Initial themes at APIDays Paris: Reuse and Cross-Region

Mark Boyd
Dec. 04 2013, 08:53AM EST

With morning sessions now completed at day one of APIdays Paris, themes are already beginning to emerge. As the API economy matures, it is reflecting the same growing pains that wider industry has had to adjust to over a long period of time. Two of the key words being heard so far today are "reuse" and "cross-region".

It has taken over 100 years for industry to start reflecting on the need to manage resources sustainably across the global marketplace. Environmental constraints are encouraging a "think global, go local" mindset that is driving greater respect for reusing raw materials or recycling of waste. After only 10 years, the API economy is already needing to consider these same constraints in order to reach the technology potential that so many imagine.

Reuse

Reuse is becoming a mantra amongst API stakeholders at all levels. Andy Thurai, CTO of Application Security and Identity Products at Intel, for example, urged the APIdays audience to reuse existing infrastructure when embarking on a reorientation of their business architecture towards the agile API environment needed to succeed in tomorrow's market economy. Thurai suggests the starting point for highly secure data-oriented architecture is to start with a mapping of current systems. While some enterprises have already reoriented once towards SOA, they are already needing to reorient again towards greater agility. Others, meanwhile, are still managing backend systems for their data infrastructure. Whatever the case, by mapping existing inventory and security frameworks, Thurai says, enterprises can identify reusable components that will speed up, and reduce the cost, of business reorientation.

Meanwhile, event ticketing startup Eventbrite's move towards a distributed architecture model is built on the fundamental need for themselves, external partners and even end-users to reuse services as components at will. Since the original Eventbrite API in 2008, co-founder and CTO Renaud Visage has seen standards grow up around them and best practices put in place that didn't exist when they first launched an API. Now with $150 million a year of ticket sales being generated via their API in one form or another, they realize that their future depends on the ability to enter new markets in a multitude of ways. To get there, they have reoriented their business model to be defined as a series of services that can be packaged up and reused in an endless variety of compositions. Making every aspect of their domain services and business systems reusable was their starting point when redesigning their service layer.

Cross-region

Jerome Louvel, CEO of APISpark - which announced a public beta stage launch from the conference this morning - argued that the future of Web API programming will rely on cross-regional capabilities. Louvel said that partners accessing a business' services and products via API will need high availability that can work anywhere: "availability across regions, with zero downtime and low latency will become the standard in API service level agreements," Louvel said.

It is an attitude that businesses are already bringing to their buying decisions. Micael Widell, co-founder and CTO of Fyndiq, presented a few weeks ago at NordicAPIs to show how he chose an anti-fraud software for the high-revenue e-commerce startup. He chose Sift Science as a provider because the service was well documented and available immediately via API. Globally, there is a need for this 24-hour access and the capacity to onboard new services into the business workflow at any given time.

It's all about scale

At the heart of both of these themes is the issue of scale. While Steve Willmott from 3scale may not be in attendance, his thought leadership is having a significant impact on how event participants and speakers are thinking about their future. Both Willmott's quotes on preparing for a million APIs and his quip about how APIs are eating software are still resonating with many of the presenters this morning, who are taking on these two comments as central tenets in their thinking. It is an echo of predictions made around the sort of businesses that will succeed in the new economy: they don't necessarily need to be big brands, but they do need - whatever their size - to have a global reach. The capacity to scale is central to that success, and hence the roadmap to get there - starting with reuse and cross-regional access - is what is at the forefront of APIdays attendees' minds.

These themes are expected to continue this afternoon, while tomorrow moves into a stronger focus on the Internet of Things and smart cities enabled via APIs.

ProgrammableWeb will publish more detailed reports on some of the above presentations and others throughout today's APIdays proceedings.

Mark Boyd is a ProgrammableWeb writer covering breaking news, API business strategies and models, open data, and smart cities. I can be contacted via email, on Twitter, or on Google+.

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