This year’s two APIcon conferences have focused on sharing knowledge of new techniques and growth strategies in the API economy. At ProgrammableWeb’s most recent industry event in London, presentations covered predictive analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT), new techniques to use linked data in API design, API service description frameworks, security and business models.
For those who were unable to make it in person — and for those who want to refresh some of the ideas they heard discussed — ProgrammableWeb has released presenters’ slide decks on SlideShare. For those who want even more, ProgrammableWeb’s YouTube channel has most of the presentations available for your viewing pleasure.
Here’s a review of some of the great content covered across at our second conference, Sept. 24-26 in London:
Why and How to Leverage Predictive APIs in Any Application
Machine learning expert and author Louis Dorard started the conference content with a primer on various flavors of machine learning and explained why developers need to start incorporating ML tools into their application user experiences. His session became one of the most widely discussed on Twitter for the remainder of the day.
Is There an API in That (IoT)?
Holger Reinhardt, CA Technologies/Layer 7’s resident IoT guru and senior principal in API business strategy, gave frank and fearless insight into how APIs will work in the Internet of Things environment. For those API developers new to the IoT sphere, this presentation gives a quick overview of what IoT really means for developers, with lots of references to follow-up sources for those who want to explore further. Reinhardt is a knowledge source par excellence; his YouTube video is particularly worth watching as even his throwaway comments have ideas to track down and explore further. Here, Reinhardt gets pragmatic and provides some core principles for developers to get back on track with their IoT projects, reducing the complexity to some core principles that can help makers innovate while keeping a grounded view on what users really need.
Maximizing Your API Revenue: Growth Hacks, Shortcuts and Best Practices
One of the most fascinating and practical presentations of APIcon UK — or, indeed, of any API industry presentation this year — came from Noam Schwartz of SimilarWeb. Schwartz shared insights into how he has used growth hacks to build strong API adoption this year, which has translated into enviable revenue growth from the API channel. An enlightening approach to metrics and clever use of co-marketing techniques are some of the strategies Schwartz shared that any API provider could replicate.
How and Why to Dogfood Your API
Zohar Babin, senior director of ecosystem and community at open source video platform Kaltura, showed what it really means to put your API front and center. By relying on Kaltura's open API for its own product and service delivery — an API that manages the core back-end and application infrastructure — Babin has learned how to future-proof the Kaltura platform and provide a high-quality API product to customers. In this presentation, he shares his experiences.
Your API Deserves More Respect: Make It a Product
Andrew Seward, technical product manager with SMS delivery service Esendex, provided a fascinating look at the API journey within a company. For any developers who need to build support for an API strategy internally, Seward described how he did this at Esendex. The presentation hit a chord with developers, with his SlideShare fast becoming the most popularly viewed among our APIcon UK content.
DDD (Delight-Driven Development) of APIs With RAML
CTO of MuleSoft Uri Sarid walked API developers through the introduction of the open source API service description language RAML before showing devs how easily they can use service description tools to create design-first APIs.
Running the World’s Best Photo API — Insights and Opportunities
Returning to APIcon after a successful workshop at our San Francisco event, Getty Images showed how to make use of its free image library via API. The Getty Images API is ideal for content publishers needing to add relevant, enticing visual content to their text and apps.
Open Source and the Internet of Things
Simon Phipps from the Open Source Initiative argued strongly for open source to be at the heart of the API economy. His talk — which also featured a look at the patent protection pyramid — explained why any scalable cloud infrastructure needs open source and how to set open source licensing rights to protect your business and to participate in ecosystems.
API Description Languages: Which Is the Right One for Me?
Laura Heritage, director of API Strategy from SOA Software, lined up RAML against Swagger and compared which service description is better for the enterprise, based on her own experience and the needs she sees for her enterprise customers.
Get Your Software Speaking SMS With Esendex
While Seward’s presentation focused on building internal stakeholder support for an API strategy, Esendex software developer Jack Thorley presented a hands-on workshop for API developers to see how to integrate Esendex into applications so that the end-user experience can include messaging via SMS.
How to Build Linked Data APIs With JSON-LD and Hydra
Hand-picked innovator Markus Lanthaler hosted two deep dives at APIcon UK, first exploring the importance of linked data, and then helping developers make use of its capabilities via the Hydra language. Amid talk of hypermedia APIs and the true vision for a hypertextual, interconnected Web, Lanthaler argued that linked data and JSON-LD are the best tools to get us there.
Top 5 Ways to Increase API Adoption
Adam DuVander, director of developer relations at Orchestrate and former editor of ProgrammableWeb, had the audience taking notes furiously as he described best-practice strategies he has seen and used when building developer ecosystems around an API.
