the languages we will need to communicate around APIs throughout their lifecycle, from the first mock of the API resource, to monitoring of a production API in the wild, or making available to a new breed of API search engines. There has long been standards for describing APIs, such as WSDL for SOAP, and WADL for web APIs, but these formats would never actually enable the meaningful interactions around APIs that it would take to find widespread adoption. WSDL was too programmatic, and heavy handed, while WADL never possessed the incentives for API providers to take the time to define their APIs using the heavy XML format...

The Restlet (Open Source) and API Spark (Cloud) Business Model

27 June 2014
I’m always on the hunt for common patterns that are working within the API space, and shine light on them, work to understand why they work, so that others can emulate these successful patterns in the space. One approach I’ve seen work well, in many situations, is a combination of open source and a Platform as a Service (PaaS), and I’m going to highlight the implementation of this model by one of the API Evangelist partners—Restlet / APISpark. Open Source For Developers First and foremost, Restlet is an open source web API framework, that any developer can download, and install to deliver their own API. The community benefits from this, Restlet benefits from this—open source API tooling is a fundamental building block for all of this to work...

Nest Provides A Real-Time Layer By Default For API Consumers

27 June 2014
I had several folks point me to the Nest API release the other day. I enjoy this, because I’m not always the fastest in finding news—eventually I’ll find it, but I rely on my human API monitoring network, just as much as my algorithmic API monitoring network, to bring stories to my attention. I’m still reviewing the Nest API release, but one thing that stood out to me, was how real-time is baked into the API by default, and specifically using Firebase. The Nest API documentation states: Use the official Firebase client libraries (Web, iOS, Java, and Node), which allow you to synchronize your data with a subscription-based, near-real time platform. As you develop your client, you'll find these resources useful: Firebase Data Structure, Reading and Writing data...

Monitoring Your Resources Becomes Default With Google Developer Console

27 June 2014
I’m not at Google I/O this week, enjoying some downtime in SoCal, but I am watching some of the news coming out of the event. One thing I noticed, was the addition of monitoring to the Google Developer Console, where Google is slowly working their StackDriver acquisition into their fast growing API driven, cloud development platform. You have to request access to the new monitoring services, and Google will open up "Stackdriver's monitoring capabilities available to select Google Cloud trusted testers at no charge”. Wile Stackdriver is about monitoring your cloud infrastructure, it also provides granular level, API endpoint monitoring solutions that you can use to monitor the health of the API resources you depend on in your apps...

Internal API Summit Within Every Company

27 June 2014
I participated in the API Summit at Edmunds.com yesterday. The event brought in API professionals from Mashery, Netflix, SOA Software, Ticketmaster, and EPAM Systems to discuss APIs, internally with the Edmunds team. The API gathering was just like any other API event I have participated in, with a lineup of 30-60 minute keynotes from API professionals, accompanied by food, drink and networking in between, as well as after the event. The only difference was the API Summit was smaller and all about Edmunds.com, occurring internally at Edmunds.com office, and with Edmunds.com staff in attendance. The internal API summit format is something that every company should employ. Following the trend of hackathons being executed internally, as well as publicly, let’s move the API conference format that has been evolving from API Strategy & Practice, and API Days, and bring it inside the corporate firewall to help get your entire company on board with APIs...

"If I Could Design My Perfect API Design Editor"

25 June 2014
Swagger is now Open API Definition Format (OADF) -- READ MORE I’ve been thinking a lot about API design lately, the services and tooling coming from Apiary, RAML and Swagger, and wanted to explore some thoughts around what I would consider to be killer features for the killer API design editor. Some of these thoughts are derived from the features I’ve seen in Apiary and RAML editor, and most recently the Swagger Editor, but I’d like to *riff* on a little bit and play with what could be the next generation of features. While exploring my dream API design editor, I’d like to walk through each group of features, organized around my indentations and objectives around my API designs...

Federal Government So Slow To Adopt New Technologies...Wait, What, A Swift API SDK?

23 June 2014
It is a common theme, that government of any kind, especially the US federal government is too slow when it comes to adopting new technology. While this may be a popular meme for anti-government crusaders, and is true in many areas of government, there are growing pockets of resistance across federal agencies, who are not just keeping up with the latest technology, but they are leading. An example of this is out of the Department of Labor (DOL), with their new Swift Federal Data SDK, which provides a powerful SDK that allows you to work with multiple federal government data APIs, using the new Swift programming language. Swift is only a couple weeks old, and DOL didn't miss a beat in getting a new SDK published on Github for developers to take advantage of...

APITools Raises The Bar With Open, On-Premise API Testing and Monitoring Tools

18 June 2014
APITools, the cloud-based API integration services is raising the bar for the space by introducing an open source, on-premise version of their API monitoring service. APITools only launched this year, and because of consumer demands, they moved up the timeframe for open sourcing the platform, which was already on the roadmap. I’d say after API design, API integration services and tooling, for testing, monitoring, and transforming API calls is one of the fastest growing segments of the API space. We are seeing solid solutions from SmartBear, Runscope, TheRightAPI, Nomos Software, and from API pioneer John Musser, with API Science, but APITools is definitely raising the stakes with open sourcing theirs offering...

Multiple Types of APIs.json For Discovery

18 June 2014
I’m working through thoughts around a suggestion for future versions of APIs.json API discovery format, and as I do with other things I’m trying to make sense of, I wanted to write a blog post on API Evangelist. If you aren't familiar with the format, APIs.json is meant to be a machine readable JSON file that provides an overview and listing APIs available within a specific domain. Authoritative APIs.json This is an APIs.json that is made available in the root of a domain, that is providing detail on an API that is managed within the same domain. This use case is for API providers to list the APIs that they offer publicly. Tribute APIs.json There is an API you use, and want to see it indexed in an API search engine like APIs...

Adding Data Visualization Layer to Interactive API Documentation

17 June 2014
I recently reviewed a new API initiative from the Food & Drug Administration, called OpenFDA. I gave a whole list of things that they did right when launching the API, but one item that I thought was particularly interesting, was the actual interactive documentation for the Drugs API endpoint. I talk a lot about interactive documentation for APIs, something that has become commonplace, and a building block that developers are starting to expect. What is different about the OpenFDA Drug API, is that the interactive documentation provides a visual interface for building API calls, going beyond the interactive, and often very form based documentation that is commonly seen in other developer areas...

I Would Review Your API Dropcam, But I Cannot Access It

16 June 2014
One of the mutiple requests to review APIs currently in my inbox, is from the camera platform Dropcam. Every email or tweet I get, asking me to review an API, I at least click in to see what is happening, looking for that good story.  Sometimes the API itself, can be good enough to be the “thing” that I tell a story about, but most often it is about a specific approach the API provider takes. Regardless, I look throughr all aspects of an API, sign up for an account, play with endpoints, look through documentation and code, and terms of service—trying to find any angle for a compelling story. When I clicked into Dropcam's developer area, I can’t sign up for the API, play with endpoints, review documentation and code, but I can look at terms of service! Dropcam asks that you apply to be part of their beta program, before you can look at or play with anything...

Thinking Beyond Just The Car At API Days in San Francisco

16 June 2014
After speaking at API Craft SF on Thursday, I kept the API talk going with two days of API car talk at API Days San Francisco. While there is a lot of focus specifically on the car itself, there was also a lot of talk beyond the auto at API Days San Francisco, which was dubbed "Disrupting the Car Industry and Driver Experience with APIs". Public Transportation In 2014, you just can’t talk about disrupting the car industry, without including public transportation. With smart phones in our pockets, we need to get "smarter" about when and how we drive our cars, but also when should not drive our cars. Public transportation has to be part of the conversation when developers are looking to “disrupt the car industry”...

API Craft San Francisco Wrap-up For June 2014

16 June 2014
I participated in an API Craft meetup this last Thursday, hosted by 3Scale in San Francisco. The gathering included Uri Sarid(@usarid) representing RAML, Jakub Nesetril(@jakubnesetril) on behalf of API Blueprint, Tony Tam(@fehguy) with his Swagger, and myself, discussing the fast growing world of API design. While there are other formats for defining APIs, API Blueprint, RAML and Swagger represent the leading API definition formats, tools, and services in the space right now. I assumed we'd be talking about each of the API definition formats, but the conversation was more about how we got here, and the motivations behind generating API descriptions. There are numerous reasons why API providers would want to generate API designs, ranging from the ability to mock interfaces, to generating interactive documentation that helps onboard API consumers...

Its If This Then That For X

16 June 2014
One interesting theme I heard at API Days San Francisco last week, was the concept of API reciprocity, or If This Then That(IFTTT) moving into more niche areas. This edition of API Days was focused on "Disrupting the Car Industry and Driver Experience with APIs”, and I heard several times, people saying, “Its If This Then That for cars”. After If This Then That put an iconographic face on the classic practice of Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL), and focused on not traditional database and IT system, but API driven software as a service (SaaS), I saw over 30 other providers follow in their footsteps. It is my mission to understand how these companies are evolving the ETL world, and write about it across the API Evangelist network...

Netflix Finally Shutters Support For Public API

15 June 2014
Netflix officially announced they will be ending support for their public API. Its no surprise, as they announced early in 2013 that they would longer accept new registrations for the API. While I think that Netflix could have put more resources into their API, and fought harder to make their public API a success, I still consider Netflix to be one of API pioneers that we can learn from when crafting our own API strategy. While the public Netflix API was not a success, the internal and partner API strategy at Netflix was a success. APIs have allowed the company to scale into the cloud, grow internationally, and expand to sever over 1000 devices via their trusted partner network. In addition to the internal API success at Netflix, they have been amazing at sharing their knowledge and experience with the wider API community via their blog, conferences like API Strategy & Practice, and in books like APIs: A Strategy Guide, available on O'Reilly Publishing, written by Daniel Jacobsen, Greg Brail and Dan Woods...

StackExchange, Twitter, And Github As Default Feedback Loop For APIs

10 June 2014
I’m still extracting great examples of API design, deployment, and management, that other API providers can follow, from recent API projects out of our federal government, with FBOpen from 18F, and OpenFDA out of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). This particular post is about the approach to establishing a feedback loop with consumers of the OpenFDA API. If you visit the OpenFDA portal, you will find that API consumers can seek help via three self-service channels: GitHub StackExchange Twitter If you don’t get your question answered by searching through existing Github, StackExchange, and Twitter conversations, you have three ways to directly ask the OpenFDA team questions: StackExchange GitHub Email What is notable (thanks Gray Brooks), is that OpenFDA uses existing services to establish the feedback loop with API consumers—meaning they use Github, StackExchange, and Twitter rather than rolling their own tool...

The edX API

09 June 2014
This post should tell you about how behind I am in my storytelling—this story is from an event I attended in Arlington TX, on April 30th, and May 1st. While in Arlington, I spoke to a group of professionals who were crafting an online data & analytics course. A couple of the participants were from edX, the online course platform partnership between MIT, Harvard, UC Berkeley and other universities. Over the course of two days, I had a cance ask the question, where was the edX API? Seemed like an obvious question, to which Emily Watson, the program manager at edX, responded, “Its on our roadmap”! An answer I get from many online companies, but Emily pulled up their roadmap on the wiki, and indeed it was on their roadmap...

Four Reasons OpenFDA API Launch Was Successful (Hint: Not Just The Tech)

06 June 2014
My friends over at Social Health Insights, wrote about their experience being one of the beta users for the new OpenFDA API, and what they thought contributed to the success of the API launch from the Food and Drug Administration. What I found interesting about their post, is that contributing factors were not technical: Getting Feedback Early - The openFDA team solicited feedback early on in the API development process from end users and consumers of the API. This feedback was listened to and ultimately helped shape a very nice API at launch. Being Collaborative - If you are going to do #1 then you must be willing to be collaborative. From the get-go, the openFDA team collaborated with a number of stakeholders and was open all the feedback that streamed in...

Publish Your API Into The API Commons From APISpark

05 June 2014
I’m still playing catch up on many of my stories from over the last month, and one of them is the ability to publish your API definition straight from your API deployment using APISpark. If you aren’t familiar with APISpark, it is a cloud-based API deployment service built on the open source RESTlet framework. Using APISpark you can deploy APIs from existing Google Spreadsheets, machine readable files on Amazon S3, or directly from a fresh datastore. APISpark gives you all the control you need over generating your endpoints, securing and monitoring the resulting APIs—all without any programming or back-end infrastructure. For me, the best part is that once you have your API deployed with APISpark, it automatically generates an API Commons manifest, and serves up the URL you need to publish into the commons...

Help Developers Understand What To Do Next With Your API Response

05 June 2014
There are numerous reasons for API designers to follow hypermedia patterns when crafting their internal, partner or publicly available APIs. One of the most fundamental reasons for offering hypermedia is to help developers understand what to do next, once receiving a response from your API. Hypermedia APIs mimic the default characteristics of the web, and how you always know what do next with a web page, because there are many available links either in the form of navigation, in the body or footer. Reflecting this behavior, each hypermedia API resources comes with a set of related links giving developers clear actions to take once the response is received. It can be easy to get lost in the numerous hypermedia debates online, not quite understanding all of the benefits of this fast growing API design pattern, but one clear reason is to help developers understand what to do next...

Beta Testing Linkrot.js On API Evangelist

05 June 2014
I started beta testing a new JavaScript library, combined with API, that I’m calling linkrot.js. My goal is to address link rot across my blogs. There are two main reasons links are bad on my site, either I moved the page or resource, or a website or other resource has gone away. To help address this problem, I wrote a simple JavaScript file that lives in the footer of my blog, and when the page loads, it spiders all the links on the page, combining them into a single list and then makes a call to the linkrot.js API. All new links will get a URL shortener applied, as well as a screenshot taken of the page. Every night a script will run to check the HTTP status of each link used in my site—verifying the page exists, and is a valid link...

What Are The Incentives For Creating Machine Readable API Definitions?

05 June 2014
After #Gluecon in Colorado the other week, I have API design on the brain. A portion of the #APIStrat un-workshops were dedicated to API design related discussion, and API Design is also the most trafficked portion of API Evangelist this year, according to my Google Analytics. At #Gluecon, 3Scale and API Evangelist announced our new API discovery project APIs.json, and associated tooling, API search engine APIs.io. For APIs.json, APIs.io, and API Commons to work, we are counting API providers, and API consumers creating machine readable API definitions. With this in mind, I wanted to do some exploration--what would be possible incentives for creating machine readable API definitions? JSON API Definition Interactive Documentation Server Side Code Deployment Client Side Code generation Design, Mocking, and Collaboration Markdown Based API Definition YAML Based API Definition Reusability, Interoperability and Copyright Testing & Monitoring Discovery Search The importance of having an API definition of available resources, is increasing...

API Commons Added To The API Commons

05 June 2014
Even with the risk of possible creating some sort of API wormhole, I just added the API Commons API to the API Commons. The API for adding and searching for APIs that are in the commons, now has an API definition that is publicly declared as part of the commons, with a CC-BY license. It just makes sense to have the API for the commons in the commons, so anyone can establish their own commons, complete with common API. 3Scale and API Evangelist are taking a particular stance on the API copyright discussion, and if our approach doesn’t match your vision of the API economy, we encourage you to fork and establish your own commons. We only launched the API Commons API two months ago, so the definition is still fairly new, and we would love to hear your thoughts on the API definition, and the underlying format of the API Commons Manifest...

Deploying APIs Using Heroku And 3Scale Add-On

05 June 2014
I am playing around with deploying APIs using multiple cloud platforms, and using popular container solutions. Next up is quickly deploying one of my utility APIs, to Heroku, complete with access control, traffic reports, and supporting analytics with 3Scale infrastructure. Application - Simple Screen Capture API I’ve been working through an operational harness for deploying all my APIs, and the API I use to push forward my approach to API deployment, is a screen capture API. This is what I will be deploying on Heroku, creating a simple application, that will take screen captures of web pages that I pass to it. 3Scale Heroku Add-On To make API deployment on Heroku easier, 3Scale has created a Heroku add-on that you can easily deploy for any application you have running on the PaaS platform...

Swagger Levels The API Design Playing Field With New Editor And YAML Definitions

05 June 2014
In January I started taking a closer look at the world of API design, by reviewing the top movers in the space, Swagger from Wordnik, API Blueprint from Apiary, and RAML from Mulesoft. My goal was to quantity the world of API design, and help me understand where it might be going, or where there are opportunities for new tools and services. My intention is to write a white paper on API Design, but haven’t reached this point, with the crazy amount of events and travel I’ve had in the last couple months. Looking back, at where I left off in my research, the major difference between providers was that Swagger was JSON, and didn't have all the tooling that was available with API Blueprint and RAML...

Retrieve My Data Like Retrieving Video Surveillance Photos From CCTV

04 June 2014
I’m an advisor to the camera API platform, EverCam. I don’t advise the startup because I’m super excited about the opportunities for APIs for security cameras. I'm involved because I believe in the Evercam team, and I want to be aware of this fast growing aspect of the Internet of things and API economy. Security cameras are not going away, and I want to help lend some critical thought to how we use security cameras, and apply APIs to help introduce transparency and accountability into this easily abused layer of our society. One of the things I learned from Evercam, is that in the UK you can request any photos of you taken on the vast closed circuit television, that is ubiquitous across the UK landscape...

The Machine Readable Questions We Should Ask Of Terms Of Service

04 June 2014
I’ve been following the work of Terms of Service Didn’t Read for some time now. In my opinion this work is some of the most important legal work out there right now, which is guiding all of our activity not just online, but increasingly in our offline worlds. If you aren't familiar with Terms of Service Didn’t Read, I think their slogan sums it up well: “I have read and agree to the Terms” is the biggest lie on the web. We aim to fix that. More clarity and balance in the terms of service that online services employ is critical to the future of society and the web, this single checkbox is deciding our fate, whether you realize it or not. One of the projects I’m working on in coming months, is forking and extending the Terms of Service Didn't Read work into the world of APIs...

Twitter As The Platform For Learning About APIs And The Internet Of Things

04 June 2014
I’ve had the pleasure of watching Romain Huet (@romainhuet), developer evangelist at Twitter, give his very entertaining talk three times now, and if you haven’t seen it, I recommend looking it up on the APIStrat Youtube channel. Romain walks us through the world of Twitter, showing us the power of the platform and its API, but the really entertaining part is the two Internet of things (Iot) demos that he executes during his talk. The first demo Romain does, is taking an audience selfie using a Raspberry Pi driven camera, triggered by a Tweet. The second demo involves flying a quadcopter drone on stage, that uses NodeCopter as the interface, and Twitter as the communication layer...

How Will The US Census Bureau API Influence the 2020 Census?

