Last year, I was disappointed to miss out on Gluecon. My colleagues spoke very highly of it — informative, state-of-the-art, and very non-commercial. I was glad that it worked with my schedule this year, and I was absolutely not disappointed. Eric Norlin (@defrag) does a fantastic job of ensuring that his speakers are immensely varied but have one thing in common: extremely high in quality.
I was also excited because this was first event I was attending since the formation of the Open API Initiative and the renaming of the Open API Specification, and I figured it would get some attention. However, I had no idea exactly how much attention it would get.
Not a session went by in the API track without a mention (or, in some cases…many mentions) of Open API (well…more than a few times a speaker slipped and referred to the “Swagger spec”).
What was most exciting about that wasn’t the rename, of course. The reason that every speaker mentioned it so frequently was that it provided a common language, a single touchpoint we could all refer to for discussing APIs. The goal in forming the initiative was to allow the industry to move beyond discussions of which format is better and why–so we could concentrate on the toolchain and ecosystem possible when we all agree on a common language.
The API track was great. James Higginbotham from LaunchAny spoke on domain-driven design and the importance of abstraction in API definitions. Emmanuel Paraskakis from Apiary.io, Tony Tam from SmartBear (and the Swagger project) and Ray Camden from StrongLoop all talked about improving the speed and scale of your API development workflow. And Guillaume LaForge from Restlet wrapped up the API track with his talk on the “Five Sided Prism Polarizing Web API Development.” (!)
And if a five-session API track on Day 1 wasn’t enough, Day 2 featured no fewer than eight API-related sessions. One of the best moments for me was Mark Stafford’s talk on his Model First project — a framework for composition of Open API specs that helps to enforce consistency and ease development (running here, code here).
But the API-highlight of the conference had to be Stewart Nickolas from IBM’s talk on “Conversational Computing.” His talk was nearly entirely done via voice interaction with Watson…including interrogating Watson about an API, having Watson describe the Open API Spec, and then having Stewart tell Watson verbally to invoke the API.
Somehow, I doubt developers are going to be doing much introspection of APIs verbally in the future. But it remained a very powerful demo especially when I considered that the entire demo was powered, of course…by APIs.
About The Author
Dan Ciruli is a product manager at Google who works on API infrastructure. He used to play a lot of ultimate when he had knees and write a lot of software when he had time. He’ll try to speak Spanish to you if you give him a chance. You can find him on Twitter at @danciruli.