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Arnaud Lauret, the API Handyman, Covers His Top 4 Must-Attend Sessions at ASC 2021

By Blog, Events

We talked with Arnaud Lauret, well known as the API Handyman and author of The Design of Web APIs, to find out more about the upcoming ASC 2021 (Sept 28-29)

Lauret is presenting “Taking advantage of OpenAPI for API Design reviews” on Tuesday, September 28 starting at 11:20am PDT.

Lauret is a Senior API Architect at Natixis, based in Paris, France, currently helping everyone from executives to developers to understand what APIs are, why they matter and “how to do them.” He helps teams design their APIs by reviewing and challenging their designs, providing training and building API design guidelines.

During your live API design review demo session at ASC 2021, what are the top 3 key API design principles you will be covering?

Inside/Out, semantic, and consistency. 

An API that is just a technical connector giving access to the underlying mess, throwing bluntly the inside to the outside, will be a total nightmare for consumers but also for providers. On the consumer side, people will get a complex API requiring a high level of expertise, requiring much effort to do simple things. On the provider side, you may have to fear unexpected consequences such as data corruption or security breaches.

Semantic is very important, the meaning of words is critical when designing an API. Choose the wrong word and people may not understand your intent, what the API is supposed to do, which value to provide or what they can do with returned data.

And last not but least of this top 3: consistency. Designing a consistent API is hard but it’s worth the cost. Being consistent with the rest of the world will make developers feel at home when they see your API for the first time. Being consistent across your APIs and within them will make developers able to make connections easily between operations, data models, or parameters and so they will be able to master your API without even thinking about it.  

Can an API design review be based on facts, not opinions? Is this possible?

Yes. It’s not always that easy, but that’s what I try to do. An API design review based on baseless opinions has absolutely no interest. People don’t care if you prefer blue over orange. The question is why blue is better than orange in a given context. Everything that is proposed must be backed with reasonable explanations, facts. 

Having guidelines is really a great help: those predefined rules provide factual arguments that everyone agrees on. But guidelines can’t solve all design questions, they provide only high level guidance, there always will be more specific functional/business questions leading to multiple possible designs. Each one conforming to guidelines. But which one is the “right” one? You’ll have to find “facts” to make a decision, you can take advantage of your knowledge of business rules, what will come in the near future, … As long as a solution has a valid explanation everyone agrees on, that’s a review based on facts.

What other presentations will you be attending at ASC 2021 and why?

Actually, I wish I could attend them all! There are so many interesting sessions, but here’s my top 4: 

  • API Terms of Service : From Creative commons to Machine readability – Célya Gruson-Daniel, COSTECH & Mehdi Medjaoui: I’m a “machine-readability nerd,” I love this idea of trying to structure the unstructured because it simplifies both machines’ and humans’ job. Bringing machine-readability to TOS could have a major impact for me. It could simplify the comparison between service providers; and as a person participating to call for proposal processes to choose software solutions, I would be very happy with just that. And I’m sure there are other totally crazy outcomes. I can’t wait to attend to this one!  
  • We brought OpenAPI Docs into our service catalog. Now what? – Shai Sachs & Zoe Song, Wayfair: I work in a large organisation, many different teams, many different APIs and that is not easy. The Wayfair session resonates with my context and they will also talk about Backstage open source service catalog that I’m interested in.
  • Finding Ways to Measure the Complexity of an API Design – Stephen Mizell, API Consultant: I help people design APIs and I design APIs. It’s not always easy to evaluate if a design is complex or not. Sometimes it just feels complex or simple, and I don’t like that, relying on just baseless feeling. I would prefer to back my evaluation by something more concrete, true facts if possible. That’s why I really look forward to what Stephen has to say on that topic.
  • Mistakes to avoid during API Specification Reviews – Rahul Dighe, PayPal: I have done hundreds of API design reviews. I have learned much, found solutions to various situations, but sometimes they don’t work or I can face totally new situations. That’s why I’m always interested in learning from what others do because they may have found other solutions to the same problems or be in a totally different context facing different situations. 

The State of API Development and the Upcoming ASC 2021 – A closeup with Mandy Whaley, Azure Dev Tools, Microsoft

By Blog, Events

ASC 2021 is being held virtually Sept 28-29 this year with an incredible array of API experts, users, and enthusiasts. OpenAPI Specification (OAS), RAML, Blueprint, gRPC, OData, JSON Schema, GraphQL, and AsynchAPI will all be topics at ASC 2021, enabling attendees to get familiar with these formats and discuss how to use them in practice.

The event has its origins in the API Strategy and Practice Conference (APIStrat) which ran for many years and became part of the OpenAPI Initiative in 2016. The collaborative spirit and community from APIStrat continue with ASC, and we look forward to many lively conversations and debates this year!

To find out more about ASC 2021, we talked with Mandy Whaley, Partner Director of Product, Azure Developer Tools at Microsoft. Whaley is a life-long software developer who has worked in development teams of all sizes and types. The team she leads at Microsoft builds the Microsoft Azure SDK, Azure dev tools for Visual Studio and VS Code, and works with groups across the company on API design and developer experience. Whaley will be a keynote speaker at ASC 2021 and is a great example of the type of skilled, experienced, and – most importantly – accessible people who come and participate in ASC every year. 