04 June 2014
I've been tracking on the API from the US Census Bureau since they launched in 2012, and even met with them to discuss their strategy over the last couple years. The team at the Census Bureau has slowly integrated an external API into their operations, opening up conversations around census survey data, that is harder to achieve from just downloads only. I recently saw a post that Census Bureau is gearing up for the 2020 census. As I was reading the post, I couldn't help but think about how the Census API will influence how the 2020 census is executed. Additionally I wonder if any other APIs will be used during the census process, such as Twitter or other social platforms. In my opinion, the census, and its resulting data will continue to be a cornerstone of the API and open data space...

Another Strong API Implementation In Federal Government With OpenFDA

04 June 2014
I am really impressed with the quality of API deployments coming out of the federal government recently. I wrote about the FBOpen API from 18F a couple months ago, and the latest is the OpenFDA API from the Food & Drug Administration. I’ve been watching the rollout of the API from behind the scenes for a while now, but with all my travel and speaking I haven't had time to write about or participate, but now that they've officially launch publicly, I wanted to help showcase what they've been up to at the FDA. Meaningful First Impression When you first land on OpenFDA, you immediately understand what it does, thanks to the interactive visual on the homepage introducing OpenFDA, letting you know that it contains more than 3 million adverse drug event reports, with frequently reported indications for drug use among women, 55 to 90...

Pushing The Space Forward With Talks At #APIStrat - Did You Submit Yours For Chicago?

03 June 2014
I’m working my way through the collection of talks from API Strategy & Practice Amsterdam that are available on Youtube, and I'm reminded of what an amazing lineup of speakers we've managed to assemble at not just #APIStrat Amsterdam, but also in San Francisco and New York. Today I re-watched three videos which I think reflect not just #APIStrat, but also where we are at in the industry: Mike Amundsen - In an effort to understand where we are going with the API economy , Mike looks back at the history of computing, trying to understand how we got here, uncovering some interesting patterns, while weaving it all together into a compelling story worthy of a Ken Burns PBS documentary...

Significance Of The We The People API Being First Modern Read / Write Web API In Government

03 June 2014
I finished up my response to the Department of Education RFI focused around the use of APIs at the government agency, a place where I’m not just advocating for APIs, but pushing very hard for read / write APIs. I finished up my response to the RFI while waiting for my flight out of Barcelona where I spoke at API Days Mediterranea, where I the heard echoes of the importance role that write APIs will play in government, during a talk from Xavier Badosa (@badosa). All of this primed the pump for me thinking about write APIs in government, while on my flight back to Los Angeles. This will be one of the biggest challenges API evangelists in government will face in coming years, something that scares the shit out of government leaders and their legal advisors, but will also be essential to government assuming its role in the API economy...

My Response To How Can the Department of Education Increase Innovation, Transparency and Access to Data?

02 June 2014
I spent considerable time going through the Department of Education RFI, answering each question in as much detail as I possibly could. You can find my full response below. In the end I felt I could provide more value by summarizing my response, eliminating much of the redundancy across different sections of the RFI, and just cut through the bureaucracy as I (and APIs) prefer to do. Open Data By Default All publicly available data at the Department of Education needs to be open by default. This is not just a mandate, this is a way of life. There is no data that is available on any Department of Education websites that should not be available for data download. Open data downloads are not separate from existing website efforts at Department of Education, they are the other side of the coin, making the same content and data available in machine readable formats, rather than available via HTML—allowing valuable resources to be used in systems and applications outside of the department’s control...

The Swagger Specification

29 May 2014
This post is an exact copy from the Swagger specification page, on the Swagger Github project. As I was reviewing the latest Swagger 2.0 release, I read this descripton, and I really felt it caputred not ust the mission of Swagger, but spoke to the essence of API design. With this in mind I wanted to re-post, as part of my ongoing coverage of the API design space.  The goal of Swagger™ is to define a standard, language-agnostic interface to REST APIs which allows both humans and computers to discover and understand the capabilities of the service without access to source code, documentation, or through network traffic inspection. When properly defined via Swagger, a consumer can understand and interact with the remote service with a minimal amount of implementation logic...

API Evangelist Now Available In Portugese

24 May 2014
The mission of API Evangelist is to increase awareness of APIs amongst not just the developer community, but also business, organizational, and government leaders around the globe. It is very important to me that as many people as possible read my API stories, and this is why I’m very pleased to hear that select API Evangelist stories are being translated into Portuguese, by my friends over at Sensedia. Sensedia is an API management provider in Brazil, and asked if they could translate and re-publish my stories on their blog, for their customers. Of course! All of my stories are licensed CC BY 3.0, so you are more than welcome to republish, and extend the reach of my stories—with attribution, and in a professiona manner, of course! I’ve also had requests from other providers in Spain, Germany, and France to syndicate stories from API Evangelist...

API Design May Take On New Meaning When API Copyright Comes Into The Picture

23 May 2014
In 2014 API design is exploding, proving to be one of the fastest growing areas of the API industry. For many years we’ve talked purely about API management, but after consolidation in the space, and serious growth, the conversation has shifted. The API conversation is moving upstream in the API lifecycle, focusing on designing, mocking, and collaborating around designing the best quality APIs possible, that will meet the needs of consumers--before any code is written and deployed. A new wave of API design companies have zeroed in on supporting healthy API design practices by providing tools like Apiary.io which allow you to mock, design and collaborate early on in API design process...

Restaurant Menus As Analogy For API Copyright

23 May 2014
One of the interesting conversations that came out of the APIStrat Un-Workshops at Gluecon this week, was the exploration of the analogy of applying copyright to restaurant menus, and applying copyright to APIs. This type of conversations is why 3Scale and API Evangelist support these types of events. When you Google the topic of restaurant menu API copyright, you get a wealth of contradictory answers that show the difficulty of applying copyright to menus. In practice you can put a copyright on your menu, and you could probably spend a lot of energy enforcing this if someone copies your menu. In reality, it will probably be pretty hard to win, unless your menu is exactly copied, and a fair use claim couldn’t be enforced...

Why APIs Should Be Designed By Linguists

23 May 2014
I’m constantly evangelizing how APIs bring individuals and companyies out of their silos and stimulate conversations internally amongst distributed groups,co and externally with partners and the public. During a federal government panel this Monday in Maryland, I was facilitating a discussion between NASA, GSA, the White House, with participation from Energy, FEMA and other agencies. It was mentioned several times that APIs were facilitating conversation beyond what just a data download does, in a way that changed culture, making APIs more about people than technology—something that is core to my mission as the API Evangelist. A well crafted API, with essential building blocks like interactive documentation, blogs, forums, active social media accounts, create valuable feedback loops that stimulate conversation around valuable API resources, and the applications and sites that put them use...

One Characteristic Of Many Of The Enterprise API Folks I Meet

23 May 2014
When I run into enterprise folks at events, one of the common characteristics I notice, is they always tell me how much they read my blog. Yay! Many of these people have Twitter accounts, which follow me and I follow them, and they can usually reference specific topics or posts I've written—demonstrating they do indeed read. Most of these people I'm aware of online, and I usually consider them fence sitters. They rarely retweet posts, or engage in conversations online, they just consume. I think this is fine, because not all everyone is suited for actively engaging in the social media world. What I do think is interesting is how interested they are in my work, and they let me know how my work reaches them, and reference specific topics and stories, but don’t actually contribute to the conversation...

Keeping The API Conversation Moving Forward At The Gluecon APIStrat Un-Workshops

23 May 2014
I’m still gathering my thoughts from the deep technical conversations that occurred on Tuesday at the Gluecon APIStrat Un-Workshops in Colorado. Before the official Gluecon festivities kicked off, 3Scale and API Evangelist held a 5 hour un-workshop where approximately 70 API professionals gathered to discuss some of the most pressing topics in the API space. Internet of Things One of the fastest growing areas of the API design and deployment, is in support of the Internet of things (IoT). During the IoT portion we had some interesting conversation around how APIs enable communication in Iot world, including some heated discussion about whether or not HTTP will scale and handle the fast growing Iot space...

Solving The Problem Of API Discovery

20 May 2014
API discovery has not changed much since 2005, when John Musser launched ProgrammableWeb, the API directory we've all come to know and love. In 2014 (9 years later), we have Mashape and a handful of other API directory and discovery tools, but we have not made progress on truly being able to discover the best APIs possible, in a distributed, machine-readable way. Steve Willmott of 3Scale, and Kin Lane of API Evangelist, are at it again, looking to provide a possible solution, that we are calling APIs.json—a machine readable listing of your APIs and supporting building blocks that lives in the root of your domain. The objective of APIs.json is to help fix this problem by making it easy for people to signpost where the APIs on a given domain are and provide information on how they work...

When Reviewing An API Should I Condemn Providers For A Lack of Public Access?

16 May 2014
I’m torn on a matter that I face when reviewing APIs for companies. I get emails from people who want me to review their API implementation, and they state they want public developers to get excited about an API, but the program isn't fully available out in the open. Most often these APIs just have some sort of landing page, which is really just a press release, and email address of someone to contact to gain access. I’m all for people being able to have any grade of privacy for their APIs ranging from internal to completely public, but I just it difficult when API providers express interest in public developers learning about and potentially using an API, but don't provide any of the common building blocks developers are used to with a modern API...

18F Pushing For Write APIs In Government To Become A Reality

15 May 2014
We’ve seen a significant growth in the number of APIs in government, but to date most of these APIs are read-only, meaning you can just retrieve content or data from these APIs, not actually add, update or delete any of the resources made available via these APis. I've written about the lack of write APIs in government before, trying to kickstart the conversation amongst existing API advocates at various agencies, and now 18F, the elite tech group at the GSA is doing the same. 18F has a page dedicated to the conversation around write APIs in government, with eight active examples of write APIs, nine potential examples, and two that are "under consideration". What 18F is doing, is a key part of the process that will demonstrate to existing API owners at government agencies, that write APIs are possible, by showcasing the existing implementations, as well as others that are under development...

Hypermedia Adoption Will Not Be About The Perfect API Client

15 May 2014
As I’m working to add yet another API example to my growing list of hypermedia APIs in the wild, I can't help but think about the long evolution of hypermedia, and how it will eventually become part of the mainstream API consciousness. I first started following the often heated discussions around hypermedia a couple years ago as leading API technologists began discussing this significant evolution in API design. Hypermedia has numerous benefits and features, but one you often hear in discussions is that if we use hypermedia we can stop designing custom clients that consume APIs. The logic is that if every API call comes bundled with URLs for discovering and navigating the resources that are made available via an API, clients can just use this as a blueprint for any app to API interactions...

One Of The Problems With API Terms of Service Is That There Is No Negotiation

14 May 2014
There is a laundry list of problems with the current state of terms of service, affectionality called TOS--those legal documents we all agree to as part of our usage of online services, and are defining relationships between API providers and their consumers. API Voice is dedicated to exploring this, and other building blocks that make up the politics of APIs, an area you will see increased coverage of in 2014. As I continue to develop a better understanding of how API terms of service influence the API economy, I can't help but think one of the fundamental flaws of API terms of use is that there is no room for negotiation. Earlier this month I explored the concept of being able to pay for alternate options within a terms of service, as part of my ongoing journey towards a machine readable TOS...

The Future Of Public Private Sector Partnerships Being Negotiated At The API oAuth Scope Level

14 May 2014
A couple of weeks ago I attended a two day API specification session between major California utilities, Southern California Edison (SCE), San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), that was organized by Hypertek Inc. for National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), that is looking to push forward the Green Button data and API agenda of the White House and Department of Energy. The Green Button API and open data model already exists, but the current hurdle for the initiative is to get leading utilities to agree to specific implementation definitions that serve their customers, so it can be ratified as a standard. This entire two day session was dedicated to walking through line by line, and establish the oAuth scope that each of the three utility companies would implementing when providing Green Button data via the API to 3rd party developers, who are building solutions for utility customers...

I Will Be Moderating Open Data And API Workshop Discussion With GSA, DISA, DNI, NASA And White House Next Week In Maryland

14 May 2014
I was invited to moderate a workshop panel in Maryland next week at the The American Council for Technology (ACT) - Industry Advisory Council (IAC) Management of Change 2014 event. If you arenat familiar with ACT-IAC, they are a non-profit, public-private partnership dedicated to improving government through the application of information technology--with the event bringing government leaders together, and discussing open data, open source, and APIs. The workshop is described as: Open Data isn’t just data sets. It’s APIs, it’s open source and, most importantly — it’s people. Working within these new concepts and methods requires a change in culture by our programs, executives, and contracting offices...

Zapier Looks To Educate Everyone With An Introduction To APIs

14 May 2014
API interoperability and reciprocity provider Zapier is looking to get everyone up to speed on the world of APIs, by providing an introduction to APIs that is meant for both developers who are new to APIs, and easy enough for non-developers to follow. To help get people up to speed on APIs, Zapier’s introduction has eight chapters covering the big picture: Chapter 1: Introduction Chapter 2: Protocols Chapter 3: Data Formats Chapter 4: Authentication, Part 1 Chapter 5: Authentication, Part 2 Chapter 6: API Design Chapter 7: Real-Time Communication Chapter 8: Implementation It is good to see providers like Zapier develop an introductory course for people to learn about APIs. It is in Zapier’s interest to help get people up to speed—the more folks who understand that APIs exist, the more chance they will use Zapier as the platform they depend on to orchestrate their lives in the cloud...

Join Me For Iot, Realtime And API Design At Gluecon In Colorado Next Week

14 May 2014
The time has come for one of my favorite events in the tech space—Gluecon. If you have never been to Gluecon or Defrag, read some of my previous posts about just how different the event is. Gluecon has brought together tech leaders, who have helped define the API space for the last six years, to a small resort in Colorado, creating an environment for conversation I have not experienced anywhere else. This year Gluecon is exceptionally special for me, because 3Scale and API Evangelist are doing a special first day of un-workshop discussions on API design and the Internet of Things and Realtime, continuing the API Strategy & Practice conversation. You can find all the details over at the APIStrat site, and even register and be part of the conversation...

Gathering My Thoughts With APIs In Higher Education

12 May 2014
I had too many scribbles in my Evernote about work I’m doing for APIs in higher education, so I decided I need to publish as a story, which hopefully will help me organize my thoughts, figure out my next moves, and share what I’m doing to a couple of folks who asked what I’m up to in this area. APIs In Higher Education Institutions To keep API Evangelist operating I have some very supportive partners who invest in my research, and one of the areas 3Scale and I work together on is understanding how APIs are currently being used in higher education. As part of my recent research I went back through the universities I track on who have APIs, to see whats changed, and I stumbled upon the fact that BYU’s API inventory has grown to a mind blowing 261 APIs, covering almost all aspects of university operations...

Where Will Your API Stand In The Oracle v Google API Copyright Debate?

10 May 2014
I wanted to comment on the response yesterday in the Oracle v. Google case being played out in the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. This appeal is important to me because it will not just set the tone for how APIs are designed, deployed and managed, but also because I worked with the EFF to craft the Amicus Brief, and signed on as one of the computer scientists in opposition of API copyright--making the response a huge blow to me personally. The case is far from settled, so I will refrain from using hyperbole when I describe the situation, but will echo the EFF’s statement that “the implications of this decision are significant, and dangerous”. For me, it doesn’t change the conversation, it just re-enforces what I already believe, and hopefully it will do the same amongst API providers across the space...

Green Button (Energy) API Added To API Commons

07 May 2014
One of the most meaningful API projects I work on with the US government is the Green Button API, which provides access to energy data for US consumers across the country. First, what is the Green Button API? The Green Button builds on top of the Green Button data initiative which is: ...an industry-led effort that responds to a White House call-to-action: provide electricity customers with easy access to their energy usage data in a consumer-friendly and computer-friendly format via a "Green Button" on electric utilities' website. Which Todd Park, Assistant to the President and U.S. Chief Technology Officer states: Giving residential and commercial customers secure access to their own energy data in a standard, easy-to-understand format will help them visualize their energy use and identify opportunities to save money...

API Docs Are An Error: Bridging Where We Should Be And Where We Are Currently

07 May 2014
I heard an interesting statement this week at APIDays Berlin that I’ve heard before, "API document is an bug not a feature". The logic behind this is that if you design a proper API, using proven REST and hypermedia patterns, you shouldn’t need documentation. While this is true, and I agree with 100%, it ignores the vital process of getting the average person up to speed--simply stating that what many of us are actively doing, and what we currently know is a bug. I work with any folks who barely know what an API is, or what JSON is, yet have a lot of influence and control over whether some very important APIs exist, or not! I know that these API experts are speaking to the correct path that we should be taking, yet there is very little consideration to understanding where most folks are on the path, and how many forks there are in the road, before we get to where we need to be...

Partnering For Me Is About Sharing Of Ideas, Research and Stories

07 May 2014
I just turned down a potential partnership with a major enterprise company. As I do with many stories, I will scrub the names of those involved, because there is no reason to blame a single company, this is a lesson any large entity can learn from—for this story, we’ll just call them Acme Inc. Acme Inc. contacted me a couple weeks ago, stating they were looking to do some research into the API space, and have been following my work for some time. After a few emails we made time to get on the phone and talk about what each of us were up to. We spent about an hour, where I gave my history, why I do API Evangelist, and how I go about generating short form, and long form content as part of my research across the API space...

Remembering Why This Whole API Thing Is Working - APIDays Berlin

06 May 2014
This is my speaker notes from my talk this week at APIDays Global in Berlin. You can find my slide deck in my talks repository on Github, and find more photos from the event on Flickr. We live in a very exciting time, one where the resources we need to build meaningful websites and applications, that have the opportunity to impact how we do business, and potentially make change in how the world around us, is rapidly expanding. Once upon a time, many of these digital resources took millions of dollars of investment to deliver, if they were available at all. Now, with the introduction of web APIs, many valuable resources are available in a self-service, pay as you go manner, allowing anyone to integrate these valuable resources their own business or personal worlds...

Would You Pay For Alternate Options For An API Terms Of Service?

01 May 2014
Terms of service guide every aspect of how we provide and consume an APIs that drive our web and mobile applications. As an excercise, lets imagine a future where API terms of service (TOS) are machine readable, and always in alignment with the multiple partner tiers, and the service composition of an API platform. Right now, the options available to API consumers is organized into service packages, allowing us multiple tiers of access, based upon usage + cost, when registering for and consuming API resources. Imagine if during this process the API TOS were integrated into the registration and account management workflows. Imagine you could fully understand each portion of the API TOS, and be provided with options, instead of a single, rigid level of service...

