WS-REST.org has announced that it will host the fifth edition of the International Workshop on Web APIs and RESTful Design at the 23rd International World Wide Web Conference this April in Seoul, South Korea. The first workshop was held in 2010. As APIs have continued to drive innovation in the connected world, the workshop has continued to refine its scope of study, broaden its expectations and increase interest. As the organizers begin to develop this years agenda, PW caught up with Carlos Pedrinaci, a research fellow at The Open University, UK, and one of the event organizers.
Pedrinaci explained the origin and development of WS-REST:
"Web APIs have gradually established themselves as quite a popular means for Web sites and applications to share their data and functionality online. Thanks to them, quite a number of interesting and valuable mashups are created every day by developers all over the world. Despite their popularity, though, developing Web APIs, finding them, and using them in applications is often art more than an engineering discipline. The workshop was originally initiated by Cesare Pautasso, Erik Wilde and Rosa Alarcón in an attempt to study and define the best principles around Web APIs and their use."
Traditionally, the workshop has been attended by academics. WS-REST is a research-focused group and has published two works on RESTful design: REST: Advanced Research Topics and Practical Applications, and REST: From Research to Practice. This year, the organizers hope to expand the audience to include more engineers and developers. Pedrinaci explained his expectations coming out of the event:
"Most of all, we want to spark interesting discussions, and encourage people to submit novel work they’ve done on anything related to Web APIs. That includes best practices, and answers to the questions such as How to dynamically integrate Web APIs, How to create intelligent clients for Web APIs, and how to deal with the enormous growth and diversity of APIs, 'How can we know which API is best suited for a given application?', 'Which one is more reliable?', 'Which one is best supported?', 'Given a particular API, can we expect the same quality of data for the US than we can for other regions of the world?'."
The workshop is largely an academic affair with little outside funding. The only funding is provided by the COMPOSE project. However, the event has attracted interest and gathered attendance from some of the biggest industry names who both rely on and contribute to the API economy (e.g. Neo Technology, Verivue, GitHub, Google, Layer7, innoQ, Siemens, Nokia, EMC, W3C, Oracle, Tropo, etc.).
Although the original workshop focused solely on REST APIs, Pedrinaci explained an expanded theme for this year's event:
"This year the event has a wider scope in order to focus on the programmable Web in general rather than solely on REST APIs and principles. The reason for this is that we have seen that more than technology per se, the main driver behind the popularity of Web APIs is actually the value that offering programmatic APIs on the Web brings to users and providers alike. Better understanding these aspects and engaging more closely with the developer community to see their needs and problems are some of the essential new items in this year’s agenda."
Finally, Pedrinaci offered his goals for this year's event, and the general vision of the organization moving forward:
"The main goal of the event is to progress as a community in our understanding of the dynamics of Web APIs and their use. This includes notably devising new technologies that could make the lives of Web API developers and users easier. The success of the event will be highly determined by the quality of the contributions presented, but also the discussions, and follow up activities that will emerge subsequently."
The one day workshop will take place on April 7th at the WWW2014 conference. The final agenda is currently under development as the call for papers just concluded. Notifications will be sent out in early February. To learn more visit the WS-REST 2014 site.