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API Evangelist Blog

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

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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......read more.



Multiple Types of APIs.json For Discovery

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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......read more.



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

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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......read more.



Adding Data Visualization Layer to Interactive API Documentation

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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......read more.



Thinking Beyond Just The Car At API Days in San Francisco

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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......read more.



Its If This Then That For X

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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......read more.



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

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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......read more.



API Craft San Francisco Wrap-up For June 2014

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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......read more.



Netflix Finally Shutters Support For Public API

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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......read more.



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

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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......read more.



The edX API

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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......read more.



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

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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......read more.



What Are The Incentives For Creating Machine Readable API Definitions?

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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......read more.



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

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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......read more.



Publish Your API Into The API Commons From APISpark

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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.......read more.