I Will Be Speaking At APIDays In Berlin Next Week

01 May 2014
I getting ready to heading to Berlin in the morning. I'm scheduled to speak at APIDays Berlin on Monday. APIDays is the sister site to #APIStrat, an event you will always find me at, no matter where it is at in the world. APIDays has been pushing the conversation around APIs across Europe and the United States for a couple years now. While #APIStrat is focused on larger markets, and bigger events—APIDays is focused on new markets, and conversations within new business verticals, like the automobile API conversation, in San Francisco this June. I’m scheduled for the end of the day Monday, so my talk titled “The Kin Lane Show”, will be a summary of the current state of API space, while also integrating the other talks I will see throughout the day...

Come Talk API Strategy And Practice in Chicago - September 24-26th

01 May 2014
Its official, the next edition of API Strategy will be in Chicago, September 24,25, and 26th 2014. We've dubbed this version of the conference, 'APIs Going Mainstream'! As APIs make their way into almost every business sector imaginable, we thought it would make sense to have an API conversation with some of the top brands, in the heartland of the United States--Chicago. We are kicking things off with six speakers: Ashe Dryden Ashe is an outspoken educator for diversity, inclusiveness, and empathy. She's currently writing a book on increasing diversity within companies, as well as working on a video series and site to serve as a resource to people who want to get involved.  John Ellis As Global Technologist and Head of the Ford Developer Program with Ford Motor Company, John is tasked with expanding Ford’s “brought-in” strategy of integrating mobile technology into the vehicle...

Business Of Internal APIs At IBM Impact Last Tuesday

01 May 2014
I spoke on the business of internal APIs at the IBM Impact conference in Las Vegas, this last Tuesday. About 15 people attended my talk, but the conversations I had with folks afterwards, signaled to me that my talk was a success. I do not expect IBM or the enterprise to listen to my brand of API evangelism, but I’m still determined to better understand the collision of the enterprise with the open world of web APIs. Even if I convert just one or two individuals at any event, my mission was a success. Impressed that IBM invited @kinlane to speak at #IBMImpact. Maybe this isn’t your father’s IBM! — Michael Facemire (@ASocialFace) April 29, 2014 As I walked around the event talking to people I was reminded of how hungry the enterprise is for conversation about the API space that aren’t linked to a product or particular company...

What Can The Enterprise Learn From The Open API Space?

26 April 2014
I’ve been studying the API space exclusively for the last four years, and have worked hard to try and understand the space by studying the history of APIs, and as a result I can confidently say we are smack dab in the middle of what I consider to be an enterprise phase. In 2013 and 2014 I’ve seen the enterprise across multiple business sectors turn their attention to this curiosity called the web API. So why is the enterprise so interested in APIs? Many technologists from the enterprise claim that it is no difference than their own earlier SOA efforts, but there has to be more under the hood, that is attracting the enterprise, beyond just a shiny new label, API—so what are they? Simplicity - Keep things small, modular and intuitive Access - You should be widening access to your resources, not ever limiting Openness - While not everything should be 100% open, be as open as possible Transparency - Provide insight into operations and your roadmap allowing consumers to operate in alignment Communication - Two way communication between you and your consumers Privacy - Protect the privacy of your consumers Ownership - Be open to alternative licensing and ownership of content and data that is favorable to consumers Legal - Be as open as you can be with copyright, patents and trademark in API initiatives Terms - Establish terms of use that favor your business, but also the interests of consumers Revenue - Acknowledge the monetization needs of your consumers Quantify - Define and understand how digital resources are being consumed If you're looking at the web API phenomenon purely through a technical lens, as many SOA practitioners do, you will not even see most of these characteristics—they are irrelevant to your tech driven goals...

A Rare Beast In Government, The Write API

25 April 2014
The number of APIs in government has grown significantly in the last couple of years, increasing access to public data, potentially driving the private sector to build web and mobile apps around government resources data. Even with this growth in API deployment and resulting app development, this movement has been severely handicapped by one aspect—99% of these APis are read only, you cannot write data to government via APIs. APIs being a two way street is one of those subtle, but very important aspects of API operations that can define whether an API initiative will be success or not. Since government is so risk averse, most entities are afraid of what can happen when they launch APIs, and completely terrified around what will happen with an API that people can write data to...

Browsing The 261 APIs At Brigham Young University

23 April 2014
I’ve been tracking on education and university APIs for a while now, but after kicking off some work on the FAFSA API prototype, and preparing a response for to the request for information (RFI) on the use of APIs in higher education data and student aid process, I'm ramping up the time I’m spending on education related APIs. APIs in higher education is also one of the areas 3Scale and API Evangelist are partnering, to help define what the API landscape looks like across higher education institutions, and as I do with other business sectors, we are looking to stimulate the API conversation amongst existing leaders from the space—online, and offline at as many events as we can...

Planning Everything Upfront vs Iterating On An API Over Time

23 April 2014
I just finished up participating in an API specification session for Green Button data with Southern California Edison (SCE), San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E). The discussion at one point during the last day was around “chunking” of huge data sets that a provider wants to allow for download over http. The group has been talking about scenarios for how this will work, and after over an hour they are getting to some pretty edge case scenarios surrounding “chunking”. As I listen, I can’t help but thinking about he pros and cons of upfront planning vs. iterating on your API over time. Are they planning for scenarios that will never happen, and building in development time for use cases that may never become a reality? They know their data and industry best, so I am not educated enough to make a determination, but it doesn't stop me from having these thoughts...

ReliefWeb Is Tackling The Worlds Biggest Problems Using APIs

22 April 2014
I was introduced to the ReliefWeb API last week, which provides information including reports, jobs, training, countries, and source details on global crises and disasters going back to 1996. The ReliefWeb API follows a trend of organizations realizing not just the potential of APIs for delivering content to mobile applications, but also the benefits of opening up publicly. As the site states: The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) originally built the ReliefWeb API to power a mobile version of the ReliefWeb website. Since then they have normalized the interfaces for public consumption, hoping that “developers can build tools that increase exposure for valuable content and facilitate analysis for better decisions...

Turning Forms Into APIs: Crap In, Crap Out

18 April 2014
I’ve been involved in a lot of conversations lately around turning government forms into APIs. Which seems like a great idea, right up until the part where I’m thinking about the original workflow represented by many legacy forms, and realize that maybe this form was a bad idea to begin with. If I develop an API for a form, and the original form all by itself is a bad idea, am I just making a bad idea worse, by attaching an API to it? I'd say yes! I don’t feel like this will be true in all situations. I think APIs will allow us to hopefully break free of what the original intent of a form was, explore new opportunities for gathering and managing data, and changing the concept of what a form is...

API Virtual Stack Composition Like The Absolut Drinks Data API

17 April 2014
If you read my blog regularly, you know I am constantly pushing the boundaries of how I see the API space, and sometimes my ramblings can be pretty out there, but API Evangelist is how I work through these thoughts out loud, and hopefully bring them down to a more sane, practical level that everyone can understand. My crazy vision for the day centers around virtual API stack composition, as beautiful as the Absolut Drinks Database API. Ok, before you can even begin to get up to speed with my crazy rant, you need to be following some of my rants around using virtual cloud containers like we are seeing from docker, AWS and OpenShift, and you need to watch this video from APIStrategy & Practice about Absolut Drink Databse API deployment...

An Operational Harness For My Screen Capture API

17 April 2014
I am evolving my own approach to deploying my API resources, and I needed an important sounding name for it, so came up with “operational harness” over a couple pints of IPAs. Ok, so what do I mean when I say operational harness? Based upon the way that I evolve my stories, I evolve my API projects in real-time with the help of Github. For my screen capture API I will be focusing on delivering four separate architectural pieces: Open Source Version - An open source, server implementation of my screen capture API, which will PHP initially with other languages next. API Service - A publicly accessible, cloud version of the screen capture API, allowing users to a certain amount of calls in a specific time frame before they are charged a per call rate, depending on their service their...

I Will Be Talking Business of Internal APIs in Vegas at IBM Impact

17 April 2014
The biggest impact APIs will have at your company will be the internal, cultural change regarding how you do business. We are in the middle of an explosion of APIs, and while there are many new public APIs emerging, the majority of growth is coming from the deployment of internal APIs. There is a lot that companies can learn from the open API movement over the last fourteen years, with many building blocks, and healthy practices that can be applied when internally deploying APIs. This is a topic I will be exploring on API Evangelist, and at the IBM Impact conference at the Venetian in Las Vegas, NV—April 27th through May 1st. The abstract from my talk, titled "Business of Internal APIs” is: The largest area of growth in the last couple years of APIs is internally within the enterprise...

The Private Internal Tier Of My API Service Composition

17 April 2014
The first consumer of all of my APIs, including my screen capture API is me. I develop my APIs first for my use, and only recently have decided to make available to the public. So when I sat down to create my service composition for my APIs, I needed to figure out what I was going to do about my internal consumption. My first instinct was that I didn't need to include my internal API consumption alongside my partner and public API consumption. I quickly changed my tune as I realized that it was going to be important that I monitor my own API usage in the exact same ways I would partners or public consumers. I need to better understand how I consume my own APIs, identify security breaches or just unhealthy ways I’m consuming my own API resources...

Interesting Example of Social Page Over At Cisco

16 April 2014
Its not often I find myself referencing Cisco when it comes to shedding light on interesting practices for the API space, but today is not your usual day. At some point yesterday, I found myself at cisco.com, and I stumbled across their social page, which gives equal real estate to their blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Youtube channel, as well as highlights from their community forum. I like the idea of having a page like this for API providers. It helps you establish a single page, that can act as a one-stop shop for getting information about what is going on within an API community. From a planning perspective it also helps providers understand they need to have more than one channel when it comes to providing API support via social channels...

External API Deployments Using Sync One Possible Future Of Government API Deployments

16 April 2014
I just wrote up a piece about how to deploy an API driven application backend using Orchestrate.io, and wrote a piece last week on API deployment using Solr and government data. After writing about both of these approaches, I can't shake the thought that external, API driven approaches like this will become commonplace in the next couple of years. Both the approach using Solr, and the other using Orchestrate.io, identify that data is available via a machine readable data dump and even an API, but neither solution provide the simple web API access that would make application development easy. In both these stroies, 18F and Orchestrate.io are both looking to just get the job done, achieving their development goals--in one case deploy an API of federal business opportunities, and the other is to build a web application that will make browsing super hero characters easier...

Keep Your API Developer Area Blog Up To Date

16 April 2014
I look at a lot of API developers areas in my work, and the first sign I see that nobody is home behind an API, is that their blog is out of date. I found myself at the ESPN developer center last night, clicked on the blog, which has a great tag line of “API-focused musings and rambling”, but alas hasn't been updated in over a year. Your API developer blog posts do not have to be anything master planned, and should just be thoughts from the daily life of running your API. A little effort goes a long way on your API developer blog, and when it becomes out of date, it also will send a strong signal to developers—nobody is home, don’t use this API. Make sure your API-focused musing and ramblings occur more than once very year, I know that personally I need it daily, but maybe you need it a little less frequent...

Two Things I Learned On Traffic And Weather Today

16 April 2014
If you aren’t already familiar with Traffic and Weather, it is an extremely structured discussion between John Sheehan (Runscope) and Steve Marx (Dropbox), about "the latest API and cloud tools, news and technologies”. Its not often I learn something new from the show (kidding), but today I learned about two new things: Flask RESTful - Flask-RESTful is an extension for Flask that adds support for quickly building REST APIs. It is a lightweight abstraction that works with your existing ORM/libraries. Flask-RESTful encourages best practices with minimal setup. If you are familiar with Flask, Flask-RESTful should be easy to pick up. Flynn - Flynn simplifies deploying and maintaining applications...

API Driven Backend For Apps Using Orchestrate.io

15 April 2014
There is a great post over on the Orchestrate.io blog about how they deployed a backend for the MarvelousDB app, using data from the Marvel API, allowing you to explore the world of Marvel comic book characters, through a simple web interface As developers often face with valuable API resources, the Marvel API leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to available interfaces, data access, and rate limit restrictions. This is common with new APIs, where it takes time to understand the right levers and dials to turn, that will make the API more usable by developers. Even with these challenges, the Orchestrate team wanted to build the MarvelousDB so they could easily browse the world of Marvel comic book characters, putting the Marvel API to use, but also showing what is possible when using Orchestrate...

What Are Some Good Examples of Hypermedia APIs?

15 April 2014
I'm increasing my coverage of hypermedia APIs in 2014, as we move from discussion to concrete hypermedia implementations in the wild. In support of this, there was a quick conversation on Twitter today regarding some good examples of hypermedia APIs, that I wanted to share with you. Chris Metfcalf (@chrismetcalf) of Socrata asked: @chrismetcalf Try these https://t.co/ZO8s7P93LT https://t.co/IlxDRfIwRW @kinlane @kevinswiber @medjawii @johnsheehan — Darrel Miller (@darrel_miller) April 15, 2014 @chrismetcalf Here is another https://t.co/n0kPsGOdtI /cc @johnsheehan @kinlane — Darrel Miller (@darrel_miller) April 15, 2014 Providing some much needed examples of hypermedia APIs in the wild...

Liberate Government Data By Deploying Web APIs With Solr

14 April 2014
I reviewed the deployment the FBOpen API the other day, which is a simple API resource of business opportunities with the U.S. Federal Government. An interesting aspect of the FBOpen implementation was that 18F used Solr to deploy the API layer. Solr is an open source search tool developed by the Apache Software Foundation, which can take any document store and easily generate a simple, yet pretty powerful web API—opening up access to content, without costly infrastructure. I showcased how the Free Law Project launched the Court Opinion API, using Solr, opening up access to archives of legal documents from across the country. 18F took XML dumps of business opportunities from FBO...

The APIs I Depend On To Run API Evangelist

14 April 2014
I maintain an active list of online services I depend on for my business, using Evernote. Each month I spend an hour or two maintaining this list, to make sure it is complete and actively change my logins when appropriate.  I saw the recent Heartbleed SSL situation as an opportunity to move forward some of my IT practices, including using 1Password to manage all of my accounts, and better profiling which APIs I'm consuming. This gave me an opportunity to update my list of APIs that I depend on, adding about 4 or 5 new ones. First I depend on a couple of the core Google APIs: Gmail - Integrate my daily emails, as well as email blasts with my administrative system Google Contacts - Keep business and individual profiles in my admin system in sync with my daily Google Contacts activity...

Service Composition for My Screen Capture API

14 April 2014
I now have a pretty simple screen capture API. You can pass it a URL and it gives you back a PNG image file of that website. Meeting my definition of a simple utility API. I use this API in my own platform, capturing what websites and applications look like for reference in stories, and other content. I want to make this valuable utility API available to a wider audience now. I need to compose some tiers of access to my screen capture API, that makes sense to my business goals and how it will be consumed by a variety of users. So far I’ve come up with five levels of access to my API: Private / Internal - This is where my API is consumer currently, internally my own systems. I need this tier to be unlimited use, no charge, but still tracking on how I am consuming the screen capture API so I can evaluate along with all my other service levels...

Reclaiming My Domain

12 April 2014
After the recent heartbleed security fiasco, I’m spending my weekend going through my list of online services that I depend on, changing my passwords, and along the way I’m going to reclaim as much of my domain as I can. I will be asking some questions of each online service, questions like, why do I use this service? does this service have an API? Questions that will help me establish a profile of that service, to better understand how I use it, and whether there is any valuable content or information I should be organizing in a better way. I produce a lot of content each day, and on the surface it seems like I maintain control over most of this, but in reality my content resides in online services like Twitter, LinkedIn, and other places that I frequent daily...

Moving Beyond My Basic 3Scale API Infrastructure Plan

12 April 2014
I have been using 3Scale API Infrastructure to manage API Evangelis's public APIs for almost two years now. My APIs provide access to my blog posts, news I curate, and the tools I track on. I also use the same infrastructure to secure and manage various projects I work on. You can view a list of my APi deployments on my API account management home page. In reality I haven't been all that serious about the management of my APIs until now. I have enough content I’d like to make available via APIs, and I have a growing number of new APIs, some of which I'd like to make available for a fee, and see if I can’t generate some new revenue streams off my research. Until now I've been on the 3Scale base plan, which is free and allows for 150,000 API transactions a day, and all the API management tools I needed to get going...

Reclaim My Domain - Kin Lane

12 April 2014
Over ten years ago I learned the hard away about my domain. I purchased kin lane.com from a website hosting provider I found online, and after they drained over 1K from my bank account for a simple $10.00 website and domain purchase, they proceeded to squat on my domain for almost two years. Eventually I got my domain back, but it taught me some serious lessons about navigating this new online world we were creating for ourselves. Fast-forward ten years, and I’ve not just learned a lot more about operating online, I have generated quite a bit of content, and value within my domain, giving me even more reason to protect not just my domain, but my brand. I produce a lot of content online, in the form of Tweets, blog posts, and other online exhaust from my daily life as the API Evangelist, and it is in my best interest to control as much of this content as I can...

Next Steps For My Screen Capture API

11 April 2014
Earlier this year I created a screen capture API, filling a need I have across my network—capturing an image snapshot of any web page. Not all APIs are created the same, but I think this screen capture API represents a very fundamental layer of the API economy, the utility API. This API isn't Twitter or Google Maps, it does one thing and it does it well—something most APIs should work hard to achieve. I've been using my screen capture API internally for several months now, and I think it is time to do more with it. I want to make this API available publicly, but I don’t want to just make freely available to anyone on the open Internet, to use as much as they want. I want to create an access layer, using 3Scale API infrastructure management that allows me to control who has access, and what they can, or cannot do with it...

My Answer To Why You Should Not Use Services Like Quora That Do Not Offer API And Data Portability

11 April 2014
As the API Evangelist I spend a lot of time cheering for companies to have APIs, and in 2014 I’m continuing a slow shift from cheerleading to calling out companies who do not have an API. If you are an older company or institution I will be a lot more forgiving about whether or not an API exists, but with newer tech companies, there is NO excuse --an API is mandatory! As a digital citizen in 2014, you should not use any online service that doesn’t allow for data portability, which starts with the ability to just download a complete file of all your account settings and data, and is fully realized when a fully read/write API exists, with the support of a healthy, vibrant API community...

Help Improve This Content: Another Reason To Deploy API Developer Area on Github

10 April 2014
I just published a post showcasing Socrata's use of Github to deploy their new open data and API developer portal. There are numerous reasons for using Github as part of your API management strategy, with one of the main reasons being the collaborative features that Git, and the social coding platform Github introduce. I've had the news about Socrata’s new developer portal open for over a day now, and what triggered that story was seeing a link to the regulations API on data.gov, which not only just uses Swagger for the API definition, it employs a simple portal that is deployed using Github pages. Deploying API developer areas on Github, using Github pages is nothing new, we've been doing it a while now...

