Blog

We Are Strengthening the Toxic Bros Playbook With Our Response to Twitter

Like most things online today, I am striving to not be emotional about what is happening with Twitter right now. I have signed up with an existing Mastodon node, with the intent to set up my own server instances within the kinlane.com and apievangelist.com domains. I believe in federation. I like the way I am able to manage my own email, news feeds, and now social feeds within my own domain. This is definitely the future I envision. However, I will not be giving up on Twitter anytime soon....
Pascal Heus

.open is closed

The other day I was looking for a domain name to host APIs and related services for various R&D projects I’m involved in. When that’s the case, I usually stick to the classic .com and .org top level domains, but though it would be good for a change to explore some of the most exotic ones that are now available.

API Dimensions That Ground the Conversation

I am perpetually working on what I consider to be the essential API dimensions that ground how we talk about APIs. While having a common definition of the API lifecycle, as well as a clear list of roles and stakeholders involved across the API lifecycle is essential–these dimensions or focused on how we “see” and invest specifically in our APIs. In my experience, there are many ways we talk past each other and introduce friction into our discussions about how to do APIs well. While there a...

Where Does Mastodon Fit In With My Overall API Circus Stack?

I’ve spent a lot of time lately contemplating how I feel about Elon Musk taking over Twitter, and specifically about how I feel about the exodus to Mastodon that I see happening. As with many things happening online today I notice the emotionally charged nature of what is going on, which immediately leaves me wanting to slow down when it comes to making any decisions. I have spent countless hours thinking about the tools that I use, what my overall digital footprint is, and choosing to aba...

Helping Teams Stay Focused on APIs While Also Being Able To See the Whole Enterprise

I was talking with John Kilgore our product manager at Postman for the Postman API Network about strategies for making APIs more visible across teams, meeting teams where they are and enabling them to be more successful, while also being able to show where teams fit into the bigger picture. John had a great way of describing a literal picture to help inform and ground these different scopes of our API operations. As John was talking I was picturing a busy city landscape with many things go...

The Four Most Important Dimensions That Block API Progress

I am working my way through 100+ Breaking Changes podcast conversations I have had , as well as 75+ customer conversations I have had this year, and reflecting on a book I just finished called The API-First Transformation (Coming Soon). Across these conversations I see four dimensions that are holding back enterprise organizations from achieving their desirable levels of conversations. While there are many points of friction ac...

That API Strategy Sounds Great, but Where Do We Start?

I regularly spend time with business and technical leadership at large enterprise organizations where I walk through my big picture strategy around the API Lifecycle and governance. 90% of these conversations end with heads nodding, and folks saying, “That all sounds perfect, but where do we start?”. This is a question I am increasingly prepared to respond to, but truly understanding where someone is in their API journey, and providing them with some possible next steps for them to focus o...

Looking for Lessons When It Comes to Railroad Regulation That I Can Apply to My API Regulation and Deregulation Arguments

I am diving into the regulation of some of the major industries within the United States to better understand how regulation may unfold for the web using APIs. We are already seeing regulation in the areas of banking, healthcare, and privacy, so I want to have a basic understanding of how the railroads, electricity, telephone, radio, aerospace, and other heavily regulated industries came to be. I do not think everything from the world of railroad regulation will apply to the web, but I am ...

How Are We Going To Consistently Manage Policies Across Multiple API Gateway Vendors?

This is a question I heard several times this week, but have been consistently hearing it from customers, analysts, and others in my orbit. I think it is an important question, but it is also a very revealing question regarding the difference in how we want the world to be and the way the world is. Gateway policies are simple configurations to API gateways that employ common API capabilities that leadership and sometimes developers are looking to set in motion—-things like rate limiting, c...
Pascal Heus

GraphQL: First steps

I know little about GraphQL, but based on what I’ve seen so far, it is a very promising technology for providing access to data and delivering over open APIs. Unlike other API specifications whose focus is on services, GraphQL is data centric and essentially provides a standard way to query datasets and deliver schema documentation in machine actionable formats. So I’m very hyped about this but need to understand the current state of affairs and how far t...
Kin Lane

What I Learn Studying Federal Government APIs

I conducted another assessment of the APIs available across the federal government this weekend. It is work I enjoy because I always learn so much while doing it. I learn about government agencies and what they do, but also find some very interesting resources available via the API and developer portals that exist across different agencies. There is a wealth of d...
Kin Lane

Taking Another Look at the APIs and Data Available Across U.S. Federal Agencies

Every couple of years I get motivated to take a fresh look at what is happening with APIs across the federal government. Since I worked for the Obama administration I have had a passion for understanding the state of, but also being an advocate for APIs in government. While there are plenty of things that frustrate me when it comes to government APIs, I also find that I am left pretty hopeful about what is happening across each of the federal agencies. Using the digital registry API I pull...
Pascal Heus

Data good practices: If it ain't computable, it's a string...