What’s the biggest problem with API development in 2021? 

The biggest challenge right now is the tension between the demand for development velocity and the need to design and build consistent, easy to use APIs that are long lasting and stable. It’s a balancing act. 

This isn’t a new problem, of course, but APIs exist now in more layers and in more places than ever before. That means there are more teams involved and more dependencies.  Outcome focused, customer-centric API design powered by tools that help teams understand how developers actually use the APIs is critical. 

Many API development teams are also facing challenges related to scale, throttling, security, and long running operations. These are all areas where the API community has the opportunity to define patterns and practices that will help both API producers and consumers. 

How will API development be different in a year from now? 3 years from now? 

APIs are becoming a central part of how every team builds software. We see this happening as more teams adopt microservices, and as more companies rely on both internal and public APIs for core parts of the business. The types of APIs we build are also changing, and teams need to understand how to expand their API guidelines and design practices beyond REST. Over the next three years, API development is going to mature across all dimensions including security, tooling, testing, design, and observability. I am excited to be a part of the community working to create these new capabilities. 

How important are API skills for getting hired into your Dev Tools teams at Microsoft? 
Our team works on a broad scope of developer experience topics in the Developer Division at Microsoft.  We build VS Code and Visual Studio extensions as well as the Azure SDK. We also lead our Azure API Guidelines and architecture reviews. We work with teams on REST API design and on language-specific APIs for Python, JavaScript, Java, Go, and .NET. API skills are important for both our product management and engineering team members because every team member needs to be able to think through how an API or SDK detail will affect the developer experience. We look for API skills when hiring for senior level positions, and we mentor team members to help them grow their API skills. 

What do you personally hope to get out of presenting at ASC 2021? 

Practitioner-lead conferences are my favorite type of event. I am looking forward to connecting with other people who think deeply about APIs and work with all the possibilities and challenges related to designing, building, and maintaining APIs. I have learned so much from the API community and I am excited to give back by helping build a community where we all can learn from each other. 

Apart from presenting, is there one presentation in particular at ASC 2021 that you want to attend? 
I am eager to attend the full event and am blocking off time so I can attend with the same focused mindset that I would have at an in-person event – except with the bonus that I can be with my dogs and eat my favorite snacks at home. 

Here are just a few of the sessions that I am really excited about: 


OpenAPI Resources

To learn more about participate in the evolution of the OpenAPI Specification: https://www.openapis.org/participate/how-to-contribute

About the OpenAPI Initiative

The OpenAPI Initiative (OAI) was created by a consortium of forward-looking industry experts who recognize the immense value of standardizing on how APIs are described. As an open governance structure under the Linux Foundation, the OAI is focused on creating, evolving and promoting a vendor neutral description format. The OpenAPI Specification was originally based on the Swagger Specification, donated by SmartBear Software. To get involved with the OpenAPI Initiative, please visit https://www.openapis.org

About Linux Foundation

Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation is supported by more than 1,000 members and is the world’s leading home for collaboration on open source software, open standards, open data, and open hardware. Linux Foundation projects like Linux, Kubernetes, Node.js and more are considered critical to the development of the world’s most important infrastructure. Its development methodology leverages established best practices and addresses the needs of contributors, users and solution providers to create sustainable models for open collaboration. For more information, please visit us at linuxfoundation.org.

The API Specifications Conference (ASC 2020) – Hold the dates: Sept 9th-10th

By Announcement, Events

Mark your calendar for the return of this year’s API Specifications Conference (ASC)! This year we will be holding an all-digital event on September 9th and 10th, 9 am – 2 pm Pacific time. Join from the comfort of your own home—no hotels, no airfare, no line for the restroom.  

ASC 2020 includes keynotes, sessions, and breakouts on specifications and standards behind the cutting edge technologies that chart the future of APIs. Look forward to in-depth, forward looking and tutorial sessions on API specifications and standards including OpenAPI Specification, gRPC, AsyncAPI, GraphQL, RAML, API Blueprint, OData, JSON Schema, and others. In-depth discussions will not only enable attendees to get familiar with these specifications and standards, but actually use them in practice.

Registration and the Call for Talks are both open as of now: 

* Register at: http://www.cvent.com/d/pnqcfc/4W?ct=50221cf5-5496-4c34-9ec0-3b52b1bf1204

* Submit your talk at: https://sessionize.com/api-specifications-conference-2020/

* Submissions deadline: July 2

* ASC 2020 conference: Sept 9th-10th

Please mark these dates in your calendar and sharpen your pencils to submit a talk proposal. We’re looking forward to your proposals and participation that will make ASC 2020 a great event again this year.  If your company is interested in sponsoring the event please reach out to ascsponsorships@linuxfoundation.org for our sponsorship prospectus.

Photos from ASC 2019

By Blog, Events

ASC 2019 was a fantastic event! Thank you to everyone who came and participated. Great speakers, great interactions between sessions, and, wow, nice location! Vancouver is beautiful.