Developer Portals On Github: Example From Socrata

10 April 2014
Civic data platform Socrata has launched a new developer area to support developers who are building apps on top of city, county, state and federal data, as well as the publishers of this data. A release of a new developer area is always worthy of note in my tracking of the API space—anytime I see a tweet or blog post about the release of new developer area, I will visit to see what is going on. The first thing I find particularly interesting about Socrata’s approach is that they published as a Github repository, using Github Pages. We are seeing more government developer areas move onto Github, because of the easy site hosting with Github Pages, and the benefits of managing your projects with Git, as well as social benefits of Github and its underlying API...

Exploring What Is Next For The Green Button API

10 April 2014
The end of last year I was asked to spent time thinking about three things: 1) An API for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) 2) Next steps for the Green Button API 3) API strategy for the overall United States Government. I managed to find the bandwidth to get two of the three projects active, but neglected to spend time on the Green Button API. To support my research I established a Green Button API repository on Github, where will track all my work. My goal is to pull together all the existing pieces of the Green Button API into one place, and evolve a strategy for taking Green Button API the next step. Like I did with the FAFSA API, I just want to explore what is possible, and jump start a conversation either within government and outside with other 3rd parties...

The Levers, Dials, And Switches For Your Participation In The API Economy

10 April 2014
I am playing with different ways of explaining the 100K view of how companies, and ultimately governments will participate in the API economy. As with APIs themselves, visualizing something like how an API platform can position itself in the emerging API economy, is very difficult to do—something that takes refinement, something I do by blogging, so here we go... Much like developers are looking into the details of each API call, using API integration tools like RunScope and APITools, to better understand how their applications are consuming APIs, API providers need to understand all the moving parts involved with successfully executing an API strategy. To help me articulate to API providers, I try to break things down into small digestible modules that will help me demonstrate  how they all work in concert to orchestrate the delivery of digital resources inside and outside the firewall...

Understanding The World Of APIs Via API Codex

09 April 2014
The mission of API Evangelist is all about bringing awareness of APIs to the masses. The biggest challenge I face in doing this, is that API Evangelist is primarily a blog, which means a chronological listing of content I produce. When you are new to the API space, you can start with home page, but then you have to start sprinting to keep up with what I'm dish'n up on the blog. I have been working to address this by deploying other static research sites like design, deployment, management, evangelism, monetization for API providers, and discovery and integration on the API consumption side—however, even with this work its not enough. This is why its great to see other resources emerge that help new API providers and consumers get up to speed on the space, while still remaining informative for the advanced users, or anywhere on the API proficiency spectrum...

The Role Of Scraping In API Deployment

09 April 2014
Scraping has been something I’ve done since I first started working on the web. Sometimes you just need some data or a piece of content that isn't available in a machine readable format, and the only way is to get it scrape it off a web page. Scraping is widespread, but something very few individuals or companies will admit to doing. Just like writing scripts for pulling data from APIs, I write a lot of scripts that pull content and data from websites and RSS feeds. Even though I tend to write my own scripts for scraping, I’ve been closely watching the new breed of scraping tools like Scraperwiki: ScraperWiki ScraperWiki is a web-based platform for collaboratively building programs to extract and analyze public (online) data, in a wiki-like fashion...

16 Areas Of My Core API Research

09 April 2014
When I first started API Evangelist, I wanted to better understand the business of APIs, which really focused on API management. Over the course of four years, the list of companies delivering API management services has expanded with new entrants, an evolved with acquisitions of some of the major players. Visit my API management research site for more news, companies, tools and analysis from this part of API operations. API Management In 2011, people would always ask me, which API management company will help you with deployment? For a while, the answer was none of them, but this soon changed with new players emerging, and expanding of services from existing providers. To help me understand the expanding API lifecycle I started two new separate research areas: API Design API Deployment Once you design, deploy your API, and you get a management plan in place, you have to start looking at how you are going to make money and get the word out...

GovFresh Live Chat With FCC CIO David Bray Using Github

08 April 2014
I stumbled into a pretty interesting use of Github yesterday, which I’m seeing as part of a greater push from our government to use the popoular social coding platform. The government blog Govfresh held a live chat session with FCC CIO David Bray (@fcc_cio), where some really interesting questions were asked of the very progressive CIO. I’m going to break up a few of the questions into separate blog posts, what I wanted to highlight in this post was the use of Github as a chat forum, showing once again that the platform isn’t just about managing code, but can be used to openly manage a multitude of collaborative government technical operations. Luke Fretwell (@lukefretwell) opened up the discussion which ran for about an hour, asking Bray several questions, and then Steve Spiker (@spjika), myself and the infamous Alex Howard (@digiphile) chimed in with further questions—making for a pretty interesting discussion...

18F Shows What Is Possible In Government With FBOpen API

08 April 2014
There has been some great coverage of the new group of tech specialists out of the GSA, dubbed 18F. According to their own home page, 18F: ...builds effective, user-centric digital services focused on the interaction between government and the people and businesses it serves. We help agencies deliver on their mission through the development of digital and web services. I know most of the team members from my work with the GSA, and my own time (albeit short) as a Presidential Innovation Fellow, and I am extremely optimistic about the potential of the team. This optimism is being seriously validated after looking through the groups recent release of the FBOpen API, which is a simple API resource to get access to opportunities to do business with the U...

Adding Evercam.io To The API Commons

07 April 2014
The Internet of things (Iot), and security camera API platform evercam.io has submitted the API definition for their camera API to the API Commons. I’ve been impressed with the amount of leadership that is coming out of this new startup in a potentially very political, and inevitable aspect of the API economy—cameras. Marco Herbst (@marcoherbst) of evercam.io approached me during #APIStrat in Amsterdam and expressed interest in submitting their Swagger API definition into the commons, and this last weekend we created the API Commons manifest and published to the commons. When I spoke with Marco several months ago about API Commons, he took the importance of submitting an API definition to heart...

Containers Will Do for APIs what APIs Do For Companies

07 April 2014
I was just having another conversation about virtualized cloud containers like Docker.io, and the approaches from leading cloud providers like Amazon with Cloud Formations, and RedHat with OpenShift. This is a subject that seems to be coming up more and more, and is definitely something you’ll see more of on API Evangelist, as well as being discussed at future API Strategy & Practice and API Days. John Sheehan (@johnsheehan) of Runscope put it best, a couple weeks back during a similar conversation: @kinlane containers will do for APIs what APIs do for companies. — John Sheehan (@johnsheehan) March 13, 2014 Virtual containers will make API driven resources even more agile, nimble and scalable--not just for providers, but also for consumers...

API Definitions: How Do They Model REST?

07 April 2014
Last week at #APIStrat Amsterdam, I moderated, and presented in a session that was called API service descriptions. I gave the talk for the first 15 minutes, then Sumit Sharma (@sumitcan), Ole Lensmar (@olensmar), and Ruben Verborgh (@RubenVerborgh) followed me-- the full video is on Youtube if you are interested. Over the last couple months I've been doing a deeper dive into the area of API design, with a specific look at API definition formats from API Blueprint, RAML and Swagger, so the session was intended to help me continue the conversation, in person, on the stage at #APIStrat Amsterdam. I'm happy I did, because Ole came to the table with some valuable data on API definitions, that save me some valuable research hours...

The API Evangelist Should Have APIs

06 April 2014
As I have evolved my blog from a content management system into an API industry monitoring system, much like other companies I work with, I’m making the switch to use more APIs in my operations. As I roll out these APIs, I want to share them with you, here within the API Evangelist developer area. Here at developer.apievangelist.com you will find APIs that give you access to the content I curate and turn into stories, the analysis I provide on the API space, and companies, tools and other resources that I use make API Evangelist go around. Sometimes I will roll out APIs as separate projects, and other times I will roll them out here, the central API area for API Evangelist. I’m working to separate out some of my resources, much like other companies do in the space, and allow my internal systems to read / write, while also providing public and partner access to these resources...

Twitter API Is Gateway Drug For Internet Of Things

04 April 2014
Last week at #APIStrat in Amsterdam, I had the pleasure of watching a keynote by Romain Huet (@romainhuet), Developer Advocate at Twitter, aptly titled “connecting to the pulse of the planet”. I’ve had the pleasure of watching Romain give this talk twice now, and he really delivers—you can watch the whole video on Youtube. Romain used Twitter as a conduit for not just one, but two live Internet of things (Iot) demos. First he took a live selfie of him and the audience with a Raspberry Pi camera he had developed, and second he made a drone take off on stage using commands he sent via Twitter. When talking to Romain earlier in Amsterdam, we were discussing APIs and Iot, and I said that Twitter seems to be a wonderful gateway for developers, when it came to connecting devices to the Internet...

So Much Can Be Lost Through Automation

04 April 2014
As I go through the management of my 60+ research sites that make up my API Evangelist network, I can't help but think about how I can automate specific aspects of the process. This is the way my custom built platform works, I have workflows and tasks I accomplish each day, and as I have time, I will write scripts and automate where I can. In an ordinary week I will process hundreds of blog feeds, tweets and new APIs, and sometimes I’m tempted to automated my curation, sorting, tagging and other aspects of what I do, but then I find valuable nuggets on company sites, blog and other places. Valuable insight that my algorithms wouldn't necessarily find, things that I can use in stories across the API Evangelist network, as well as expand my own knowledge...

Taking A Quick Look At The Leading API Partner Programs

03 April 2014
I’ve seen a wave of blog posts about additions to the developer and partner programs, of some of the leading APIs in the industry, making me think its time for some more research into the area. Partner programs come in several shapes and sizes, and go by different names, and are something I would like to understand better. I have several Evernote folders full of research on API partner programs, now I just need to polish it and publish it here on the blog, and possibly give it its own research repository on Github. Many companies consider their API partner programs, a type of partner all by itself. However when I talk about partner or developer programs, it is about establishing multiple tiers of API access, within an API developer ecosystem...

50 Building Blocks Of The API Economy

03 April 2014
I spend a lot of time looking through the websites of API companies, trying to understand not just the way they do business, but their role in their overall industry, or possibly how they influence other industries. I have been spending more time looking through the payment API space lately, and recently pulled together a list of key players in this space, as well as the common building blocks being used across the sector. Much like other significant areas of APIs like cloud computing, messaging, geo, and social, I can’t help but consider the impact these payment APIs will have across all business sectors, and our government. The 50 building blocks I identified as part of my payment API research will not just be the essential components of the payment API space, but will ultimately be some of the building blocks of the API economy itself--take a look...

API Definitions: What Is Behind The Name?

03 April 2014
Last week at #APIStrat Amsterdam, I moderated, and presented in a session that was called API service descriptions. I gave the talk for the first 15 minutes, then Sumit Sharma (@sumitcan), Ole Lensmar (@olensmar), and Ruben Verborgh (@RubenVerborgh) followed me-- the full video is on Youtube if you are interested. Over the last couple months I've been doing a deeper dive into the area of API design, with a specific look at API definition formats from API Blueprint, RAML and Swagger, so the session was intended to help me continue the conversation, in person, on the stage at #APIStrat Amsterdam. I'm happy I did, because Ole came to the table with some valuable data on API definitions, that save me some valuable research hours...

3Scale Moves Into API Integration Space With APITools

02 April 2014
API Infrastructure provider 3Scale has moved beyond just API management, with a launch of a new API integration service called APITools. 3Scale, one of the original API management providers, is moving out of just providing tools for API providers, and now targeting developers who are depending on API services for their web and mobile applications—catering to both sides of the API infrastructure coin. As developers depend on more API driven resources for their web and applications, the need to be in tune with the inner workings of an API is increasing. We don't just need access to the results of an API anymore, we need to understand the composition, performance and overall availability of the web APIs we depend on...

Visualizing The Value Your API Delivers

31 March 2014
I was reading the news about "BandPage raising $9.25M to help musicians reach and monetize billions of fans worldwide" today, which in itself isn't all that exciting. Sorry, while VC investment in companies that have APIs is a relevant data point, I just don't think its newsworthy enough to warrant its own blog post, usually just a tweet. One thing that I did find interesting in this post, was the image depicting the distribution via the BandPages platform: This image provides a very simple and clear way to articulate the value delivered via an API driven platform--showing users what BandPages does in a single image. I wish every API I came across had an image like this, demonstrating what value the API delivers, in a very visual way...

Should Government Provide Download Or API Of Government Data Resources?

31 March 2014
I just got an email from an open data, API evangelist, working on a "New Zealand cross government program that is set up to deliver better public services for businesses and providing more and better APIs is a core vehicle that we have identified for that”, who asked a question I see a lot, and thought I should do another post on: Should government provide the full download of datasets or encourage API access of data assets? The answer is both, but only if you have the resources to properly design, deploy, manage and evangelize the APIs, and you should always start with providing the full download of datasets. Many open data folks feel APIs are unnecessary when you have the full data download, but in reality this is a narrow view of the world—not everyone has the resources to consume entire data downloads, and there are so many lessons for government to learn from when providing APIs...

Last Weeks API Strategy And Practice in Amsterdam (#APIStratAMS)

31 March 2014
I am back in Los Angeles, after being in Amsterdam last week for API Strategy & Practice. It's Monday morning, with the event ending Friday, and rather than being drained and exhausted, I'm still glowing and very charged and excited for APIs, after all the amazing discussions. First off, thank you to 3Scale for making API Strategy & Practice possible. Without 3Scale, not only would the event not exist, it would not have the tone that it does. 3Scale is investing in the conversation happening, with the priority being an open, inclusive community discussion around APIs—products, brands and companies are not the focus, API strategy and practice lead. Second, thank you to all the sponsors, WSO2, IBM, Mulesoft, Pearson, BladeRunnerJS, Context...

Some Of The Best Discoveries Can Be Found Amongst Twitter Followers

21 March 2014
I spend a lot of time each week reading the blog feeds, and twitter streams from the best API providers in the space. In my opinion this represents the lowest hanging fruit in my API monitoring, where the stories just land in my lap, delivered to me by my feeds—then once I've picked all this fruit, I find myself looking through the Twitter followers of many of these APIs. The Twitter followers can contain some really interesting gems from across the API sector that I wouldn't find through my normal channels. By manually browsing the Twitter followers for APIs I’m looking for: People - Interesting folks doing innovative stuff across the API space.  Companies - New startups that have trouble cutting through the noise in space...

API Inception Getting Twitter Data Via Gnip Through New Brandwatch API

21 March 2014
Content and data aggregation provider Gnip just announced a new API from their “Plugged In Partner” Brandwatch, who launched the Brandwatch API, giving developers access to social data, filtered through their a brand lens, so they can build custom tools, visualizations and other apps around Twitter data. The Brandwatch API itself isn't that groundbreaking, there are plenty of other social analysis APIs offering similar features, but the fact that it was an API built on top of Gnip, one of the only approved Twitter firehose providers remaining, I found to be interesting. Gnip is trusted Twitter provider, with firehose access to Twitter data, and Brandwatch is a trusted Gnip partner, providing an API with access to Twitter data...

Last Chance To Register For Workshops At #APIStrat in Amsterdam

21 March 2014
The first day at API Strategy & Practice is always workshops that expose you the world of APIs, and #APIStrat in Amsterdam next week is no different. We had four workshops, but successful development and deployment best practices to secure, monitor and manage APIs, by Isabelle Mauny, Director of Product Management at WSO2 is already sold out. That leaves us with three workshops currently available: API-First Development with RAML from Daniel Feist, Architect @ Mulesoft Introduction to APIs from Kirsten Hunter and D. Keith Casey CitySDK APIs Boosting Civic App Development from Hanna Niemi-Hugaerts, Project Manager at Helsinki, Forum Virium I know most of them are getting full and I see emails coming with regularly with new registrations, so if you are interesting in participating in any of these workshops head over to the workshops page #APIStrat...

Adding API Rating Agency To Discovery Stack

19 March 2014
I’m adding the API Rating Agency to my stack of companies who deliver in the area of API discovery. The API Rating Agency helps API consumers understand each API provider on a whole list of metrics, ranging from terms of service to platform uptime. Rating of APIs has been a nut I’ve been trying to crack for a couple years now, resulting in a ranking system that is more human, than algorithm—so I know how hard it is to go through hundreds of APIs, and develop some sort of coherent ranking system. The API Rating Agency is a work in progress. I know they are hard at work reviewing API providers, so if you have an API make sure and contact them and see how you can put together a package that will help them understand your API...

API Discovery and Trust At #APIStrat in Amsterdam Next Week

18 March 2014
I'm continuing my journey through the session line-up at API Strategy & Practice next week in Amsterdam, next up is the API discovery and trust session, where the conversation will be about API directories, service descriptions and of trust and rating systems for APIs. Speakers for the API discovery and trust session are: Bruno Pedro (@bpedro), CTO at CloudWork Jonathan Bourguignon (@jon_bou), Co-founder at Reelstorm and APIRatings.org Rix Groenboom (@rix_groenboom), Solution Architect at Parasoft Stefan Rust (@srust99), Founder & CEO at Exicon It will be tough to decide between the API design and development and this one in the first session, on Day 1 for me. Thankfully that everything is recorded! API discovery is an area we have a lot of work to do to prepare for the explosive growth in the space...

Building More Metrics Into Your API Branding Strategy To Quantify Your Reach

18 March 2014
I use both Bitly and Google shortened URLs to track activity across my networks. I don’t just track click throughs, I also track image impressions for many of my projects and partners. This usage of shortened URLs lets me quantity the scope of my network, and understand interest across the network in the form of impression and click-throughs. After talking with Plot.ly about their embed strategy for API driven data visualizations, the topic of a sensible API branding has floated to the top of my story list again. I consider an APIs branding strategy to be an important building block that contributes to the politics of an API and its ecosystem (both internal and external). If an API branding strategy is too strict, it can turn developers off from using your API, but a well planned branding strategy that includes a healthy suite of embeddable tools can be a serious asset, and go a long way in satisfying internal concerns about brand integrity--which is major concern for companies when it comes to API deployment...

Strandbeest, APIs And Orchestrating The API Economy

18 March 2014
I'm going through the schedule for API Strategy & Practice next week in Amsterdam, getting intimate with each keynote, panel, and session, and their speakers. On day one we have a keynote from Mike Amundsen (@mamund), API Architect at Layer7 titled, "Self-Replication, Strandbeest, and the Game of Life What von Neumann, Jansen, and Conway can teach us about scaling the API economy”. I have not seen this talk by Mike, so I have no idea what he is planning, but I have to share an epiphany I had when I first contacted Mike about speaking at #APIStrat Amsterdam. Mike had responded to my initial email asking me what I was interested in having him talk about, which I’m a huge fan of Mike’s approach to storytelling, so I’m leaving it up to him...