Choosing the right data type for a dataset variable, database fields, data model element, or API property can make a huge difference in terms of usability and quality. A mistake that I have commonly seen made over the many years of working with data is the use of numeric variables for things that are not computable. The most typical case is with categorical variables codes, but other examples includes identifiers, accounts numbers, postal codes, and the likes. If something looks like a num...
Kin Lane

Assessing Government APIs with Help of Collection Visualizer

I joined in on some conversations around data and APIs with the White House this week and it got my juices flowing again when it comes to understanding APIs. One of the biggest challenges in doing APIs anywhere, but something that is painfully evident in the federal government within the United States is when it comes to API discovery. Or more simply, knowing where all of the APIs are. We love creating APIs, and in some cases too many APIs, and in some cases not enough APIs, but no matter ...
Kin Lane

We Should All Be API Consumers

I have long advocated that API producers should spend more time being an API consumer, so that they can feel the pain. I feel 100x this since I have been working at Postman. When you operate at the line between API producers and consumers, but also the automation of the API lifecycle, you really begin to see that the balance between producer and consumer is what matters the most. Even with my perspective I am heavily indoctrinated into the API producer side of the conversation. After over ...
Kin Lane

Focusing on Problems When Defining a New API

I am working on version 2.0 of the content API I am using as part of my work across Postman Open Technologies. It is a little meta, but I have an API for managing the content I produce and then distribute across the blog posts, videos, and books I am producing. I am using the API to help standardize and power the storytelling across my own work, but continue leveraging to do the same across my team. I’ve been using a half-baked version 1.0 of my API to guide my work for the rest of the yea...
Kin Lane

We Still See Our API Gateway as Just Infrastructure

I have been thinking deep thoughts about API gateway and management offerings for the last couple of weeks. I am refreshing my memory of what has happened over the last decade with each wave of API management providers, the recent wave of smaller footprint next generation API gateway providers, but developing more awareness regarding what new players are delivering at the gateway layer. I am really working to see all the moving parts, but really step back and think about what has changed, ...
Kin Lane

Balancing What Your Customer Wants Versus What They Need As An API Service Provider

I always enjoy conversations about API management providers or more specifically what API gateway providers should or shouldn’t be providing as they work to specialize or be everything to everyone. Today’s post was triggered by my friend James Higginbotham Tweeting about API gateway providers trying to do everything, but this narrative also reflects what I see over and over as I talk to different enterprise organization...
Pascal Heus

Data Knowledge Inference: A primer

Data in its current state is insufficient to meet the needs of users and intelligent applications. It needs to be elevated to digital knowledge by supplementing it with machine-actionable metadata. This is necessary to align on FAIR principles, reduce data wrangling, support the establishment of Open Data APIs, and unleash computer intelligence.
Kin Lane

ProgrammableWeb is Shutting Down

Albert Putnam(@AlbertPutnam) tuned me into the fact that ProgrammableWeb is shutting down this month, after seventeen years of operation. I have mixed feelings about this, in that I don’t tune into the site much anymore because it is a static API directory and a pay for play blog, lacking the original heart and soul the blog had back in the day. However, I also have d...
Kin Lane

Considering the Next Generation of API Gateways and Management

I am trying to write nightly here on API Evangelist, capturing at least one thought from my work with APIs. One of the areas of API operations I am doing a deep dive into right now is the familiar and well-known area of API management and specifically the increasingly commoditized API gateway. API management was the original catalyst for this blog back in 2010, and a space I have followed closely over the last twelve years. While I haven’t been down in the weeds of API Management while at ...
Kin Lane

Influencing People Indirectly Over Time to Obtain the API Change You Seek

I have learned a lot about influencing the way people think about APIs. I am not always successful in influencing people the way I desire, but I have had a significant amount of success in shaping the way people do APIs across a number of industries, government agencies, and enterprise organizations. One of the more influential tactics I have in my toolbox involves rarely directly telling people to do things, and opting to indirectly shape how people think through telling stories and plant...
Kin Lane

The Importance of Writing and Storytelling

I do not write on API Evangelist as much as I used to. I still write a lot, but posts tends to stay in my notebook or get published to the Postman blog. I miss writing every day. Writing is important for me. Not just to convey concepts to other people who read my writing, but to help me organize my thoughts. Writing makes me more coherent. Writing helps me practice what I want to say. Writing helps me find the signal for the noise, which in a digital world is everything. Writing is how I f...
Pascal Heus

Demystifying Identifiers

Identifiers are used everywhere to be able to unambiguously reference resources. Examples, amongst many, include a passport number, a domain name, a book ISBN, a database record key, a UUID, a network card MAC address, a shortened URL, a string hash, a vehicle identification number, a digital object identifier, and the likes. They play a fundamental role in the API, data, and metadata spaces.
Pascal Heus

OAS Extension Profiles

The use of extensions in Open API Specification (OAS) has been supported since version 2.x based on a minimalistic approach whereby anyone can define a property starting with x- (e.g. x-myextension) which can hold any information. This feature was carried over as is to version 3.x. Extensions can be u...