Intro to Orchestrate DBaaS: A Single API for Key/Value, Search, Graph and Events
Orchestrate CTO Ian Plosker offered audiences an opportunity to get a grip on polyglot persistence. While developers may need to have multiple databases running to make their application work, it doesn’t mean you can’t have the one API to access them all. Plosker unpacked how Orchestrate helps developers gain the benefits of multiple databases, while reducing complexity through a single API integration.
Pivoting Your Business From Product to Platform
Founder and CEO of Evercam.io Marco Herbst gave an insightful look into how Evercam pivoted quickly from a live camera feed product into a platform. Herbst described the essential role APIs played in making a platform move possible, and shared ideas about how other API providers can investigate taking on a similar platform mindset.
Case Study: A Real-World Implementation of Linked Data
To bring Lanthaler’s big-picture overview into the real world, Dimitri van Hees, technical director at dev and design shop Freshheads BV, discussed the challenges involved in implementing a linked data project and shared his experience in communicating the value of such a project to enterprise customers.
Payments for Tomorrow’s Businesses: Building With the Stripe APIs
Payment processing APIs continue to be one of the most referenced categories in ProgrammableWeb’s API database. It was little wonder then that Stripe’s workshop on integrating its API into apps was so well-attended. Demonstrating the developer-friendliness of the API, Andy Young from Stripe was able to lead the developer audience through achieving a fully functioning live cards payment integration by the end of the session.
Building a Business-Facing Mobile Developer Community
Andy Jones, technical director, EMEA, at SOA Software, focused on the rise of the bring-your-own-device movement within enterprise and the impact this has on enterprise app development. Within this ever-growing business culture, the API becomes the connector that allows a company to increase the productivity of staff and partners. Jones shared proven strategies that have helped SOA Software’s enterprise clients to use APIs to activate a mobile app ecosystem.
Exploring UK Bus and Train Data With TransportAPI
TransportAPI’s approach to using open data to create new hyperlocal products and tools is a model being closely watched around the globe. Software engineer Harry Wood shares some of the key challenges that Transport API faces as it continues to make use of public data to empower a platform and drive an ecosystem of third-party developers building off its standard API.
HTTP APIs as First-Class Procedures in Your Language: Cutting Out SDK Complexity
“SDK” might be a naughty three-letter word for some developers who fear integrating an SDK into their app production cycle, lest they be stuck in a complex round of changing versions and bloated code. Andy Bennett from Knodium shared some workarounds and technical strategies that make an HTTP API available as a self-contained procedure, and alternative techniques for keying, authentication and signing, which may mean devs can do away with the SDKs altogether.
Sustainable Business Models for Aggregating Open and Free APIs
Ed Freyfogle, co-founder of Lokku, presented a pragmatic look at the opportunities of creating a viable, scalable business using open data as a raw material. Drawing on his experiences creating the OpenCage geocoder and sharing details of how Lokku powers property search engine Nestoria, Freyfogle’s presentation is both inspiring and a realistic consideration of the challenges in building a business based on open data.
Presentations From ProgrammableWeb Staff
ProgrammableWeb’s editor-in-chief, David Berlind, gave the conference keynote: Why API Security Is More Complicated Than You Think (and why it's your No. 1 priority). Berlind looked at why security is the key issue for any API developer, whether on the provider or API-consumption side of the equation. His presentation unpacked the industry-wide review he shared on ProgrammableWeb in the weeks leading up to the event. As an API developer, it may not be possible to know everything about security issues, but it is vital that you know what it is that you don’t know. Berlind’s presentation gives developers insight into what capabilities they should have in-house, and what skills and services they need to acquire from API security experts.
I also gave two presentations at APIcon UK. I shared the initial findings of a research project I have been conducting for ProgrammableWeb, digging into API business models. We hope to release these findings as an e-book later this year, and in the meantime, I presented on some of the data I have gathered in the presentation "Real-World API Business Models That Worked."
I also shared some of the work I have been writing up looking at smart cities APIs. The presentation "Profiting From 'Smart City' APIs" identified some of the opportunities for startups and businesses to build new products and services in the emerging civic tech vertical, with a discussion on why creating a platform model in this industry sector is essential to future success and viability.
On the final day of APIcon UK, Berlind highlighted some of the most exciting innovators he has discovered in the API economy recently. This special innovation showcase featured Lanthaler, API Network, Qipp and Electric Imp.
For those looking to relive the audience reaction as you review the above slides and YouTube videos, check out our hashtag #APIconUK to immerse yourself in the full conference experience!