Job Postings Provide View Into Internal API Efforts

17 March 2014
The API space has been pretty easy to monitor until recently, with most API efforts being public, but lately everything is trending is towards internal APIs, making it a lot harder to track on what some companies are up. I’m always on the hunt for new signals I can use to track on what companies are up to when it comes to their API strategy. A signal I’ve been using for a while, but is an increasingly important part of my monitoring, is the job posting for API architect, developer and evangelists. An example of this is the posting for an API platform engineer from video collaboration platform BlueJeans. We know that BlueJeans gets APIs when it comes to integration, but there isn’t much public discussion about their internal API initiatives or any publicly available developer program...

Its Not Just About Doing APIs, Its About Having Conversation About APIs

17 March 2014
Its always funny to come across the hyperbolic folks that exist in technology, that blindly believe that technology will save us. I seem to get attract a lot of these people with my API Evangelism (its the name), which on the surface I can imagine seems like I'm advocating use of APIS BY EVERYONE, in ALL SITUATIONS--when in reality, this is furthest from the case. At API Evangelist, I focus on having conversations about APIs in all situations, but not necessarily the deployment or consumption of APIs. I don't think APIs by themselves are a solution. I think APIs employed by a savvy business and technology team, providing access access to valuable data, content and other resources to consumers, are a good idea...

Main Stage Conversations At #APIStrat Next Week in Amsterdam

17 March 2014
We are getting close to the API Strategy & Practice conference in Amsterdam next week. With less than one week left, I’m going to be really turning up the volume on API Evangelist about the conversations that will be going on at #APIStrat. Last week I took a look at the 15 sessions that are happening, and today I’m taking a look at the keynotes, chats and panels that will be happening on main stage. Thursday March 27th Keynote: Ken Wronkiewicz (@wirehead),Technical Leader at Rackspace, Open Stack. Keynote: Romain Huet (@romainhuet), Developer Advocate at Twitter, Connecting to the pulse of the planet. Keynote: Mehdi Medjaoui (@medjawii), Co-founder at Webshell.io & Oauth...

Politics of APIs

17 March 2014
In preparation for a fireside chat with Tyler Singletary at API Strategy & Practice next week I’m reviewing many of what I consider the political API building blocks, and reading some of my past stories to refresh my thoughts on the most pressing topics in the space. The technical building blocks of APIs are pretty clear at this point, and the business of APIs has been being hammered out over the last five or so years, by API infrastructure providers like 3Scale, but the politics of APIs are an aspect of the API economy we are going to see become more and more of a hot topic as the space continues its growth. There are a handful of building blocks that are clearly driving how APIs are used (or not used): Legal   Branding - Along with the other business assets made available via an API ecosystem, the API owners brand is also being put on the on the line...

I Always Want To See the Data Behind, And So Does Plot.ly

17 March 2014
I don’t have a love of infographics, mostly because they more graphic, than info, and I’ve stated before that all infographics should have the data behind them. I’ve been working with data of over 20 years, I thoroughly believe in its importance when used right, but it seriously pisses me off when it is distorted in support of any argument—whether I agree with the argument or not. This sentiment is shared by a startup I was introduced this last week, called Plot.ly. I had a great conversation Nolan Browne the co-founder & chief business officer at Plot.ly, and he conveyed to me about how serious Plot.ly is about providing embeddable, API driven data analysis and visualizations tools that really empower data stewards...

API Service Accord

14 March 2014
Building off a conversation I had with a fellow evangelist in the federal government today, regarding API service level agreements (SLA), I wanted to talk through some thoughts I’m having about a couple of key API building blocks. Reflecting what I see across the API space, API terms of service (TOS) are the legal agreement that API consumers agree to before using an API resource. API best practices, tends to reflect what the API TOS lays out, but are delivered in plain english, avoiding the legalese of the standard TOS. When these two building blocks (terms of service, best practices) are deployed well, an API consumer can easily make a decision on whether an API is in alignment with their goals, then also being able to pass it off to the lawyer for a deeper analysis...

The Power Of Designing And Deploying API Driven Resources In Containers

13 March 2014
One of the transformative experiences of my career was when I worked for SAP, running SAP events as VP of Engineering at WebEvents Global. When I started, I was handed an architecture that was completely hosted in a hostage colocation facility, where I had no support. Long story short is, I was able to redefine my architecture using an API-centric approach, coupled with AWS EC2 and S3 APIs, I re-deployed infrastructure piece by piece into the cloud, exiting my restrictive environment, but then also giving me a newfound agility, and the ability to scale in new an exciting ways, that were very liberating. This experience was the birth of API Evangelist. After three years doing this, I needed a change, and knew that APIs was the space I wanted to be in, so I started a research blog to study the space--four years later I’m still doing the research and publishing in real-time across the 60+ Github repos that make up API Evangelist...

API Management: Adding Reciprocity Building Blocks

13 March 2014
I’m adding a new grouping to my list of API management building blocks, called reciprocity. If you want to know what I mean by reciprocity check out my earlier post From ETL to API Reciprocity, Looking at 20 Service Providers. As I was working with Nimble the CRM system last night, and I was planning out some workflows associated with keeping contact data up to date, and noticed that Nimble provides access to Zapier automation tools directly from their interface, using an iframe. Providing access to API automation tools for your developers, and end-users, is an important piece of a larger reciprocity puzzle. As an API provider you should allow for developers and end-users to access, migrate, download, and orchestrate the flow of their own data...

The 15 Sessions At API Strategy And Practice in Amsterdam

13 March 2014
I am getting psyched going through the schedule lineup of 15 sessions at API Strategy & Practice in Amsterdam. In planning the session outline, Steve, Vanessa and I listened to what the #APIStrat audience asked for after New York and San Francisco, which was more of the deep technical, as well as a balance of the business and politics of APIs. I think our lineup delivers on this, which we've broken up into three tracks: API Provider Design and Development Service Descriptions Hypermedia APIs API Marketing & Developer Communities Hardware and Internet of Things (IOT) API By Industry Media, Music and Audio APIs Civic APIs Enterprise APis APIs in Financial Services Community APIs API Consumer Discovery and Trust Security and Testing High Scalability API Based App Development Business Models This lineup of sessions represent what we are seeing across the API space, with API design coming front and center, to hypermedia moving beyond an academic discussion and actually getting traction...

API Talent Agencies

12 March 2014
I am watching Airpair and Workmob step up to meet the demand for developer talent in the API space, and can’t help but selfishly want to see the same for API evangelism talent. Along with the growth of the API space, the need for quality API developer talent has grown exponentially. Airpair and Workmob have both identified this (obvious) need, and will do well, if they can truly qualify, organize and direct talent to where it is needed across the space. I would call Airpair and Workmob, API talent agencies, with a focus on development. I want to see the same emerge for API evangelism, advocacy, or whatever label you give it where you are from. The need for developers is greater, but there is a huge, unmet demand for evangelists...

Common Building Blocks of Cloud APIs

11 March 2014
I’ve been profiling the API management space for almost four years now, and one of the things I keep track of is what some of the common building blocks of API management are. Recently I’ve pushed into other areas like API design, integration and into payment APIs, trying to understand what the common elements providers are using to meet developer needs. Usually I have to look through the sites of leading companies in the space, like the 38 payment API providers I’m tracking on to find all the building blocks that make up the space, but when it came to cloud computing it was different. While there are several providers in the space, there is but a single undisputed leader—Amazon Cloud Services...

Which Building Blocks Should I Use As Part Of My API Support Strategy

11 March 2014
I wish I had more time to take many of the questions I get behind the scenes via email and publish as stories, but with an insane inbox I only can make time for some of the more relevant ones. I had one from a couple weeks ago that I just got around to responding to, which had to do with which support building blocks should an API provider use. This particular question comes from Jamie Parkins (@jamieparkins) from JustGiving: In your experience of documented APIs, when you come across the need for help, do you find the simple Google Group approach works or do you prefer the more ticket like approach that a Zendesk might offer (and possibly wrapped with some FAQs)? I only have a resource of 1 dev so have to pick my battles carefully but I can't help thinking I'll end up gaining time if I can help users solve their own problems or questions better from the start (i...

Expanding An API Designers Horizon Using Apiary

10 March 2014
I spent some time developing a hello world product API with Blueprint, RAML And Swagger this last week, and along the way I had several experiences that I think are influential in the API design process. One of these was while I was designing my product API using Apiary.io. After I had gotten to a certain point in my design, and I wanted to see it in action, so I clicked on the preview button. A panel slid out showing me the interactive documentation my developers will see when it is published, and potentially see how it will work with sample API responses, and code samples in a variety of programming languages. Just like interactive API documentation has been important in teaching developers about an API interface, it will also assist API providers in understanding their own interface throughout the design process, and be able to better articulate the interface to developers...

Viewbook Uses Flickr API Design When Designing Their Own

10 March 2014
I am spending time getting to know the APIs coming out of the Netherlands, as we prepare for API Strategy & Practice in Amsterdam March 26-28th, and one API I was checking out is from the Portfolio platform Viewbook. Viewbook provides an API for users to add and manage their photos, building very attractive portfolios for photographers. What I thought was pretty cool when I was going through their API, was their re-use of the Flickr API design, rather than re-inventing their own. Viewbook is a great argument why we need API Commons, and a central, sensibly licensed place to find leading API patterns that providers can put to use. There are a lot of benefits for Viewbook to use the same design as Flickr, allowing developers to reuse code and other resources available as part of the Flickr API ecosystem--as well as just developer familiarity with the interface...

I Am Up To 34 APIs Out Of The Netherlands

09 March 2014
As we gear up for API Strategy & Practice in Amsterdam, March 24-26th, I’m spending my time getting to know API companies across Europe. I published a listing of APIs I found from the United Kingdom a few days ago, and next up is taking a look at what APIs are coming out of the Netherlands. Last week I did a roundup of 17 APIs out of the Netherlands, but thanks to Twitter, and specifically Gerard van Enk (@gvenk) who was curating a spreadsheet of APIs, I was able to double the amount of APIs I'm tracking on out of the country.

What Version Of The API Economy Are You Investing In?

09 March 2014
APIs are being used as the pipes that drive mobile apps, and beginning to connect our homes, automobiles, buildings and public space to the Internet. The decision on whether or not this is a good idea isn not even on the table, it is already happening, and there isn't anything you can do about it. What matters now is the path we take, and how open these API pipes are, how transparent providers are, how inclusive they are to developers and end users, and how much we respect privacy and invest in security. The big challenge in all of this is how do we steer all the actors in this new API economy towards a healthy balance: Providers - The potential of innovation and new partnerships, as well as access to new talent, and fresh ideas around a company's resources...

Hello World Product API With Blueprint, RAML And Swagger

08 March 2014
Over the last couple months I’ve been taking a deeper look at the API design space, trying to understand more about the tools and services that are emerging, and the different approaches being employed throughout the API design lifecycle. I started first with trying to understand the evolving motivations behind why people are using API definitions, then I spoke with API with the creators of API Blueprint, RAML and Swagger, the three leading API design providers out there, to understand more about the vision behind their various approaches to API design. After talking to each of the providers, I wanted to understand more about the tooling that was emerging from each of the providers, and went through what has emerged out of each of the Blueprint, RAML and Swagger communities...

I Have A Valuable API Resource, What Now?

07 March 2014
One of the most enjoyable thing about being the API Evangelist is talking to API providers about their strategy, and helping brainstorm what they should do next. I have multiple APIs I do this with regularly, either because I’m an advisor, big fan, or simply because they pay me. ;-) My favorite discussions are from the providers that are fine with me retelling their story publicly, APIs like the Cashtie API and the Popup Archive. Anne and Bailey over at Popup, a audio transcription API, talk with me regularly about their API development, deployment and now evangelism strategy. The Popup Archive API meets the first rule of APIs for me—do one thing and do it well, providing clear value for developers...

A Better Understanding Of Government APIs And Their Consumers Before Considering Charging For Use

07 March 2014
There is an interesting conversation triggered by a question from Mr. Gray Brooks at the GSA on the federal government API Google Group, regarding whether there are any agencies who are charging for access to their APIs. I thoroughly enjoy the growing community of open data and API folks that are operating around city, state and federal government currently, and how we are all turning these questions into full blown conversations that can actually help move things forward. First Luke Fretwell(@lukefretwell) from Govfresh responded with Should government charge API fees? I totally agree with Luke, that we shouldn't be imposing fees on API consumers at this stage, potentially scaring users off, or stifling innovation that could occur...

The New Github Developer Program and Integrations Page

07 March 2014
Github just announced a new developer program, which will allow Github API developers to receive notifications about upcoming changes to the API, and get early access on some feature releases. As part of the new developer program, you can also submit your work for inclusion on their integrations page, which is essentially a showcase of the best Github integrations out there. A beta program or refined developer group within your API ecosystem makes sense. Having an API access tier where the more engaged developers can step up, and play a closer role in the API roadmap, can bring some serious value to the table. I’ve blogged about the benefits of multiple levels of API access for a couple years now, and Github’s approach shows their API ecosystem is maturing, and they are further formalizing the incubation of ideas, applications and partnerships within the Github API ecosystem...

Jumpstarting the Automobile API Conversation With Carvoyant

06 March 2014
I had the pleasure of doing Carvoyant Connected Car Cast today with Bret Tobey and Matt Galvin, hosted by the infamous Mike Maney (@the_spinmd) today. The session was nothing formal, just a conversation about cars and APIs. The conversation triggered several potential stories for me, but after the talk I couldn’t stop thinking about how they talked about the Carvoyant API being a research & development (R&D) lab, and conversation starter about whats next for the automobile industry. Auto companies are on board with APIs playing a significant role in the future of the auto industry, but their window for change is in not just years, but multiple years. Tech giants like Google and Apple are turning their attention to the opportunities surrounding the connected car, but their runway is pretty lengthy as well—highly dependent on the car manufacturers...

So You Wanna Do a Spreadsheet or Database To API Startup

06 March 2014
A question I get regularly at API Evangelist is around the need for spreadsheet to API, and database to API services. Every couple weeks I get DMs and emails from someone who ask what tools are available, and that they were thinking about developing a solution. Right now I have three separate people asking this, and rather than just reply in email I figured I’d write a piece to respond, based upon my experience. First, let me state that there is a need for simple spreadsheet to API solution. Much of the worlds data is locked up in spreadsheets, and in control of data stewards who don't access to API deployment resources. However, I'm not sure there is a lot of money to be made in providing this as a service, i feels like something that should just be default for all spreadsheet operations—you know like Google Spreadsheet...

API Badging and Credentialing To Demonstrate Skills

05 March 2014
I have a number of APIs that I've successfully integrated with, and an even greater number that I've just played around with, pulling data, seeing what is possible. If you have spent the time learning what an API does, and gotten familiar with the interface, that is worth something. If you've successfully integrated with an API, understand its ins and outs, have code in production that depends on that API—that is worth a lot. With all of this experience in working with APIs, how do you demonstrate it? We are seeing freelance agencies emerge that are focused on delivering developer talent that companies can put to use when building web and mobile apps using APIs—how will they demonstrate an individuals skills when it comes to a variety of APIs? At some point we are going to need some sort of badging or credentialing system to help us demonstrate the mad API skills we all possess...

Some Of The Common Building Blocks of Payment APIs

05 March 2014
I'm taking a look at the world of payment APIs right now. As with all my other monitoring of the API space, I am only looking for the best approaches, by the most interesting companies in the space--I don't have time to track on everything,  I am looking to take a snapshot of the payment API space, understand who the key players are, and how they are delivering valuable payment API resources that developers are actually using. Last week I puled together 38 payment APIs that I'm watching, and this week I am spending some time going through their sites, looking for what I'd consider to be some of the common building blocks of payment APIs.  Currently I have 50 building blocks I found across these 38 payment providers: Merchant Account - Creation, management and integration with merchant accounts that are required to process credit cards...

APIs Coming Out Of The Netherlands

04 March 2014
As we gear up for API Strategy & Practice in Amsterdam, March 24-26th, I’m spending my time getting to know API companies across Europe. I published a listing of APIs I found from the United Kingdom a few days ago, and next up is taking a look at what APIs are coming out of the Netherlands. You tend to not think of what country an API is from, unless its attached to public infrastructure, or a company is extremely vocal about their home country. I confess that I couldn’t name a single API from Amsterdam before this week, but now I notice that Distimo, Drillster, ElasticSearch, Peerreach, and TwitterCounter were all out of the Netherlands, and were APIs I am already familiar with...

Finding Good API Developer Talent Is Hard

04 March 2014
The shortage of good API developer talent is something I see regularly, with the constant stream of job and project offers I get via email and LinkedIn. The first place companies and recruiters go when looking for API evangelists, developer evangelists, and API developers is apievangelist.com. I feel bad for some of the newbies I encounter, thinking they are going to easily find API talent. There just aren’t enough developers who demonstrate their API skills, and even fewer who strive to be API evangelists. With the growth of the space, this is increasingly a problem, something I think is beginning to turn around. I recently stumbled across a site called APIXChange which focused on delivering API developer talent, but has recently pivoted to become Workmob: Workmob WorkMob is a company built by freelance developers, for freelance developers...

Common Building Blocks Of API Design

04 March 2014
Over the last couple months I’ve been taking a deeper look at the API design space, trying to understand more about the tools and services that are emerging, and the different approaches being employed throughout the API design lifecycle. I started first with trying to understand the evolving motivations behind why people are using API definitions, then I spoke with API with the creators of API Blueprint, RAML and Swagger, the three leading API design providers out there, to understand more about the vision behind their various approaches to API design. After talking to each of the providers, I wanted to understand more about the tooling that was emerging from each of the providers: API Blueprint RAML Swagger While each of these providers have their own approach to defining APIs, and the API design lifecycle, after looking through what they offer, you start seeing patterns emerge...

API Evangelism Strategy: Landscape Analysis

04 March 2014
I’m working with the Cashtie API to pull together an API evangelism strategy for the payments API. As I pull together, it seems like a great opportunity to share with you. Who knows, maybe you can use some of the elements in your own API strategy. Next up is what I call "landscape analysis", which is about monitoring the blogs, and other social network activity of the sector(s) you are evangelizing your API within: Competition Monitoring - Evaluation of regular the activity of competitors, visiting their sites, and getting to know their customers. Industry Monitoring - Evaluation of relevant topics and trends of overall industry, industries that you are evangelizing within...

APIs At Your University

03 March 2014
I'm spending some time looking at how universities are using APIs across campus. I have been doing research in the area for a couple years, but I feel it is time that we generate more stories and blueprints, of how leading universities are putting them to use, so that the others can follow. Right now I'm tracking on: Brigham Young University Cambridge University Library Harvard University of British Columbia University of California Berkeley University of Michigan University of Warsaw University of Warwick University of Washington University of Waterloo York University Library Only University of Washington, University of Waterloo, University of Michigan, and UC Berkeley have formal API developer programs...

