API Days

This week I was in London attending the ApiDays event. Once a year I participate in an external event, in addition to studying alone, it is important to meet professional colleagues and talk about what happens in the trenches. To my surprise, AI was not the central topic, I watched around 30 lectures and only 4 were specifically about AI. Two major themes at the event:

API Governance: Emphasis given to the API lifecycle: definition->design->development-> testing->publication->operation. What I’ll take home:

  • The importance of documentation is the central point of your API, whether consumed by developers or read by robots.
  • The role of patterns in design. This is a growing market and your consumers expect you to follow OpenAPI, AsyncAPI, Semantic Versioning, HTTP response codes, Protocol Buffers definition language.
  • Your operation must provide freedom of choice, do not assume a cloud provider, do not force a gateway, be open.

Democratization of APIs: Here there are 2 views that are converging, on the one hand experts say that we should develop APIs thinking about devops and gitops. This vision places great importance on the governance aspects mentioned in the previous item; In addition, this vision highlights interoperability and composability as essential attributes for modern APIs. On the other hand, if we look at the most common composition of companies, only 10% are in the technology area (Gartner research shown in one of the lectures); We have 49% end users and 41% classified as business technologists. These 41% create technology or analysis solutions based on the solutions that the IT areas provide. They coined the term ‘post-API economy world’ to embrace these people who should have easy access to APIs. The simpler it is, the easier it will be for innovative products to emerge from the available information provided. This second vision focuses on open and public APIs, ecosystems and marketplaces.

I will mention 2 tools that I tested at the event and found fantastic:

Superface.ai: OK, there are API catalogs, we know the concept of observability, how do we deal with APIs that are similar but have different formats? Think of wttr.in and OpenWeatherMap, both of which allow you to see if it’s going to rain in London today. But the similarity ends there, it is necessary to write code for each of them. Furthermore, if one of them is unavailable, you are responsible for routing the order. Superface deals with this: (1) you say what your contract is (2) Superface has autonomous agents that discover APIs consistent with your contract and maps your contract to the contract of the APIs it found. (ok, there’s AI here🙂)

Postman mocking servers: I often use Postman to test APIs, and I discovered that you can prototype your API in it. Design your methods, specify contracts from examples, and Postman creates documentation and an endpoint. When I wanted to think about an API, I used httpbin, this is much cooler.