Focusing On Common API Definitions, Schema, Scopes and Specifications

The API universe is rapidly expanding as more companies, organizations, institutions, and government agencies are sharing data, content, and algorithms using web APIs. It has expanded so much in the last year that I can't keep up with everything that is going on. I can't test new APIs, and the emerging services and tooling from providers who are targeting the space fast enough--that is ok, I'm not sweating it. 

However, I do have to prioritize and focus on the areas where I can make the biggest impact when it comes to my understanding, and when it comes to helping the API community. While I will still be maintaining a general awareness of all technologies in 2017 I'm going to be heavily focused on three areas:

  • API Definition - The machine-readable definition of an API interface, security and data models.
  • Data Schema - A JSON schema, MSON, or other machine-readable description of data schema.
  • OAuth Scope - Shared definitions of OAuth scopes in play for an API and it's resources.
  • Web Specifications - Web concepts and specifications that make the web go around.

Code plays a significant role, and specific implementations are important, but for me, these four areas represent the core of the API space. Defining, employing, discussing, and sharing in these areas is how the API space will scale, and meet the needs of specific industries. Investing in these areas will make the API sector healthier, stronger, and make an impact when it comes to combatting much of the focus on investment, and proprietary of technology that works against things being truly interoperable reusable.

In 2017 I'm focusing the majority of my work in these areas. These are not the areas where the money will be in the future, but it will be what enables all the areas that do make startups money and make a difference on the ground at small businesses and the enterprise. Investment in common definitions, schema, scopes, and specifications will be the #2 challenge for API sector in coming years, right after security. I'm not sure what I can do on the security front, but I know I can make an impact when it comes to helping define common patterns of the API universe.