API Evangelists Are A Thoughtful Voice That Spreads Awareness And Encourages Participation

02 March 2014
I am preparing a job description for an API evangelist position at the Cashtie API, something I do for companies from time to time. When working on a new one, I go out and look at current API evangelist job positions, to see what is new and noteworthy since last time I did it. While doing this today, I came across a posting for API Evangelist at Akamai, and while reading, two lines really stood out: As an API Evangelist, you are a thoughtful voice that represents a new developer mode of interaction, both inside and outside the company. You will spread awareness of and encourage participation in our emerging API program to mold the future of our entire developer experience. Both of these lines reflect what any company should be looking for in their API evangelist...

API Design Tooling From RAML

01 March 2014
As part of my research in the world of API design, I’m looking into the different approaches by API Blueprint, RAML and Swagger, to provide API definitions, services and tools that assist developers in better designing APIs. I have already look at the evolving motivations behind API definitions, and some insight into the vision behind Swagger, API Blueprint and RAML, next up is taking a look at the tooling that is emerged around each approach. I began with a look at the tooling around Swagger, then I laid out what is offered around API Blueprint, from Apiary.io—next up, RAML which is developed by Mulesoft, and reflects the evolution of the API design space, making it much more attractive to the enterprise...

API Evangelism Strategy: Blogging

01 March 2014
I’m working with the Cashtie API to pull together an API evangelism strategy for the payments API. As I pull together, it seems like a great opportunity to share with you. Who knows, maybe you can use some of the elements in your own API strategy. Next up is blogging, an area I feel is the single most important part of your API evangelism strategy: Projects - Establishing of editorial assembly line of technical projects that can feed blog stories, how-tos, samples and code libraries. Stories - Writing, editing and posting of stories derived from projects, with SEO and API area support by design. Syndication - Syndication to Tumblr, Blogger and other relevant blogging sites that actually add value to readers, not being spammy...

Giving Thanks To The Open Source Software Gods

01 March 2014
I spend a lot of time thinking about the politics of APIs, which in my opinion is the soul of the API economy. There are numerous things that go into the politics of an API, including your terms of service (TOS), privacy policy all the way to sharing your security strategy and communicating with your developers. The politics of APIs is all about the balance you take in your API operations, and how open, public, secure, transparent, accessible, and real you are in your overall approach. The politics of an API can reveal a lot about the company behind the resource, and will play a big role in how successful an API will ultimately be with the developer community. Every once in a while I stumble across a new building block being used by a company, that I think is worthy of being added to my master list...

API Design Tooling From API Blueprint

27 February 2014
As part of my research in the world of API design, I’m looking into the different approaches by API Blueprint, RAML and Swagger, to provide API definitions, services and tools that assist developers in better designing APIs. I have already look at the evolving motivations behind API definitions, and some insight into the vision behind Swagger, API Blueprint and RAML, next up is taking a look at the tooling that is emerged around each approach. I began with a look at the tooling around Swagger, and next up is to look at API Blueprint, from Apiary.io, which is centered around a markdown based API definition language: API Blueprint - Apiary.io’s API definition language designed to allow anyone, not just developers to design APIs To put API Blueprint to use, Apiary provides a parser: Snowcrash - The API Blueprint parser built on top of the Sundown Markdown parser When it comes to tooling around API Blueprint, it is all about the Apiary...

APIs Coming Out Of The United Kingdom

27 February 2014
I was able to update my API monitoring system to include the location of some of the APIs, allowing me to look at APIs by country and region. In preparation for API Strategy & Practice in Amsterdam, I'm taking a closer look at what API innovation is coming out of Europe--first up the United Kindom. I knew about some of the APIs like Datasift and The Guardian, but I enjoyed learning about the other 35 API companies that I discovered. I was only able to find the location of about 700 of the over 2000 API companies that I track on, but will continue to update the rest of the APIs as I can.

API Evangelism Strategy: Developer Outreach

26 February 2014
I’m working with the Cashtie API to pull together an API evangelism strategy for the payments API. As I pull together, it seems like a great opportunity to share with you. Who knows, maybe you can use some of the elements in your own API strategy. Next up is developer engagement, and focusing on the ways you reach out to API consumers. You don’t need to describe every way you are going to engage with developers, but you should make sure and pick a handful of channels and stick with them, regularly reaching out to developers, providing a communication platform they can depend on. There are some proven approaches to developer outreach: Fresh Engagement - Emailing new developers who have registered to see what their immediate needs are, while their registration is fresh in their minds Active User Engagement - Reaching out to existing, active users of an API and find out what they need...

Payment APIs That I Am Watching

26 February 2014
I'm taking a look at the world of payment APIs right now. As with all my other monitoring of the API space, I am only looking for the best approaches, by the most interesting companies in the space--I don't have time to track on everything,  I am looking to take a snapshot of the payment API space, understand who the key players are, and how they are delivering valuable payment API resources that developers are actually using. So far I am tracking on 34 separate payment APis:

An API To Make Your Products and Services Available At Walmart, Target and CVS?

25 February 2014
It can be pretty difficult to explain exactly what an API does to the average person. Some people think of APIs being associated with databases, where others think they are always attached to online applications like Facebook or Twitter. Then there are so many types of APIs, where do you start, when someone asks what is an API? To help people understand APIs, it is best to move away from the technical explanation and get closer to the actual problem being solved by your API. Example, a new API I’m working with called the Cashtie API lets you generate barcodes that can be scanned from mobile phones at the point of sale (POS) systems at major retailers—a technical explanation Let’s talk about a problem...

API Design Tooling From Swagger

25 February 2014
As part of my research in the world of API design, I’m looking into the different approaches by API Blueprint, RAML and Swagger, to provide API definitions, services and tools that assist developers in better designing APIs. I have already look at the evolving motivations behind API definitions, and some insight into the vision behind Swagger, API Blueprint and RAML, next up is take a look at the tooling that is evolving around each approach. First up is Swagger, from the folks over at Wordnik. I would consider Swagger the first mover in this new world of API design, with the Wordnik team’s approach centered around a JSON based API definition: Swagger Core - A JSON based API definition format, which allows for the description of REST APIs Around the Swagger core the Wordnik team developed a core set of tooling that met their immediate needs for the Wordnik API: Swagger CodeGen - A template-driven engine to generate client code in different languages by parsing a Swagger Core definition Swagger UI - A dependency-free collection of HTML, Javascript, and CSS assets that dynamically generate beautiful documentation from a Swagger defined API Secondarily other more specific tools have emerged: Swagger JS - Javascript library to connect to swagger-enabled APIs via browser or nodejs Swagger Node Express - Swagger module for node...

Showcasing When You Use Your Own API

24 February 2014
While looking through hundreds of blogs from API providers, one practice that I’m seeing more of is companies showcasing their own use of their API. Some of you may think this is obvious, but I think a lot of companies are using their own API and never tell the story about how they are using their own services—I mean if your API is so great, demonstrate to people why it is so kick ass. Don’t just say dumb shit like we eat our own dog food, show us how, where and why you use it. Prove to us that you use the same APIs that you are delivering to external developers. Are you using to drive your website? mobile devices? partner integrations? Let us know the details about how it was designed, deployed and the challenges you face in not just managing but also integrating it with your apps...

Landscape Targeting: Payment APIs

24 February 2014
When I want to understand a business sector as part of my overall analysis, or part of a specific API strategy, I kick off what I call a “landscape targeting” campaign. This time around I am interested in better understanding the the landscape of the payment API space. Every landscape targeting campaign begins with some Googling of the top key phrase, which this time is "payment API". From this I manually build a list of key players in the payment API space. My goal is to not build a complete list, but a list of the players doing it well—screw the rest. I only have time to target the best approaches, and in the payment space I find roughly 35 players, which I will publish later...

#APIStrat Is Where The Key API Conversations Are Happening

24 February 2014
I’m working with Phil Legetter (@leggetter) to put together a panel at API Strategy & Practice in Amsterdam on APIs and realtime, and as I’m working to bring together the leaders from the space together, I can’t help but think of past APIStrat panels. At APIStrat we are looking to pull together the leaders from different business sectors and have a conversation on where we are, and where things are going with trends like API aggregation, automation, design, BaaS and realtime. At APIStrat, NYC 203 we brought together the leaders from the backend as a service (BaaS) space, including 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, resulting in a pretty interesting discuss about what is BaaS, and the future of the fast growing trend in using APIs for mobile development...

The Importance Of A Government API Phase

24 February 2014
I’m stepping back and trying to understand more about where we are at in the history of APIs. Looking at the API space in terms of our past, provides me with a healthier understanding of where we are currently, and where things are possibly headed. I tend to not get blinded by the shiny new technology that surrounds us, hopefuly allowing me to see a bigger picture. I just wrote about how I feel we are in what I would call the enterprise phase of APIs, where large companies, not just tech startups are seeing the benefit of web APIs. I think there will still be lots of innovation from startups, but to take the API economy to the level, where it is truly part of the global economy, the enterprise has to get on the train...

API Evangelism Strategy: Goals

24 February 2014
I’m working with the Cashtie API to pull together API evangelism strategy for the payments API. As I pull together it seems like a great opportunity to share with you. Who knows, maybe you can use some of the elements in your own API strategy. First up, is goals. What are the goals of your API initiative? Increase Awareness of API Program - The number one priority for any API, increase awareness that you even exist! Growth in New Users - Everyone wants new registrations for the API--it s a great goal, but don’t get too caught up in just acquiring new users. Growth in Existing User API Usage - How do we encourage existing users to consume more, be more successful in using API resources...

Streaming API Strategy & Practice Around The Globe

17 February 2014
At API Strategy & Practice in San Francisco last October, we streamed the event online. We are considering doing this again for #APIStrat in Amsterdam this March 26-28th. We had an inquiry from Australia, asking whether or not we planned to do this for Amsterdam, and they wanted to stream some of the event as part of their local API meetup--what a great idea! So we wanted to put out the word and see if there are other API meetup groups that were interested in doing the same thing in their local area. If you are interested in streaming the event go ahead and ping me on Twitter @kinlane or email me at [email protected]. If we get enough groups signed up, we’ll make sure the stream is available for Amsterdam...

What Is The Next Phase Of APIs?

17 February 2014
I've been polishing my version of the history of web APIs since I started API Evangelist. Through my research it became clear that the world of web APIs had evolved through several key phases that have gotten us to where we are at, and were essential in making the API economy a viable opportunity. So far my history tracks on 5 key phases: Commerce - The first wave of web apis came from commerce pioneers like Salesforce, eBay and Amazon deploying APIs to make commerce more distributed. Social - Early pioneers like Flickr, Delicious, Facebook and Twitter have made the Internet social by default using web APIs. Business - As APIs evolved API management providers like Mashery, 3Scale and Apigee have standardized the business approach of leading APIs, delivering tools and services that other API providers can put to use...

Jumpstarting The API Conversation Using Prototypes

14 February 2014
For those of us who live and breathe APIs, it is easy to image what is possible when discussing an idea for an API, or what an API could to to transform an existing process or application—however for everyone else will often need something more to help them understand what is possible. Often times it is these folks who are the decision makers behind whether an API will live or die, so it is critical to help them get up to speed. In my experience there is no better way to jumpstart the conversation about what is possible around an API, than to just build a prototype, flushing out all aspect around an API resource. This is just what I recently did around the free financial student aid form, from the Department of Education...

What Is The Future Of Backend As A Service (BaaS)?

14 February 2014
I’ve been tracking on BaaS since 2011, and identified it was an important layer of the API space, dedicated to serving up the resources that mobile developers were needing to be successful. BaaS is all about creating meaningful stacks of API driven resources, allowing developers to build on top of a single backend, and not have to assemble their own from disparate open source tools, cloud service and individual API providers. During 2012 I saw the momentum picking up around BaaS and made sure I included it in my monitoring of the API space, resulting in a BaaS white paper, which I will be updating for 2014 to include recent shifts towards the enterprise. In February 2013, 3Scale and API Evangelist also 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 at API Strategy & Practice in NYC—resulting in a pretty heated exchange between Ilya and Tye, which is ironic since these were the two acquisitions we saw in 2013 (which I alluded to at the closing of the panel, but you will have to watch for yourself)...

The Schedule Is Up For API Strategy & Practice in Amsterdam

13 February 2014
The lineup is coming together for API Strategy & Practice in Amsterdam, and you can find the schedule for the two days of keynotes, fireside chats, panels and sessions publish on the #APIStrat website. Keynotes from Rackspace, Twitter, Runscope, and Absolut Vodka. Fireside with Tyler Singletary from Klout, Gordon Hollingworth of Software at Raspberry Pi, and Adam Duvander of SendGrid--with sessions on hypermedia, scalability, discovery, design and much, much more. After successful events in New York City, and San Francisco, the momentum to Amsterdam is pretty exciting. 3Scale and I are thoroughly enjoying putting together the schedule which came together really fast, leaving us having to make some hard decisions on which talks to include, and which ones we had to decline...

CVS And The Role Of APIs In The New Retail Healthcare Landscape

13 February 2014
At the same time I am processing the move by CVS to stop selling tobacco products in their over 7,600 retailsstores, making a commitment to being more retail healthcare, rather than just a corner drugstore—I am also wrapping my head around potential strategy and opportunities for the Cashtie API which opens up the ability for mobile developers to accept cash payments at CVS retail locations. I think CVS’s commitment to their healthcare mission, by itself is a pretty significant move towards reinventing themselves, but adding to the news, the White House just announced that CVS was onboard to work with standardizing patient prescription information as part of the Blue Button initiative, which works to give citizens control over their healthcare data—further defining CVS as more than just a corner drugstore...

Do US Government Web APIs Require System Interconnectivity Agreements?

13 February 2014
I'm been so busy with work lately, I haven't been able to maintain my usual rhythm of blog posts on API Evangelist. The good news is I'm doing some interesting work that I'm able to pull stories from. This post is from a forum post I made on the US Government API forum i frequent, which has some very interesting conversations about APIs in the federal government. In a recent post from Brian over at DC3 (Defense Cyber Crime Center), an interesting question was asked: Do US Government Web APIs Require System Interconnectivity Agreements? I will let you visit the conversation and see more detail around his question, as well as some of the other responses, but here were some of my thoughts: Web / http APIs do not fit earlier definitions of “system interconnectivity agreements”, which represents the technical and fundamental shift between network connections, SOAP APIs and this new world of web APIs...

Google Hangouts For Bringing Your API Developer Team Out Of Their Silo

12 February 2014
I did a Google Hangout with the Cashtie API development team this morning, which I thought was an interesting enough format to share with all of you. The Cashtie API team is a distributed team, between the corporate headquarters in Atlanta, Ukraine and Brazil. I’m working on ways to help Cashtie with their API strategy, and wanted to get to know the team—what better way than using Google Hangout. While the call started with an introduction to the team, my goal was to spend some time walking through the Cashtie API with them, showing what I see, as a newbie to the developer area. Since I am a developer, I know how easy it is to be too close to the code, and you can miss some obvious things that may confuse API developers you are targeting...

The Power of API Driven Resources In Securing Your VC Funding

08 February 2014
In the days before the Internet when you had access to a valuable business resource, you kept it to yourself as long as you possibly can, hoping to maximize the potential to your business, and limiting other businesses access to the same resource--if possible you secured some sort of exclusive deal. In the age of the Internet, APIs have democratized access to extremely valuable resources, making them available to developers and businesses of all shapes and sizes. Resources like mapping from Google Maps, compute power from Amazon, and deployment of of phone numbers around the globe using Twilio, do not take millions of dollars and the negotiations of big deals, they are all accessible to anyone via web APIs...

Don't Be Afraid To Ask Your API Developers What They Want

06 February 2014
While it may seem obvious that you should ask your API developers what they want, many times this is a simple task that can get lost in the shuffle of API deployment and management. API Evangelist is all about sharing, simple stories that keep API providers informed of the best practices of API management—today's story comes from big data platform Splunk. Splunk is actively soliciting ideas from developers on where they think Splunk should take the platform, asking questions like, should we invest in SDKs for mobile devices like IOS and Android, and should we be adding a new kind of charting to the web framework? To solicit the feedback, Splunk isn’t getting fancy, they just deployed a feedback area using UserVoice—allowing developers to submit their own ideas, and vote up the ideas of other developers...

APIs Are About Iterating On Not Just The Tech, But Also The Business and Politics Of Your API

06 February 2014
I’ve been reviewing the recently released Marvel Comic API, because I’m a comic book geek, wait no, because I’m the API Evangelist—no wait it is both. Properly reviewing an API takes time because you need to spend time in the developers area, and actually go through the motions of hacking on an API. So far I’ve registered, spent about 15 minutes looking around the documentation, and wrote a post on their getting started page. My friend Andreas Krohn (@andreaskrohn) started by first reviewing the Marvel Comics API terms of use, which is the first thing any savvy developer should do, and he wrote up a great blogs post called, The Marvel API - a case study in how to not respect developers...

Meaningful Stories Across The API Space

06 February 2014
In 2010 I made a deal with my girlfriend Audrey Watters (@audreywatters), I’d run the server infrastructure behind her blog Hack Education, and she’d help me polish my storytelling on API Evangelist. Audrey studied folklore and storytelling as part of her masters degree, and I saw that the API space was desperately in need of some meaningful storytelling to help the fast growing space find its future—a perfect partnership! The API space is full of conversations (and arguments) about the technological building blocks of the space, and saturated with pitches for the products and services across the industry, but the sector is often deficient in stories that help newbies understand APIs, and veterans grasp the big picture of where we are going...

Essential Variable in Big Data Algorithm: Transparency

05 February 2014
It is easy to get excited about the potential around “big data”. Many individuals and companies feel this latest trend is all about offering up big data solutions with business models that are built around algorithms, that founders consider their “secret sauce”. I don't have a problem with this, more power to you, however I personally feel big data solutions, especially those within government should be more transparent than many of the secret sauce, big data approaches we’ve seen to date. Alex Howard (@digiphile) has a great post at TechRepublic, called data-driven policy and commerce requires algorithmic transparency, which outlines this very well. Alex uses the the phrase "algorithmic accountability”, which I think sums all of this up very nicely...

The Challenge Of Educating New People To The API Space

05 February 2014
One of my biggest challenges at API Evangelist is keeping content accessible for people who have just come into the API space. The most successful aspect of my site is the blog, and while I try to keep all my writing targeted outside the developer community, it can be a lot of work to jump in and get up to speed on posts that are chronological. It is really important to me, that people who are just learning about the space, or weekend API warriors can find the best resources across the space, not just on my blog—this is why I’m super stoked about the new site from 3Scale called API Alchemy. API Alchemy is looking to curate the best of resources from the API space, providing curated links and commentary and access to the most influential authors across the world of APIs, in an easy to discover format...

