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5 Things We Learned About APIs At Apistrat

02.26.2013
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API Strategy & Practice

We just had two amazing days at API Strategy and Practice in New York with great conversations! A full review coming up – but on the way home we just wanted to share a few technical gems which stood out from the sessions:

  • API Versioning can be personal: Stripe’s Amber Feng gave a great presentation of Stripe’s API design choices and one that stood out was how Stripe versioning is personal to each user such that the first API call determines the version associated with your account and the developer is able to explicitly choose when to upgrade or temporarily override. Awesome for the developer. It seems like it may cause challenging issues with version maintenance – but an interesting approach none-the-less.

  • REST may not be enough – especially at Scale: In his Keynote Daniel Jacobson outlined the challenges of running Netflix API at massive scale and how pre-forming many of the commonly used views fully for common devices was key in reducing the chattiness (and hence load) of the API. Will it be the same for all APIs at enormous scale – possibly not, but Netflix experience certainly gives food for thought!

  • API Design is Hot!: The technical tracks were consitently packed – but the API Design session was the tightest squeeze of all – with great presentations from Jakub Nesetril of Apiary
    Tony Tam Reverb and Kirsten Jones of Cisco. There’s no doubt that having great API (and documentation!) is becoming a key part of having a great API and everybody wants to give it their best!

  • APIs can massively reinforce network effects: In his Fireside chat with Erin Griffith on Friday, Albert Wenger of USV gave multiple examples from portfolio companies such as Etsy, Twitter and Foursquare where APIs had been pivotal in accelerating market share gains and reaching new groups/types of users. For most companies it should not be a question of whether they should have an API – just when and what.

  • Hardware and Software are coming together: Jeff Meisel of National Instruments and Jeff Lawson of Twilio in different both headlines a powerful theme – how software is increasingly becoming the driver for real world hardware objects. Jeff Meisel showed awesome examples of API controlled Cars and Hardware appliance – and Jeff Lawson inspired everybody in the audience with software’s emerging role as the driver of almost everything.

There was much more – with great presentations in all the sessions: slideshares are popping up from speakers + the videos will be online soon. Many strong themes emerged – the need to provide value to developers on your API, be clear about business models, think about scale early and many more. We’ll collect presentations and videos on the APIStrat Website as we go. In the meantime you can join the post event discussions using the #apistrat hashtag.

Thank you to everybody for an amazing two days and already looking forward to doing this again!

Published at DZone with permission of Steven Willmott, author and DZone MVB. (source)

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