REST API Notes for 2018-02-07

Last week, the API Days 2018 Conference was held in Paris. While I couldn't attend in person, I dutifully collected the best info coming from that event to share. Here, in no particular order, are the highlights from the conference.


I've been, increasingly, taking note of Erik Wilde's presentations. He's been applying his keen eye to the fundamentals of web based communication and discovering gold. His latest, a reminder on the power of 'shared vocabularies', is fantastic. A snippet:

"APIs establish a language between providers and consumers of the provided service. The more this language can be based on well-known vocabularies, the easier it is to design this language for the API provider, and to understand the language for the API consumer. Web Concepts provide a starting point for such a "shared vocabulary", and can be constrained or extended depending on API provider needs. This presentation looks at the general idea of "API as languages", provides a brief overview of the "language components" currently available via, and presents ways how these concepts can be tailored to address the needs of API managers and developers."


Erik's colleague at CA's API Academy, Ronnie Mitra, also presented a great talk on the intersection of hard tech and soft, squishy humans. He introduces Hubert and Stuart Dreyfus. Together, they created the "Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition". It is a model for identifying what people need, and when, in order to be successful.

The 'so what?' is that plenty of that model applies to API design. An API design that is intuitively obvious to everyone, immediately doesn't exist. How do we onboard new integrations logically, with as little fuss as possible? Ronnie's research has some clues.


The mysterious, yet knowledgeable, "Z" provides yet another provocative resource for API developers and strategists alike. In this summation of the lessons he's learned while working with web APIs, he talks broadly about the power of APIs to disrupt traditional businesses. The key is providing a uniform interface to a host of providers - think IFTTT. As somebody who has been carefully thinking about Ben Thompson's Aggregation Theory, particularly around APIs, this resonates.

The deck is mostly standalone. If, or when, the video or text for the talk is provided I'll be sure to pass it on.


Last, but not least, is a deck from Pauline Pham. How to effectively incite (survive?) IT culture change has been at the forefront of my mind. Pauline makes an impassioned case about how successful API design cannot just be a 'tech thing'. Further she advocates an API-product-thinking approach that I can wholeheartedly endorse.


Zooming out past web APIs, I wanted to take a moment to mark the passing of John Perry Barlow. An Internet pioneer and the founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, John was a staunch advocate for a web grander than ecommerce and cat gifs (although it could be that too). I am taking the news harder than I had expected, and I wrote a bit about why.

Picture of John Perry Barlow Mohamed Nanabhay from Qatar, used under a CC BY 2.0 License


There have been numerous additions to in the past several weeks, including the just announced REST Fest Midwest. Do you have an event that should be included? Shoot me an email at ''.

Til next time,


@libel_vox and

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