Github As The Central Presence, Definition, Configuration, And Source Code For Your API

05 February 2014
It is easy to think of Github as a central repository for your open source code—most developers understand that. I have written before about the many ways to use Github as part of your API management strategy, but in the last few months I'm really seeing Github playing more of a central role in the overall lifecycle of an API. API Presence Github Pages provides a very simple way for API providers to deploy public or private portals that can be a simple or elaborate doorway for developers to learn about and engage with APIs. A company can potentially have a single or multiple API portals, targeting a variety of potential consumers. You don't need a special website for your API anymore, just fire up a Github Page and get publishing the relevant building blocks your consumers will need...

Deploy Instances Of APIs At Heroku Or PaaS Of Your Choice

05 February 2014
I wrote about the interesting approach by Plivo the other day around their Voice Chat API, in which one thing they did really caught my eye, and reflects what I think is the future of APIs—the deployment of the API to Heroku. This type of very modular, cloud deployment of fine grain APIs is something that I’ve blogged about recently in Modular APIs Driven From Github Blueprints Using OpenShift, Server Side API Templates On AWS Cloud Formation And OpenShift, and Caching APIs With CloudFormations Or OpenShift. As part of the Voice Chat API, Plivo allows you to deploy an instance of the open source audio conference API to your own Heroku account. This is an interesting way to empower developers to deploy API resources, allowing them to allocate them within their preferred cloud environment, whether it is Heroku, Amazon, OpenShift from Redhat, or any other provider...

A Simple, Honest Approach to Getting Started With The Marvel Comics API

01 February 2014
I’m currently reviewing the Marvel Comics API, and their approach to making their rich content available via a simple web API. They did a great job deploying the API. To start with they published very simple and honest getting started steps: Sign Up - Get an API key Be A Good API Citizen - Read, understand, and abide by the terms of use for the Marvel Comics API Link Back - Observe the attribution and linking guidelines when displaying data from the API Keep In Touch - Tell us about what you're building and talk to other developers on our community page Build Cool Stuff! I like their style. As a building block, getting started pages are pretty important, yet most API providers provide very dry, technical steps for on-boarding with an API—if at all...

The Voice Chat API Is Great Example Of An Simple, Open, API Driven Resource

01 February 2014
A free, open-source, API driven conference solution called Voice Chat API popped up on my API monitoring radar today, as I was going through my feeds. The Voice Chat API is a very cool, dead-simple conferencing solution. As a tool it provides clear value, and I really like the approach from Plivo to rollout out an open, API driven resource like this—a model that could be applied to other valuable resources. What really stands out is the Voice Chat API does one thing and does it well—audio conferences. It is easy to tell what it does. We aren't having to convince users of a problem, then sell them on a solution. The problem is clear, the solution is simple. Open Source The Voice Chat API is open source and available on Github, built using "Plivo WebSDK and APIs”...

Why Guest Posting Has Gotten A Bad Rap

31 January 2014
As a proprietor of a small, successful niche blog, I can easily share some insight into why Google recently started punishing blogs that have guest posts. At API Evangelist I get about two offers a week from random companies and individuals asking to guest post on my blog. These people cite several reasons for wanting to do it, ranging from me helping them as an aspiring blogger, to them helping me with more content and traffic. If you know me, you know I don't have a problem producing content, and I do not blog because I give a shit about pageviews. In addition to these smaller, much frequent requests for guest posting. I also get the occasional bigger company looking to “partner” with me, when in reality they have no desire to partner and generate value for my readers, or move my research forward...

Will API Definitions Be Big in 2014?

31 January 2014
I'm a big fan of Traffic and Weather, where in a recent episode John Sheehan (@johnsheehan) definitively answers the questions of "weather" or not API definitions will be a big thing 2014? We can always count on John and Steve to clear things up! Make sure and head over to Traffic and Weather and tune in for the latest in commentary from the API space.

10 API Commandments for Providers

31 January 2014
I was having one of my regular Google Hangouts with the OG API Evangelist John Musser (@johnmusser) the other day as I was flying back from east coast, and he made a comment about my classic API Evangelist drawing, and said I should write the ten commandments of APIs. At first I thought, not my style, but on second thought, what the hell. Here they are: Deliver Value - Generate value for consumers, without value APIs mean nothing. Provide Documentation - Provide clean, simple, up to date API documentation for users. Code Libraries - Deliver code sample, libraries, SDKs, or starter projects in a variety of languages. Provide Support - If you don’t support your APIs, your efforts won’t be sustainable...

The Vision Behind Swagger, API Blueprint and RAML

31 January 2014
I am working through some deeper research into the world of API design, and specifically into the world of API definitions. This research involves talking to each of the leading providers, crafting a series of stories along the way, resulting in a white paper that provides an overview of the space and possibly where things are going. During my conversations with Tony Tam (@fehguy) of Wordnik, creator of Swagger, Jakub Nesetril (@jakubnesetril) and Z (@zdne) of Apiary, creators of API Blueprint, and Uri Sarid (@usarid) of Mulesoft, creators of RAML, I asked a simple question: What is the vision behind your API definition format? Resulting in a little insight behind each approach: Swagger - The vision behind Swagger was not to make a company or to get people to use our service, it was strictly to solve a workflow problem...

What Will It Take To Sell My API AS A Wholesale Resource

30 January 2014
I'm continuing my exploration of the possibilities of offering up a wholesale version of an API resource. While wholesale is not an option for all types of APIs, there are a subset of APIs that are more utility in nature and would lend themselves nicely to being sold wholesale to other API providers. I want to better understand the nuts and bolts of what it will take to offer up APIs in this way, and for this exercise I’m going to explore providing my recent screenshot API as a wholesale API that other API providers could resale alongside their own resources. An API provider could have their own news, content or other resources, and decide it would be more cost effective to resell my screen capture API, rather than design, deploy and provide their own...

Workshops In Addition To Hackathons For Your API

28 January 2014
I recently talked with the AT&T API team about their recent Sabre partnership, which I thought was a pretty interesting approach to evolving your API strategy, by leveraging your partners. As we discussed the overall AT&T API strategy and their approach to partnering, we also discussed the evolution to their hackathon strategy and how they've added workshops to their event toolbox. While AT&T is very much committed to having hackathons, they didn't always deliver the understanding and feedback around their APIs that they were looking for and decided to develop a workshop format around their developer programs. A workshop is about sitting a group of developers down in a room, provide them with workbooks and other structured content, as well as more direct engagement with the AT&T API team...

Why Is The Noun Project API Significant?

27 January 2014
The Noun Project recently launched their API, and after getting off the phone just now with a publication, I looked to see if I had written it up—I hadn’t. I had a lot of thoughts in an Evernote, but I had not really shared my thoughts on why I think The Noun Project API is significant. If you hadn’t noticed, I use The Noun Project a lot across the API Evangelist Network. Not all of my images are directly from The Noun Project, but they reflect they same general approach. I use The Noun Project for two main reasons: On-boarding Users With Abstract Concepts - It can be hard to convey the often abstract concepts around APIs, and a single, concise image really goes a long way in bringing a user quickly up to speed with what I’m talking about...

Accepting Cash Payments As Part Of Your Web or Mobile Apps Using The Cashtie API

27 January 2014
I’m working with a very interesting new API offering from the retail focused InComm, dubbed the Cashtie API. Over the last two decades InComm has worked hard to build relationships with major retailers, resulting in a very hard to establish presence at the cash register of major retailers like Walmart, Target and CVS. InComm’s new Cashtie API opens up access to retailers point of sale (POS) systems, allowing any approved developer to sell online goods to consumers at these high value retail locations—opening up the possibility for web and mobile applications to accept cash payments for virtual goods, services and utilities at top retailers. InComm is the company behind gift card activation solutions for all those major gift cards you see everywhere, and digital barcode solutions that we are getting familiar with when purchasing physical goods like a coffee at Starbucks, but the Cashtie is pushing commerce into an entirely new realm...

Selling Your Digital Goods In Amazon.com Where Amazon Uses Your API To Purchase

26 January 2014
Amazon has an interesting new service called Instant Access, which follows a trend I’m seeing in commerce, that allows the sales of digital goods, not just in-app like Amazon’s In-App Purchasing does, but let’s you sell your digital wares on Amazon.com. This new service allows you to list and sell your digital goods on Amazon.com, just like the physical goods you normally associate with Amazon. This opens up your digital products to the heavy traffic of Amazon.com, as well as the other perks like discoverability, reviews, and the payment systems that the Amazon platform enables. Amazon Instant Access connects customer’s profiles with your application profiles, and triggers digital products sales in your system, using your API...

Controlling The Internet of Things With Your Voice

25 January 2014
Saturday afternoons are great for closing out tabs I’ve had open all week, and the theme this Saturday is APIs and the Internet of Things. This time it is about controlling your Internet of Things using voice the Thingspeak Talkback API and the Arduino Yún, which seems to be the darling of API to Internet of Things projects. The Thingspeak Talkback API allows for the adding, updating, deleting and executing of voice commands. It acts as a middleware for the Arduino Yún, allowing IoT devices to to be able to check for commands that need executing—providing an API driven queue of voice commands for all of the Internet connected devices in your life. As the cost of connecting everyday objects to the Internet gets easier and cheaper, it is fascinating to see the different approaches that providers take to connect these objects to the web...

Sharing Stories From Your API Operations

25 January 2014
I’ve done 3 stories over the last week about the Panoptix API from Johnson Controls (JCI). I try to regularly check in with the John Bernd (@jkbernd) and Simone Vigano (@viganosimone)  of the Panoptix API team, and see what they are up to in the world of building efficiency APIs. What make this possible is their willingness to share stories, trust in me that I’m going to tell these stories in the best possible light, but also no fear of what people think of their approach. John and Simone share my humble view, that we are all just figuring this shit out as we go along. Of course it is based upon experience, and both sensible strategical and tactical execution, but in the grand scheme of things, there is no single master plan for success...

Interoperability Between Web and Internet Of Things Opening Up To Non-Developers

25 January 2014
One of the areas I track on is what I call the API reciprocity space, which is all about interoperability between platforms, but I label it reciprocity as an attempt to capture that it isn’t just about old school Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL) of the old days—today it is about ETL in the cloud, plus adhering to the intent of not just platforms, but the users interest as well. When thinking of API reciprocity, think If This Then That (IFTTT), Zapier and Temboo. I’ve been watching Temboo evolve with their API driven, platform to platform solutions, but I’m really interested in there latest moves to support web platforms to the Internet of Things using the Arduino platform, specifically using the Arduino Yún micro controller board...

Opening Up Internal Opportunities Because You Have An API

24 January 2014
Some of the best stories I hear as the API Evangelist, are the internal success stories around API efforts. Everyone wants to be the next Twilio success story with their API, but in reality the API use cases that will make the biggest impact, will be the ones within your own organization. In my story queue I have two stories coming from very different API efforts, but they both have a similar theme regarding APIs starting conversation internally—something that couldn’t have occurred, if they didn’t already have APIs. Johnson Controls (JCI) / Panoptix While talking with the Panoptix team last week, they told me about making the rounds within JCI to talk APIs and strategy with other groups, and how they were surprised to learn that another group within JCI not only had heard of the Panoptix API, they had already integrated with it...

Work With Your Partners To Iterate On Your APIs

24 January 2014
I received a press release from AT&T last week, about a new partnership with Sabre to develop what is called location information services (LIS). Ben Kepes has a good summary of the partnership over at Forbes, so I won't add my own analysis of what the partnership means. After speaking with the AT&T team today, and I’d prefer to focus on the importance of partnerships when developing your own APIs--sharing AT&T's wisdom with my audience When listening to Laura Merling and Chris Aron of AT&T talk about the Sabre partnership, I couldn't help but think about the importance of working with trusted partners, in developing your valuable API resources. In the open API world, many companies open themselves up to iterating on API resources with a large group of public developers, a process that can make your API strategy feel very schizophrenic—in contrast making designing, developing and iterating on API design in closed environment with trusted partners much more, well sane...

Is The Golden Age Of Google Maps API Over?

23 January 2014
According to Keir Clark over at Google Maps Mania, we are seeing The Slow Death of the Google Maps API. Who else could read the tea leaves, when it comes to an API, than a blogger who is dedicated to covering the innovation that comes out of a single API ecosystem. Clark has noticed that "there seems little sign of the Google Maps API team returning from their two year vacation”, and "at the same time the MapBox team has continued to innovate and has now become the maps API of choice for most developers”. While nobody knows the reasons Google Maps has stopped innovating (except Google), it is clear that you can’t stop delivering value to developers, or they will migrate elsewhere to find the API resources they need for their applications—it doesn’t matter if you are Google, or any other tech giant...

The Evolving Motivations Behind API Definitions

22 January 2014
I’m spending more time diving into the evolving world of API design over the next couple of weeks. There is a rapidly emerging community of companies, tooling and approaches to designing and developing APIs, that is centered around API definition languages. Languages for defining web services have been around for a while, with Web Application Description Language (WADL), which was born out of the SOAP WSDL era, representing very technical approach to describing this new world of web APIs. While WADL is still in use, it hasn’t seen the adoption many envisioned. It wasn’t until recently that we’ve seen new approaches emerge, and get traction, with JSON based API definitions like Swagger from Wordnik, and I/O Docs from Mashery...

Standard Energy Efficiency Data APIs For Buildings

21 January 2014
The team over at Panoptix turned me on to the the Standard Energy Efficiency Data (SEED) platform being developed over at the Department of Energy, which aims to be an API for collecting, storing and analyzing building energy performance data. It appears that DOE is looking to develop open source software that state and local governments can use to manage energy efficiency across their buildings. I like the approach to develop an open source, API driven platform that can set the tone for how data can be collected, managed, and shared. I think this is a great way to lead in an industry, and bring together not just government entities but other private sector players. SEED is something I’d love to see work, and an API design I’d love to see in the API Commons...

I Am In Philly This Friday Speaking On Openness, Should We Create a More Transparent World, At The Franklin Institue

21 January 2014
I'm heading to Philly this week, to participate in a panel on Openness: Should We Create a More Transparent World, at the Franklin Institute, as part of EduCon. The panel will run from 6-8PM, and include: Jaime Casap (@jcasap), Global Education Evangelist at Google Sunny Lee (@soletelee), Project Lead, Mozilla Open Badges Homa S. Tavangar (@growingupglobal), Author of Growing Up Global: Raising Children to be at Home in the World David Wiley (@opencontent), Co-Founder of Lumen Learning The conversation will be centered around education, as it is part of Educon, which is focused on discussing the future of schools. I like participating in panels like this, as it sheds new light on what open really is--not just the tech, but business and politics, in one of the most important aspects of our economy...

Does Your API Have An Account Usage API For Developers?

21 January 2014
I was playing with the Noun Project API today. If you hadn’t noticed, I use the Noun Project throughout the API Evangelist network. The simple, black and white icons work very well with my minimalistic look, and help me convey some very abstract API concepts. As I was reviewing the Noun Project API, looking at what resources are available via their API endpoints, I noticed a /usage endpoint, which lets you understand your API usage, as well as the rate limits for your API access level. This isn’t revolutionary, its something I've seen on other APIs, but it is an important resource I think many API owners overlook. Providing an API usage endpoint by default for all APIs makes sense...

A World Where Every Camera Is Connected To The Internet Via APIs

21 January 2014
I look at a lot of APIs--some are crap, some make sense, a few are interesting, and every great once in a while you see an API that you know will be one of the next big API platforms. I’m reviewing one such API, Evercam.io. I know that Evercam.io will be be big, because it bridges an increasingly ubiquitous technology—the camera. Whether its its for home or commercial usage, Internet connected cameras represents low hanging fruit for applying proven API techniques. Evercam.io was born out of experience working at a cloud CCTV company, where the Evercam team realized the opportunity was about becoming a developer platform that enabled any developer to interact with potentially hundreds of types of cameras, while also applying modern API techniques to the world of security and webcams...

More Meaningful, Niche API Hubs

20 January 2014
Right now when it comes to API discovery you have the OG ProgrammableWeb, and newcomers Mashape and APIHub (which also owns ProgrammableWeb). All three of these sites provide you with a large directory of APIs you can search and browse at, when looking for APIs. I pull new APIs from all these sources, in hopes of staying in tune with what is out there. However, I have a different approach to my API database of APIs. I only keep track of the best APIs I see. I'm not concerned with every API available, I’m interested in the best approaches to APIs. I’m hoping in 2014 that we'll see more niche API hubs emerge, that specialize in specific areas like government, finance, photos, video and other specific areas that developers would be specifically interested in--allowing domain experts to step in and help guide us...

JCI & Panoptix APIs: Write APIs Are Much Harder Than Read APIs

20 January 2014
When I last talked with the Panoptix API team over at Johnson Controls (JCI), they were working hard on new features, including the possibility of writing data to the building efficiency API(s). A year later, I wanted to see where the team was at with their API efforts and was intrigued to learn that their work to make their API writable hadn’t gone exactly as they had planned. On the surface it sounds like an easy task. You can pull data from an API, now using POST, PUT and DELETE you should be able to write data back into the system. Easier said than done, says John Bernd (@jkbernd) and Simone Vigano (@viganosimone)  of the Panoptix API team. First you have all the technical issues around data storage, indexing, accessibility and the usual problems you face with managing lots of data...

Are Device Based APIs Where It Is At?

19 January 2014
Just exactly what an API is, is always up for debate. APIs have been around since before the Internet. API Evangelist focuses in on what I call web APIs, that were built using the same technology as websites, and were made even popular for delivering valuable data and resources to mobile phones. While there are device APIs on phones, that give you access to resources like the camera or microphone, web APIs are the choice of developers when it comes to delivering popular cloud based resources like friends, photos and video to mobile apps. Web APIs, are using the Internet to deliver common resources that websites, web and mobile apps need to operate. With the dominance of mobile devices, and the emergence of the Internet of things, we are now seeing APIs that move beyond just this general approach, and focusing on delivering resources tailored to specific devices, or device groups...

The API Between Us And Everything

18 January 2014
I was doing some research on a video camera API platform that I'm keeping an eye on, and Google, Nest and the $3.2 Billion API by Roberto Medrano of SOA Software popped up in my curation system. The Nest is currently the best known example of APIs being placed in between us, and everyday objects in our lives. The enhanced objects, and the applications that emerge are the obvious value, that end users see, however as Robert says: These decisions will be strategic business and financial ones, but they will all be enabled by the use of APIs. Without the API involved, the work required to connect products such as Google and Nest would be too complicated or costly. When I think about devices like the Nest, in our homes, the obsessive compulsive geek in me gets excited for the potential of such a platform...

