Should API documentation be a part of API strategy from Day One? Technical writer Jennifer Rondeau gives the case for this potentially most important part of developer experience.Read More
API Economist: Congratulations on a successful APIdays San Francisco! You had a great turnout of experts.
Mehdi Medjaoui: Thank you! This was the first time there has been an API conference where all major API vendors contributed their experts as speakers. We had a good mix of experts not only representing start-ups such as Runscope but large companies such as Intel, SAP, and Salesforce. The API economy is vibrant. Every year that passes more APIs are being published and integrated into the apps, websites, and online services we use every day.
API Economist: You founded the first APIdays conference in Europe with events in Paris and Madrid. How did you get inspired?
Mehdi Medjaoui: It all started with our vision at Webshell to help make the glue of APIs that build the programmable web and the Internet operating system. We can make technology the glue but we also need the glue of humans behind the APIs in the real world because ultimately everything is human-powered. That was the inspiration to create an event to gather all of the API influencers and experts together to help advance the API economy.Read More
API Economist: Your article, APIs are Dead, Long Live APIs, created a little bit of a stir. What point were you trying to drive?
John Sheehan: I think it created a stir because people don't want to think that something so new could be “dead.” I was hoping to make the point that they're far from it; that the amount of attention that the consumer APIs out there get is disproportionate to the amount of total API traffic they handle.
I spend a lot of time talking with people, finding out where they actually use APIs, where they apply it most. The two things I hear most common are, "Yeah, we might use a social API here and there," or "Yeah, we might use an infrastructure API like Stripe, SendGrid, Twilio, or Parse" but the vast majority of our traffic is powering our mobile apps or internal to our company and never exposed externally. That's where most of the uptake has really happened in the last year.Read More
API Economist: There’s been a lot said on Jeff Bezos’ big mandate issued back in 2002. If I understand it correctly, it basically stated that all your teams internally would be required to expose their data and their functionality through APIs. How has this mandate impacted the growth and innovation you've seen in AWS?
Jeff Barr: The effort is very, very real. It has been for quite a while. From where I stand, it seems like a really strong, positive impact. I think back to before I joined Amazon and I was a guest at a little developer conference that we were holding. It was just me and three or four outside developers that were brought in to get a sneak preview of what Amazon was thinking in the web services world. This was around the spring of 2002.Read More
API Economist: I heard this quote, “Not having an API today is like not having a web site circa mid-90s.” Do you agree or disagree with this and why?
Byron Sebastian: No, I don't agree with it, I think it is a small minded way of thinking about the Internet and our industry.
APIs are a worthy technique used by developers to exchange data and data processing tasks. Right now APIs appear to be a critical part of the information revolution, one of the most important transformations in the history of civilization.
So I wouldn't compare APIs to building websites in the 90s, I'd compare APIs to the wheel, or the library, or mass production. It's both as big as those concepts and, once in your consciousness, as obvious (as "duh") as them.