In other API Economy News: FreePNs Instead of VPNs and Most Wanted Database Chops

Remember Blackberry? Over a decade ago, one of the chief selling propositions of a Blackberry was the security of its wirless network and its datacenter. Blackberry was essentially offering a tightly integrated mobile messaging solution with a virtual private network (VPN) on steroids because of its privately operated network. It's one of the reasons that Blackberrys were so successful in the government space. Back then, I kept thinking, why the hell isn't someone offering a FreePN; a VPN that was free? Surely, developers and API providers would view the idea with optimism given their sensitivity to hackers.

How would such a FreePN work? One of the problems with the way that today's technologies jump onto a network when they boot up is that they give away a lot of discoverable secrets to known hacks. For example, if you boot-up your notebook, tablet, or mobile phone to an airport hotspot, you're basically trusting that the airport IT staff has taken all the necessary precautions to eliminate rogue hotspots and secure your communications. If they haven't, your device is potentially divulging sensitive information as it comes online and establishes connections with all the services you typically connect to. But imagine if all those sensitive connections had to wait until you were on a VPN; a FreePN. All that sensitive information would be securely "tunneled" through any networks you connect to.  Surely, there's a business model there. The FreePN provider gets some personal data that it can use in a variety of ways. But it's also up front about that exchange of something valuable (its service) for something valuable (your data). I'd make the trade.

Last year, Opera made a free VPN offering available to users of its desktop browser. Two issues though; the first is that it doesn't secure all communications. Just Opera browser-based communications (in other words, just browser traffic). The second is that Opera was acquired by a Chinese company and in case you haven't noticed, the US is engaged in a cyberwar with China (and Chinese companies have less wiggle room to operate autonomously from the government).  

But more companies are seeing the value to the idea of a FreePN. Today for example, ProtonMail activated a free VPN service call ProtoVPN. Free users can attach one device at a time and get the slowest speed available. The paid tiers get progressively faster and allow more devices (and device types like servers) as you pay more. According to the company, all of a devices Internet traffic goes through the tunnel (not just the browser traffic).  

Announcements like these make me wonder though when companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple will simply provide the service with no restrictions for free. My guess is that Google, in the interests of the privacy of its users and the security of the Internet, will activate such a feature; especially for users of Chrome and Android. Then the traffic for everything from web to native apps and even operating system-specific communications (ie: OS updates) and the APIs they rely on will be securely tunneled. The OS and a FreePN would have to work in unison to makes sure that no traffic routes onto an untunneled network without permission from the end user.  Anyway, it seems like it's only a matter of time before the big Internet companies take this problem on.

What Database Chops Do Recruiters Most Want

One of the things about running a site that reaches a lot of developers (and API providers) the way ProgrammableWeb does is how many survey results you get bombarded with. The funny thing is that, strangely, no two surveys about the same thing (but from different sources) yield the same results. For example, there are dozens of surveys out there that promise to tell you what the most popular programming language is. None of them agree.

Just today, we received an email from NodeSource that said "89% of developers predict that developers focused on Node.js open source projects will be in the greatest demand." So who's right? Quite frankly, it's hard to tell and the methodologies are all questionable. For example, if a developer used Java on some application that s/he later abandoned, but that was still counted in the survey, should it get the same weight as a gazillion-dollar startup that uses the Node.js flavor of JavaScript in production right now?  So, as we pass these results to you, be sure to take them with the grain of salt they deserve.

Via email, the folks at shared with us the results of their ongoing survey of the database technologies that most commonly occur in the tech stacks of various companies (the list of technologies that make those companies' IT tick).  The survey includes companies like Spotify, Airbnb, Instacart, and Dropbox and according to's view the following databases are the top then most used as of June 2017 (in this order):

  1. MySQL
  2. Redis
  3. PostgreSQL
  4. MongoDB
  5. Amazon S3
  6. Amazon RDS
  7. Memcached
  8. RabbitMQ
  9. SQLite
  10. Microsoft SQL Server

Then, another ranking from the same people for those full- Stack developers looking to maximize your marketability; the top five most in-demand-by-recruiters database skills:

  1. MySQL
  2. Amazon RDS
  3. Hadoop
  4. Redis
  5. NPostgreSQL

In some ways, the second survey suggests that there are some upcoming changes in the first. Hadoop isn't even in the top 10 most used databases and there it is, third on the list of most in demand! OK, go learn your Hadoop everyone!

Be sure to read the next Security article: In Other API Economy News: AI API Security, Trip Planning APIs and More