JCI & Panoptix Internal Evangelism: Selling Not Just The API, But The Overall Approach Internally

17 January 2014
I just had a great conversion with John Bernd (@jkbernd) and Simone Vigano (@viganosimone) of Johnson Controls (JCI), who lead efforts at the building efficiency API, Panoptix. They shared several great stories with me, I’ll trickle out over the next week, with the first one about internal evangelism. Internal evangelism, whether your API is public or private, is something I’ve advocated for pretty heavily over the last few years. Lack of internal evangelism around an API can be the number on reason you get your API defunded within any size organization. Basically if the rest of the company, included your bosses , don’t know about your API and the success you’ve had, your done...

An API Design Discussion With API Blueprint, RAML And Swagger Creators

17 January 2014
REST head Glenn Block (@gblock) over at Splunk asked a simple question on Twitter Wednesday night, Who is using Swagger? I responded, kicking off a conversation that a day later included Tony Tam (@fehguy) of Swagger, Uri Sarid (@usarid) of RAML, and Jakub Nesetril (@jakubnesetril) of API Blueprint. After the fact, the conversation may be a little unwieldy to follow, but it contains enough insight and nuggets of information, I feel its worth publishing and hopefully continuing in other formats. The conversation began on Twitter:

What Is Your API Content Licensing Default?

16 January 2014
I was taking another look at the Makerbot Thingiverse API the other day, and was very pleased with their developer area overhaul. One feature I noticed when playing with my account settings, was the ability to set the default licensing for my "things". Interestingly this is a feature you don't see in many SaaS apps, let alone as part of API developer settings. I remember first seeing this in my Flickr account settings, and is something I wish I’d see it in every platform I use (keep dream'n buddy). When it comes to user generated content via APIs, this licensing is kind of a big deal. It decides as a user and developer, who ultimately owns the exhaust from your work or just from your daily online world...

API Design: Do You Swagger, Blueprint or RAML?

16 January 2014
I’m spending the next couple weeks going through each of the leading API design approaches: API Blueprint, RAML and Swagger. Even though I still personally use Swagger in my own work, I’m pushing myself to learn API Blueprint and RAML to better understand the landscape, as well as the pros and cons of each approach. If you aren’t familiar with this emerging trends in API design, they are approaches to defining your APIs either using JSON or a markdown language, which allows you to quantify and describe the API interfaces and underlying data models in a way that allows you to communicate with others, generate mock or production APIs, interactive documentation, code samples and potentially other tooling that will help you be successful in your API initiatives...

What Are The Common Building Blocks of API Integration?

16 January 2014
I started API Evangelist in 2010 to help business leaders better understand not just the technical, but specifically the business of APIs, helping them be successful in their own API efforts. As part of these efforts I track on what I consider the building blocks of API management. In 2014 I'm also researching what the building blocks are in other areas of the API world, including API design, deployment, discovery and integration. After taking a quick glance at the fast growing world of API integration tools and services, I've found the following building blocks emerging: Pain Point Monitoring Documentation Monitoring - Keeping track of changes to an APIs documentation, alerting you to potential changes in valuable developer API documentation for single or many APIs Pricing Monitoring - Notifications when an API platform's pricing changes, which might trigger switching services or at least staying in tune with the landscape of what is being offered Terms of Use Monitoring - Updates when a company changes the terms of service for a particular platform and providing historical versions for comparison Authentication oAuth Integration - Provides oAuth integration for developers, to one or many API providers, and potentially offering oAuth listing for API providers Provider / Key Management - Management of multiple API platform providers, providing a secure interface for managing keys and tokens for common API services Integration Touch Points API Debugging - Identifying of API errors and assistance in debugging API integration touch points API Explorer - Allowing the interactive exploring of API providers registered with the platform, making calls and interacting and capturing API responses API Feature Testing - The configuring and testing of specific features and configurations, providing precise testing tools for any potential use API Load Testing - Testing, with added benefit of making sure an API will actually perform under a heavy load API Monitoring - Actively monitoring registered API endpoints, allowing real-time oversight of important API integrations endpoints that applications depend on API Request Actions API Request Automation - Introducing other types of automation for individual, captured API requests like looping, conditional responses, etc...

Makerbot Terms of Use in Plain English

14 January 2014
API Terms of Use is the single most important building block of any ecosystem, yet it is the least discussed area of API management and integration. I’m working hard to dedicated more time in 2014 to not just the area of API TOS, but what I consider to be the politics of APIs. Today’s focus is on making a plain english translation of your terms of service available. I came across a great example over at Makerbot Thingiverse today, where they add: We realize Terms of Service can be confusing and, quite frankly, a snooze- fest; however, they are very important in explaining the basis of what we, the Company, expect of you, the User, while on this Site and how this interaction plays out...

Take Another Look At The Thingiverse 3D Printing Community API

14 January 2014
Have you taken a look at the Thingiverse developer area lately? It’s been a while since I reviewed it. A couple years ago while working at Mimeo as an API evangelist I had the pleasure of doing some deep research into not just printing APIs, but 3D printing APIs as well. I wrote a lot on the subject, but overall I was unhappy with what was available in the areas of 3D printing APIs. When you go to the Thingiverse API now, the landing page immediately tells you what is possible, gives you direct links to API documention, but also provides you what you need to get started, sign up and explore the Thingiverse API—a flow that is so very important! When you look at the API docs, you immediately see that the API is a simple web API allowing you to manage users, things, their files and copies, while being able to tag, build collections as well as look for the newest, popular and featured things...

API Strategy & Practice Call For Papers Ends This Week

14 January 2014
The call for papers is ending this week for API & Strategy & Practice conference, March 26th,27th and 28th, in Amsterdam. So far we have over 25 talks submitted, with numerous slots already taken by sessions, panels and keynotes we already have scheduled. If you want to get your talk considered you need to submit by this Friday. By this weekend we will be closing the call for papers, reviewing and making decisions on the talks we feel should be part of the #APIStrat lineup. If you are looking for advice on how to craft your talk for success, read my blog post from last week on submitting a talk for #APIStrat. You are welcome to ping me directly for ideas, suggestions and my thoughts on your talk...

What Happened With Federal Agencies And Their Data.json Files

13 January 2014
I’m playing catchup on some of my projects, and one of them is 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. In short, each federal agencies should round up a list of all their public data assets, make a machine readable JSON file from that list, and publish to the web...

Caching APIs With CloudFormations Or OpenShift

12 January 2014

Experimentation And Iteration Is Good, But Share The Exhaust From Your API Research Ericsson

11 January 2014
Ericsson once had around 19 APIs available via their Ericsson Labs platform. After doing a round of looking through all the APIs I track on, I noticed they have ALL gone away. They are still doing a lot of research, but they seem to have lost their interest in APIs all together. I have no problem with experimentation and playing around with different resources, and even the deprecation of APIs, with appropriate communication, when it makes sense. I know Ericsson exploration is via their labs, and isn't really meant for production, but it grinds on me when there are APIs be played with, then all of sudden one day they are gone, with no trace. If you are experimenting with APIs, I recommend leaving some sort of landing page behind, with some trace of the exhaust from your research, experimentation--if possible open source your work...

Submitting A Talk For #APIStrat in Amsterdam

11 January 2014
I had a friend ask me for help with their talk submission for #APIStrat in Amsterdam. He was concerned that his talk was too product pitchy, and wanted help making it something that not just would be accepted by our event, but something community would want to hear. It is good to hear the concern, its true we want the best talks at #APIStrat, we don’t want to have a bunch of product pitches, we are seeking stories of API strategy and the practices from the trenches of API design, deployment and management. Additionally, the audience doesn't want to hear it. I know many companies are focused on selling their products and services, but event audiences don't care. #APIStrat participants wants to hear about how you are solving the problems they face, using APIs...

Another One Acquired: ApiAxle Acquired By Exicon

10 January 2014
I got a email today letting me know that cloud platform Exicon, purchase API management provider ApiAxle, further whittling away at all of the original and second wave of API management providers I’ve been tracking on over the last 4 years. ApiAxle first showed up as a blip on my 2012 API management provider roundup when: ApiAxle started out as a side project when Phil Jackson was CTO at Qwerly and found their API management provider didn't quite fit the needs of a busy, commercial API. API growth had already exploded back then and so, in the same way you could pick from a plethora of databases or webservers, there seemed an obvious space for an open source API management platform. That's when ApiAxle was born...

Lessons In Gov Open Data: Good Data Narration

10 January 2014
Building on my last post, Lessons In Gov Open Data: Optimize For Consumer, I want to share another important lesson for people working on open data in government. This very important lesson is about good data narration or storytelling around your data, not just publishing it as is. This lesson is triggered by a great post over at Gnip, where Eric Swayne, Director of Product of MutualMind talks about the fundamentals of good data narration. Swayne starts out by saying that: People that live in data analysis have the crucial opportunity for extracting meaning that transforms businesses through data-driven decisions, and it takes much more than just pushing out the monthly graphs and charts Swayne continues to talk about the trademarks of good data narration which include true insights, user-centric approach, and idea inception...

Lessons In Gov Open Data: Optimize For Consumer

10 January 2014
There is an excellent post in GovFresh by former Presidential Innovation Fellow and Githubber Ben Balter (@BenBalter), Why no one uses your government data? Ben is looking to address one of the biggest problems with open data in government. That data is just opened, purely to check a box on some requirement imposed on agencies. The data steward doesn’t actually put any thought into how the data will be used, and is just taking advantage of positive re-enforcement associated with opening up the data. This is not just a problem in federal, state or city government. This same problem occurs in the private sector as well. While it takes work to open up data and other resources via APIs, it takes even more work to see things through the eyes of a consumer...

New IBM Watson Unit Needs To Loosen Up, Iterate and Incubate To Find Full Potential

10 January 2014
The latest tech news to come out of IBM this week is a brand new business group to push innovation around the IBM Watson platform, with IBM committed to spending $1B on the new business group, with $100M set aside to fund startups who build on top of the Watson platform. The introduction of the new business group may be in response to the media’s, and analyst’s chatter about less than impressive results so far with the Watson platform’s ability to generate revenue, with $100M revenue over the last three years, according to the Wall Street Journal. There was a post on on ReadWrite today, called IBM's Watson Fails To Compute In A World Of Open-Source Hadoop, where Matt Assay nails the reason: Where Are The Watson Developers? When you visit the "IBM Watson Ecosystem Program”, you get a lot of text, and then even more text contained in PDF’s telling how much you can innovate with the platform...

One Developer, Two API Providers, Multiple APIs, When Your API Management Has An API

09 January 2014
Building on my thoughts around preparing your API for wholesale access, I’m thinking through the problem of developer API access when you have API providers offering up each others APIs, and bundling them seamlessly as part of their own API stack. In this scenario I’m working through, API provider A has an API they offer up wholesale to partners, and API provider B wants to bundle API provider A’s API along with their own, adding value to their API and developer community. In this scenario API provider B doesn’t want their developers to have to sign up for a separate API key with API provider A, the developer should just have to create one account and use one key for their application...

Is Your API Ready For Wholesale?

09 January 2014
As the number of public APIs grows well beyond 10K, expecting that developers will discover, let alone come to your developers area regulary will be reduced to just a fantasy. In this new API driven economy, your API will need to be decoupled, portable, and available in a wholesale manner, allowing other API providers to hang your valuable API resources in their own developers area. If your API is developed in a simple, standard way, described using a common API definition format like Swagger, API Blueprint or RAML, your account provisioning and management has an API, and terms of service (TOS) are flexible--you will be bundled with leading API platforms, available in the growing number of backend as a service (BaaS) platforms, and easily listed in API hubs like Mashape and APIHub...

The User Experience Will Continue To Fragment As We Evolve To An Internet Of Things

09 January 2014
It has taken me a while to respond to a post I read this weekend, by Mike Caulfield (@holden) called Revenge of the OS. In short he points out the fragment world we live in with all of our apps, and the shortcoming of tech companies to actually deliver a solution that truly works for end-users. Our desktop computer has always been the doorway to our digital worlds, and then came the Internet, and the Web 2.0 age where iGoogle (now dead), Facebook Apps (how many apps do you use these days), and other “mega-services” promised to be the doorway to our now online digital worlds. Mike talks about how his daughter, who 4 years ago depended on Facebook to access her world, now “moves fluidly between Tumblr, Snapchat, Instagram, and Vine accounts, with the notifications panel her point of integration”...

What Is Next For The US Government API Strategy, Getting Technical

09 January 2014
Data.gov has continued to evolve, adding data sets, agencies and features. With recent, high profile stumbles like with Healthcare.gov, it can be easy to fall prey to historical stereotypes that government can't deliver tech very well. While this may apply in some cases, I think we can confidently get behind the movement that is occurring at Data.gov, with 176 agencies working to add 54,723 data sets in the last 12 months. I feel pretty strongly that before we look towards the future of what the roadmap looks like for Data.gov, we need to spend a great deal of time refining and strengthening what we currently have available at Data.gov, and across the numerous government agency developer areas...

Are Your API Security Practices In Better Shape Than The Snapchat API?

08 January 2014
If you weren't following the news over the holidays, a rogue group released SnapchatDB, containing the 4.6 million Snapchat user profiles, after exploiting the poorly secured mobile application API. There are opposing views of what's happened, but apparently the group contacted Snapchat in August 2013 letting them know of a potential vulnerability in their API, in which Snapchat claims they responded by instituting rate limiting to address the problem. Apparently the actual vulnerability wasn't addressed, and in December the group mapped the private API, the company uses for their mobile app. They don't officially have an API, but like most mobile applications, it is right beneath the surface...

Benefits Of Treating Your Private API Like a Public One

08 January 2014
I stopped counting the number of successful applications that have had their private APIs reversed engineered by some savvy users, Most recently Snapchat, and famously the original rogue Instagram API was developed this way, and even auto maker Tesla had their API reverse engineered. This is fresh on my my mind because of the Snapchat security breach, in which this savvy tech user notified Snapchat back in August, and the company instituted rate limiting, but still left the API exposed for further attack, which the user took full advantage of in December by scraping all users after documenting and expoiting the private API. If you are developing a mobile application, you are building an API...

Dwolla API Is Switching Dates to UTC, Are Yours?

08 January 2014
The Dwolla API sent out an email to developers today, letting us know that, "Effective January 21, 2014, all timestamps returned by REST API endpoints will be in UTC format.” Dwolla is looking to fix the issue of ambiguous timestamps, where the time zone is variable and not indicated in the timestamp. Currently the timestamps look like: 9/20/2013 12:45:07 AM After the switch to UTC they will look like: 2010-11-12T13:14:15Z Formatted according to the ISO 8601 standard. This is a much cleaner, internationalized approach. I’ve seen this mistake a lot, and still do it myself on some new systems. As an self-centered american, we tend to think the world evolves around us, and we don’t think about these scaling issues ahead of time...

A Wholesale On-Premise Version Of My API For Sale

07 January 2014
I was doing some research in the area of harvesting and scraping APs. I was taking another look at Web Scrape Master, a simple scraping API that allows you to pass it a URL and it harvests structured data and content from the page. The Web Scrape Master is a pretty dead simple API, with a purpose. It does one thing and it does it well. What I found really interesting though, was the fact that lower on the page, below the API documentation the API was for sale. You could buy a copy of the server side of the API and client side tooling as a bundle. It is a pretty interesting approach, especially for these utility style APIs. You can either use the API provided as a service or you can download, install and use it within your own infrastructure, adding the API to your own stack...

What Is A Hypermedia API?

07 January 2014
The time has come. In 2014 I will be spending a lot more energy, helping you understand what a Hypermedia API is, and if you should be considering it as part of your own API strategy. I won’t be in the business of telling you Hypermedia is always the answer, or that it is bad, I will be working to better understand myself, and along the way hopefully I can share some knowledge with you. As I do with other technical issues that surround APIs, I will work to simplify, to help reach a wider audience, beyond the development community. If you are a developer and looking to understand Hypermedia APIs I recommend Googling, and exploring other resources (there are plenty). I want to help business leaders understand the potential, not sell developers on the concept...

Will Internet of Things And The SDK Push Out REST?

07 January 2014
After watching the API space evolve, I've learned one thing, that there are lots of factors that influence the industry, and that the best solution doesn't always win. As I'm studying the rise of Internet enabled devices, also known as Internet of Things (IoT), you see some devices embrace a RESTful approach to integration with their devices, but often times you see APIs released, but they are wrapped with SDKs. I'm not making any assumption that SDKs or REST is better when it comes to IoT devices, technically an SDK may or may not provide a stronger solution. However within this approach I think it is easy to pave over the API, making it an after thought--stifling potential innovation that can occur around open endpoints...

What Is Next For The US Government API Strategy

06 January 2014
I was asked to provides some thoughts on what is next for the US Government API strategy. I've been thinking about it during my work and travels over the last couple months, and I keep coming back to one thought: Strengthen What We Have! I wish I had some new technology or platform for the next wave of government APIs that would ensure success with APIs in Washington, but in reality we need to do what we've been doing, but do it at scale, and get organized and collaborative about how we do it. Release More Data Sets There are thousands of data sets available via Data.gov, across 176 agencies and numerous categories. We need more. When any content or data is published via a government website, that data needs to also made available via agencies data repositories and Data...

Creating My Own Screenshot API

06 January 2014
I use screenshots across the API Evangelist network. I take screenshots of stories I curated, companies I track on and API developer areas I'm monitoring. Historically I've used a variety of screenshot APIs, to generate the 1000's of screenshots I need to make my network function. This last week I was running through my network, and noticed the screenshot API had stopped working. It isn't a critical piece of infrastructure so I've used free services and don't really feel the need to monitor in real-time, I just respond when I stop seeing screenshots on the news listing page. This is the 3rd or 4th time this has happened, and when I started looking for a new screenshot API I noticed the majority of them now charge, and was in a range I just didn't feel I couldn't afford being a one man show...

State of APIs In Journalism: The Guardian

06 January 2014
Major newspapers having APIs is nothing new. We've heard stories out of the Guardian, New York Times and USA Today having APIs, but after several years where are these API initiatives headed? What is next? Is there innovation going on in the area journalism when it comes to APIs? This dive into the world of journalism will take some time, but I will start with what I consider to be the leader, The Guardian Open Platform. The UK paper has all the essential building blocks I would want in an API provider, starting with a clean overview and getting started pages to get developers and data journalists up to speed. The Guardian Open Platform revolves around two API resource, the Content API and Politics API and a vast data store of spreadsheets and other data sets that the Guardian has gathered throughout news cycles...

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