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API Evangelist Blog

Green Button (Energy) API Added To API Commons

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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:......read more.



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

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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......read more.



Remembering Why This Whole API Thing Is Working - APIDays Berlin

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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......read more.



I Will Be Speaking At APIDays In Berlin Next Week

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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......read more.



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

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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......read more.



Business Of Internal APIs At IBM Impact Last Tuesday

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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......read more.



What Can The Enterprise Learn From The Open API Space?

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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,......read more.



A Rare Beast In Government, The Write API

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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......read more.



Planning Everything Upfront vs Iterating On An API Over Time

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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......read more.



Browsing The 261 APIs At Brigham Young University

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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......read more.



ReliefWeb Is Tackling The Worlds Biggest Problems Using APIs

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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......read more.



Turning Forms Into APIs: Crap In, Crap Out

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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......read more.



The Private Internal Tier Of My API Service Composition

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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......read more.



API Virtual Stack Composition Like The Absolut Drinks Data API

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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......read more.



An Operational Harness For My Screen Capture API

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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......read more.