REST API Notes for 2018/10/01 - APIStrat Recap

Hello, and welcome to this special REST API Notes recap of the 2018 API Strategy and Practice (or #APIStrat) Conference!

I last attended in 2016. That event ended on a strange, perhaps even bitter, note. The people behind the event had a series of challenges throughout the year; from family emergencies to business difficulties. It painted a pall over the proceedings and, by the final panel, made me uncertain about not just the conference, but the future of the larger API community.

I've been a professional long enough to have lived through several "technology commodifications". Take, for example, "mobile". Shortly after the release of Apple's first iPhone, there were a number of user groups, conferences, bloggers, and dedicated consultants that sprang up championing this new way of doing things. Multiple days a week, you could drop in on an event that was not just championing a technique or framework, but the idea that this pocket computers were going to be a big thing.

Today, while you might still find communities of practice around a specific mobile technology, the necessary cheer-leading over 'doing mobile' has faded away. Everybody gets it. Gathering together in groups to validate each other's hunch about the future isn't necessary. 'Mobile' has become part of culture, and the lack of speed at which culture changes makes programming a monthly, general-purpose meetup with exciting, new stuff difficult.

The 2016 APIStrat made me wonder if APIs had crossed over into that area of commodification. The time since then, of course, shows that isn't the case at all. Most weeks since then I've plenty to share. The ongoing microservices challenges have been a regular source of interest. Event driven architectures and service meshes have been emerging areas of practice. Even more nuanced understanding of API platforms and their proper care and feeding have continued to grow and morph.

That energy was reflected in the 2018 event. From the professionally designed signage, to the beautiful venue, to the revised format I felt the excitement of the API space embodied in the API event. Even though APIs may be 'old', they appear to be just as fluid and adaptable series of topics as the architectural style itself.

Those were my impressions. Of course, there were also numerous presentations that caught my attention:

  • Arnauld Lauret, the API Handyman, had an IKEA-themed deck on 'The Design of Everyday APIs'. I'm not sure how much of the intent comes across without the narration. However, Arnauld's deck shows how to not settle for traditional, drab PowerPoint.
  • Shaun Gallagher presented 'The Evolving API: Designing While Requirements are Still in Flux'. I appreciated the message. While we'd all probably prefer a clean start when creating an API, Shaun's advice is necessary for those of us working in reality.
  • Lou Powell shared a compelling deck, 'APIs as a Product'. I've been a passionate advocate of any technique or strategy that flips the inside-out to outside-in thinking when creating APIs. This talk is the latest fuel for that argument.
  • James Higginbotham, a frequent collaborator with Capital One, keynoted with his talk, 'Lessons in Tranforming the Enterprise to an API Platform'. Building APIs is one thing. But having them as part of a comprehensive business strategy is another.

Finally, I want to also mention the fantastic presentations by two other keynotes, Virginia Eubanks (Author of Automating Inequality) and Jenn Schiffer (Community Engineer at Glitch). Seeing them present live was a treat. If you get the opportunity to attend a talk by either of them in the future, I'd recommend that you go.


Of course, not everything in the world of APIs was happening in Nashville. I'd be remiss if I didn't also mention these important pieces:


WRAPPING UP was recently updated with Meetups through October. It will be a busy month but I know there may be something I missed. Do you have an event that should be there? Shoot me an email:

Thank you is also due to my Patreon sponsors who help defray the caffeine that powers me through the late nights and early mornings pulling this stuff together. I'm flattered by the support! Some fun tokens of my appreciation are coming soon. ;)

Till next time, Matthew

@libel_vox and

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