03 Nov 2015
When planning the API Strategy & Practice Conference, the team works very hard to make the speaker and session line up reflect what we see across the API space. The conference is meant to be an open, non-vendor and non-product focus, discussion about what individuals and companies are facing when it comes to being API providers, as well as API consumers.
When we closed the call for papers for APIStrat this year, it was clear that API consumption would be one of the sessions, but as we progressed in the process of locking down talks it was clear that API consumption should be something that we should move to the main stage. To help highlight the importance of this discussion, I wanted to ask Mark Boyd (@mgboydcom), the conference chair for APIStrat his thoughts on why we did this:
This year has seen two major API consumption challenges: For API providers looking to continue their growth, 2015 has often been about putting their API in front of non-dev users and making their API accessible to a wider audience. We're seeing an increasing use of tools like Google Sheets and slackbot integrations trying to make API functionality available to people who don't code. For businesses and enterprises generally, the increasing use of external APIs has meant more challenges for dev teams in aggregating APIs and using multiple APIs consistently. Each API they are using might come with different terms of service, differing rate limits, different terminology for the same subject matter, and different ways of measuring units. For example, most API consumers I hear from are frustrated that each API they use seems to have a different way of measuring and displaying time formats!
As APIs keep growing in mainstream business use, there becomes a tipping point in scaling the API economy where it starts adding complexity rather than removing it. We think that 2015 is that tipping point and we need to start solving how end users can consume APIs without it creating new challenges for them. We've got some of the best minds who are thinking through how to solve these issues - Mark Geene from Cloud Elements, Paul Katsen from Blockspring, Taylor Barnett from Keen IO, Kirsten Hunter from Akamai, Noam Schwartz from Similar Web, and Todd Sundsted from SumAll have all navigated their way through making their APIs accessible to others or building an abstraction layer so that all the APIs they are consuming are working in unison. This will be a great panel session for API providers who want to make it easier for their developer community to consume their APIs, and great for API consumers to learn some of the tools and tricks that can make it easier to integrate external APIs into their own work.
I think Mark nails it. For me, this session moving to the main stage demonstrates that APIs are going mainstream, as more, and more of the "normals" are tuning into the API conversation. The API consumption panel at APIStrat this month includes:
All of these panel participants are API providers, service providers, as well as consumers -- making for a pretty potent discussion about APIs. These companies are all very aware of the challenges API consumers face, because they are doing it at scale. If you are an API provider looking for the best advice on how to streamline use of your API, these are the people you want to tune into.
As part of the storytelling around @APIStrat, I will be digging deeper into each of these companies, and profiling what they contribute to the API space. APIStrat is a little over two weeks away, so make sure you are registered, before all the tickets are sold--take a look at the schedule, and make sure you are main stage to listen to Mark, Paul, Taylor, Kirsten, Todd, and Noam discuss API consumption in Austin.