For over eight years, ProgrammableWeb has served as the Web's defacto journal of the API economy; offering news, advice, API directories, research data, and other information when it comes to the world of Internet-based APIs. Now, as a part of our continuing mission to serve as the world's leading resource for developers, API providers and stakeholders, we're announcing the the launch of ProgrammableWeb's first-ever face-to-face conference; APIcon.
Set to take place in San Francisco from May 27-29, 2014, attendees will be treated to workshops, a multi-vendor hackathon (yes, prizes included), keynote presentations, conference sessions, ad-hoc (attendee-driven) unconference sessions, after-hours network receptions and a rock concert at the famous Ruby Sky night club featuring the alternative rock band CAKE.
Registration as well as the call for papers for APIcon is now open at APIconSF.com.
Why This? Why now?
Around the same time that ProgrammableWeb was founded in 2005, I founded an event for the API economy called Mashup Camp. The first one of what turned out to be many camps took place in February 2006 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. We nearly had to turn people away at the door. But the CHM turned a blind-eye and let us exceed the capacity of their auditorium to kick off an extraordinary series of events that took us from California to New York, Boston, London and Dublin.
These were deeply prescriptive events that were incredibly relevant to the exploding API economy. Developers and API practitioners alike learned from their more experienced peers about the art of provisioning API's and developing Web and mobile applications that consumed them. It was truly an event for the API community, by the API community. Companies like Google, Adobe, Salesforce, Box, AOL, Yahoo!, Eventful, Sun, Microsoft and more stepped-up in a big way to cover the cost of the venue while also making their own arrangements to bring breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner, coffee, and the after-hours entertainment.
The API community even came forward to install a permanent WiFi network at the Computer History Museum to ensure that developers had all the bandwidth they needed to hack applications. Everyone from experts to beginners attended. People learned. Relationships were forged and lives were changed (see the image below) as attendees found new employment opportunities with the most innovative companies in the world. The community advanced.
So, today, as I survey the API landscape, I sense the absence of this sort of event; a vendor-neutral confab that's dedicated to APIs. One where the keynote and conference speaking positions cannot be "bought" in a way that the sessions turn into pitches. One that's free to developers, and where the the producers of the event are motivated by advancement of the API community's interests instead of profit.
This is why ProgrammableWeb is doing APIcon.
APIcon will kick off on the first day (May 27) with dozens of workshops. The workshops are designed for classroom style instruction where developers will engage with API providers to learn how to best develop Web and mobile apps that take advantage of those providers' offerings.
Coming out of the workshops, we'll start a hackathon to put those newly acquired skills to work. We'll provide the space and the nourishment (not to mention the "spirits") to hack through night and into the second day (May 28) when we'll start things off with a keynote. Then we'll dive into the conference and unconference parts of the event (with a few more workshops sprinkled in). The conference will be mainly geared towards API practitioners and strategists who want to learn from the cutting edge work of their peers. But the conference will include some very compelling content for developers as well. Meanwhile, we've set aside some of the rooms that were previously used for the workshops on Day 1 for some unconference time where attendees can hold their own ad-hoc sessions about anything they want.
Then, on the afternoon of of Day 2, we'll judge the outcome of the hackathon using a speed-dating format called speedgeeking. This is where all the attendees get to vote for the Web or mobile app that they think should win the overall APIcon hackathon prizes. The API providers will of course be offering their own prizes for the best implementations of their technologies.
Then it's party time. We'll announce the hackathon winners and move to the Ruby Sky nightclub where all attendees should be prepared to rock the night away with the alternative rock band CAKE.
And finally, on Day 3 (May 29), we'll have another keynote followed by more conference sessions
How You Can Get Involved
As said earlier, those of you looking to attend APIcon are encouraged to register at APIconSF.com. You are also welcome to stay tuned to ProgrammableWeb.com or its newsletter where we'll be posting notifications as well.
If you are interested in speaking at the conference, our call for papers can be found on the conference site's speaker page where we've already listed some of the first recruits. In an effort to prepare a great agenda, we've started by hand-picking and inviting specific experts who have much to share about what they've learned in their API journeys. But we're also entertaining suggestions. You can also write directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Keynote and conference speaking positions cannot be "bought" and vendors are welcome to apply but should not suggest content that is aligned with their wares.
Developers of varying degrees of experience (beginner to expert) are encouraged to get involved in the workshops and join the hackathon as individuals or in teams. Workshop and hackathon sponsorships will serve as one source of the funding that we need to make the event possible. And then, we have several other sponsorship opportunities for companies that want to support APIcon. API and other solution providers who wish to get involved should write to email@example.com for more information.
Be sure to stay tuned to ProgrammableWeb for updates from me regarding the conference, the speakers we've enlisted, the workshops and the hackathon and I hope to see you at the end of May in San Francisco. Let me know if you have any questions!
By David Berlind. David is the editor-in-chief of ProgrammableWeb.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Connect to David on Twitter at @dberlind or Google+, or friend him on Facebook.