Last week, the Nordic APIs team took on 4 events in 4 Northern European cities in 4 days. There was something for everyone in an agenda that covered API neo-security frameworks, the latest trends in B2B integrations, how government agencies are opening up their data, and API usability best practices.
API Strategy and Practice’s first European Conference, held in Amsterdam, wrapped up late Friday. Day Two of the conference continued to unfold the larger narrative that had begun on Day One, by first showing how APIs are being used across industries (from big brands to banking to non-profits). The day concluded by giving voice to the underlying values that APIs are making prevalent in the new shared economy, with talks by Kat Borlongan (from Five by Five), Adam Wiggins (co-founder of Heroku), and Adam DuVander (SendGrid and ProgrammableWeb).
The initial buzz at drinks for the end of day one of API Strategy and Practice was: “Our minds have been blown.” The audience response is evident from three talks yesterday at API Strategy and Practice in Amsterdam. Presentations aimed at developers moved from a global rethink of what coding actually is (Mike Amundsen) to how to think and manage APIs as the core unit in distributed systems (John Sheehan) to a best practice daily toolkit for developers writing code and integrating APIs (Bruno Pedro).
Of the many things that developers need to worry about when attempting to create a successful app, two points rise to the top. First, the app can’t crash, and second, it has to respond to user input quickly. This is easier said than done, however, thanks to a deck that’s stacked against developers. Crittercism spent a month collecting over 1 billion data points and determined which devices, operating systems, and networks best lead to stable – and profitable – apps.
U.S. Government officials are being encouraged to provide comments and suggestions for a standard API Terms of Service (ToS). The hope is that a standard ToS could be used by any government agency making open data accessible via API. Launching the consultation via the Government API Google Group and on Github, key stakeholders believe the time is right to streamline the process of making API Terms of Service more relevant to developers who want to make use of government open data sources. Developers are now adding their feedback and perspectives to a Github issues repository.
For a public API, adoption is key. Finding the right developers can be resource-intensive. Few can afford to blanket the web and every conference in advertising. Even if you could, the results might not be nearly as good as the methods covered below. In this post, I’ll provide an overview of five or six ways to increase API adoption, along with specific tactics within each strategy.
There are major advantages to today’s applications being built atop APIs. If you’re reading ProgrammableWeb, there’s a good chance you know all about integrating with other services. The major disadvantage of modern distributed architecture is pretty obvious—someone else’s service could go down and it’s outside of your control. You might not even know a service is down, which is why many top API providers are now making status pages available. These sites help communicate to developers when anything is amiss with the API.
ProgrammableWeb’s Editor-in-chief David Berlind moderated a lively panel session at the recent DeveloperWeek conference in San Francisco. The panel included industry thought leaders Jason Harmon from PayPal, Jeremiah Lee Cohick (Fitbit), Alex Salazar (Stormpath), Uri Sarid from MuleSoft (the parent company of ProgrammableWeb) and John Musser, founder of both ProgrammableWeb and API Science. In an hour-long panel on “emergent APIs,” panelists covered API design, SDKs versus APIs and the challenge of API versioning. Bonus points: Each shared their number one piece advice for developers in businesses charged with creating their first API.
Developers love APIs for many different reasons. They might browse the ProgrammableWeb directory to be inspired and get ideas for a project. They might be delighted to tie together two disparate sources with their code. One of the biggest reasons developers should love APIs is that APIs save them time — time they can spend elsewhere. And yet, even the smartest developer can be caught answering the question “Can we build it?” with an enthusiastic “Yes we can.”
Businesses exploring an API strategy are asking themselves: private, partner or public? Since the start of the year, there has been a lot more thinking aloud about how businesses decide whether to start with an internal (private) API; use partner APIs to manage specific business relationships; or jump straight into designing external, developer-facing open (public) APIs.