Here are some of the lasting images of the information-packed 3 days!

The First Batch Of APIStrat 2018 Nashville Keynotes Are Up

By Blog, Events

We recently published the schedule for APIStrat 2018 in Nashville, TN, and now we’ve published the first batch of keynote speakers for the event. We are pretty excited regarding the interest we’ve had in speaking at APIStrat this round, and the lineup we’ve managed to secure the main stage. Making for a pretty compelling set of voices for the 9th edition of APIStrat.

As we roll into August, we wanted to showcase four distinct voices we are bringing to the main stage in Nashville for this round of API Strategy & Practice:

Virginia Eubanks (@PopTechWorks)
Virginia Eubanks is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University at Albany, SUNY. She is the author of Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor; Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age; and co-editor, with Alethia Jones, of Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith. Her writing about technology and social justice has appeared in The American Prospect, The Nation, Harper’s and Wired. For two decades, Eubanks has worked in community technology and economic justice movements. Today, she is a founding member of the Our Data Bodies Project and a Fellow at New America. She lives in Troy, NY.

Kate O’Neill (@kateo)
Kate O’Neill, “tech humanist,” is founder and CEO of KO Insights, an award-winning thought leadership and advisory firm helping companies, organizations, and cities make future-aligned meaningful decisions based on human behavior and data. Author of 3 books including PIXELS AND PLACE: Connecting Human Experience Across Physical and Digital Spaces, Kate speaks regularly at industry conferences and private events, providing keynotes, participating in panel discussions, and leading creative brainstorming workshops for groups of all sizes.

Jenn Schiffer (@jennschiffer)
Jenn Schiffer is an engineer, artist and tech humorist. Most people know her for her incredible strength and also for being the Community Engineer of http://Glitch.com at Fog Creek. She organizes JerseyScript, a monthly web developer social in Jersey City where she’s based, and built everyone’s favorite free online pixel art editor, http://Make8BitArt.com .

Cristiano Betta (@cbetta)
Cristiano is a Developer Experience designer who helps companies small and large to improve their developer onboarding, activation, and support. He likes to look at great developer onboarding flows, analysing and documenting the best practices and pitfalls of common design practices. Although he has over 15 years of development experience he believes that at the core we’re all beginners at some things, and documentation and onboarding should reflect that notion. In the past he’s worked as a contractor, startup founder, event organiser, and developer advocate at PayPal.

We worked hard to continue bringing the leading API voices from across the space, but we felt it was also important to push forward the conversation on important issues that are relevant to the wider tech sector. We feel these four voices reflect the type of event we think the API sector needs in 2018, adding to the diverse set of personalities we’ve already brought together as part of the APIStrat session and workshop lineup.

Make sure you don’t miss out on the conversation this September 24th through 26th in Nashville, TN. Get registered for APIStrat 2018 today, and spend some time looking at the session and workshop lineup we have planned. We have more announcements coming so stay tune, and there are still opportunities to support APIStrat as a sponsor, so that you can help make sure the conversation that has been going on since 2013 continues.

We look forward to seeing you in Nashville September 24th through 26th!

We Are Extending The APIStrat Call For Papers Until Sunday At Midnight

By Blog, Events

We have gotten the usual rush of last minute folks worried if they’ll make the deadline for submitting their talk for APIStrat in Nashville, TN this September. We fully understand that people are business, and the deadline may have snuck up on them, so we are going to extend it until the end of the weekend, to give folks more time to slow down a bit and think more about their talk Saturday and Sunday.

It is important to us that you can get your talk in. While we do make some exceptions for late talk submissions, they aren’t always accepting because they don’t end up being reviewed by the entire committee. So, we encourage you to take the time and craft up the best title and abstract possible, and complete the CFP flow available on the website. Once submitted your talked will be reviewed by our rockstar lineup of judges.

We are looking forward to seeing you all in Nashville, TN this fall. We know that you have amazing stories that should be shared with the community, and are looking forward to having you on stage at APIStrat. This 9th edition of the API community conference is going to be one of the best yet, and as always we are looking for the most diverse API stories possible, with a lineup of speakers to rival previous years. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to help shape the ongoing API story that unfolds across the industry, which is being shaped by APIStrat and the OAI foundation.

DevSum17: OpenAPI v3 – The Evolution of API Descriptions

By Events

DevSum17
Stockholm, Sweden
June 8-9, 2017


The work on OpenAPI V3 is nearing completion.  What became popular as Swagger, has evolved into a new version of the specification, under the umbrella of the Linux Foundation and supported by many of the largest tech companies.

Open V3 has many improvements and new features to help you describe your APIs.  These will allow developers to describe many HTTP APIs that previously couldn’t be described with Swagger and  result in better client libraries and better documentation.

Whether you are new to OpenAPI, or have lots of experience with Swagger, this talk will contain plenty of  information about how to use OpenAPI and it’s new capabilities.  Not only will this talk provide you with what has changed you will also get insight into why the changes were made.

Come join me, and let OpenAPI take your APIs to the next level.

Level: Intermediate