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Introduction to The 6 Insights of API Practice (Bill Doerrfeld)


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This is a session given by Bill Doerrfeld at Nordic APIs 2016 Platform Summit on October 25th, in Stockholm Sweden.


At Nordic APIs, our goal is to help businesses make smart tech decisions using APIs. To that end, via events and content Nordic APIs has treaded the business and technical sides to consider holistic best practices for providing an API. In this introductory Summit keynote talk, I’ll introduce what we’ve learned in the form of 6 core tenants of API practice which we’ve also designed this conference to address. Together they define a functional and evolving API:

Platformification: Becoming an API-first company means undergoing a platformification process. This represents a global trend that many argue needs to be adopted to keep your business competitive within the digital economy.
Strategy: Even before development begins, it’s important to consider your core API strategy. This is a defensible position that aligns your tech with platform goals, strategically exposing internal assets catered to an industry niche.
Business Models: APIs have the power to improve efficiency, reduce overhead cost, open up complementary revenue streams, extend R&D, or even alter an existing business model entirely. Thus, you’ll want to determine the right monetization method that improves overall business and leads to end profitability.
Security: With new major data breaches reaching the public ear every month, the importance of digital security can never be underestimated. For APIs, much of that lies in monitoring usage, access management, and identity control.
Design: No developer wants to use an API with an ugly developer portal, unintuitive URL structures, outdated technology, or terrible lag time. In order to keep your developer consumer happy, paint the API portal and overall developer experience with an aesthetic brush.
Marketing: In order to spark adoption, you need to have more than awesome functionality. I’ll review evangelism and discovery techniques you can use to get an API in the hands of more developer users.

We’ll look at specific successful implementations of these philosophies in the wild, and mention examples from our blog and eBook content that have brought in industry experts to share their insights. I’ll initiate dialogue and open the conference up to see where we’re heading. What you can get out of embracing the core tenants of API practice?

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Introduction to The 6 Insights of API Practice (Bill Doerrfeld)

  1. 1. Nordic APIs 2016 Platform Summit Welcome! Architect and design your APIs on the scale of decades
  2. 2. • Workshops: what was learned? • Trajectory for the next two days • Business vs technical tracks • 6 Insights • Nordic APIs mission Welcome to this year's event
  3. 3. • Platforms are being formed everywhere • Shifting our society • APIs are the enabler of this transformation • API Platforms are business critical • Platforms are a long-term play Why a "platform" summit?
  4. 4. Thank you!
  5. 5. Produced by
  6. 6. Spread the word! @nordicapis #nordicapis
  7. 7. Introduction to the Art of API Practice 2016 Platform Summit Stockholm, Sweden Bill Doerrfeld @DoerrfeldBill Slides available:
  8. 8. "REST is software design on the scale of decades: every detail is intended to promote software longevity and independent evolution. Many of the constraints are directly opposed to short-term efficiency. " -Roy Fielding Inspiration:
  9. 9. Why Build for Decades? ➢ APIs will prevail ➢ Coding "just enough" rarely stands the test of time ➢ Helps focus on entire system needs ➢ Avoid inadaptability as technology evolves ➢ "Agile" shouldn't negate future planning ➢ But most importantly...
  10. 10. API Practice is an Art
  11. 11. The 6 Insights
  12. 12. Insight #1 Platform • Onboarding: why become API-first? • Validation: Successful model API Platforms • Momentum: Tracking disruption, large industry movement • Leadership: "Convincing the Architect," intrapreneurship.
  13. 13. An API Platform is when... ➢ The API enables access to the organization’s core value proposition ➢ Is technically and non-technically scalable ➢ Enables consumers to create shared value ➢ Is instrumental in securing the organization’s position as a market leader ➢ Is seen by top management as business critical
  14. 14. Onboarding: Why be API-fied? • It’s strategic for most companies to have an API • APIs enable business to become more niche • APIs affect all industries • APIs empower entrepreneurs • An economy has formed
  15. 15. Validation: Great API stories ● Consolidation of content streaming pipeline ● Disrupted entertainment industry ● Heightened brand awareness ● Profit generation ● Facilitated move to server provider ● Advertising benefits ● Competitive edge ● Embeddable service
  16. 16. Momentum: Industry at Large ● 16,000+ APIs ● Composable ● Impacted sectors: ○ IT, DevOps, IoT, consumer experiences, mobile, data analytics, AI, & many more...
  17. 17. Leadership: The API Intrapreneur • "Convincing the Architect" : (Perhaps we're beyond this) • Disseminating best practices • Fostering internal culture • Security • Agility • Style Guide
  18. 18. Insight #2 Strategy • Valuation: Determine the value of digital assets • Niche: Carve out unique value • Provisioning: Decide who sees what • Forecast: Respond to tech evolution
  19. 19. Valuation: Asset Valuation • Types of APIs • Data: GET User data, profile data, • Ex. Financial data • Functionality: Processing. • Ex. Payment API • Infrastructure: What internal processes could others benefit from? • Ex. Github's Hubot
  20. 20. Niche: Create Unique Value
  21. 21. Provisioning: Release in tiers Private PublicPartner
  22. 22. ➢ How will industries that rely on APIs evolve? ○ IoT ○ B2B ○ FinTech ○ Healthcare ○ Marketing ○ Utilities ○ Green tech ○ AI Forecast: Engage with Evolution
  23. 23. Insight #3 Business Models • Monetization: Monetize as own product • Premium: Package as upsell • Indirect ROI: content distribution, R&D, ... • Economy: Companies whose business is APIs ● John Musser 20+ Business Models ● Rob Zazueta 5 Monetization Models Resources:
  24. 24. Monetization: How to monetize? • Free • Freemium • Help developers grow • Ex. Affectiva offers free SDK & API for small businesses • Direct Charge • Per call • subscription ● How to Grow and Profit Using a Freemium API Monetization Model Resources:
  25. 25. Premium: Package as upsell • Increase integration capability • Customization • Ex. Safety Culture
  26. 26. Indirect ROI: Other benefits? • R&D • Ex. Tweetie acquired by Twitter • Advertising • Private API: • Operational efficiency • Supply chain management • Business intelligence • & more...
  27. 27. Economy: Analyze the Market • FinTech, Open banking movement • AI • IPOs; Twilio • Sectors for exploitation with APIs • Novel companies ● Ten New Breeds of API Businesses... ● CMA Will Save Open Banking APIs... Resources:
  28. 28. Insight #4 Design • Style: API behavior, best practices • Development: Tools for construction • Reference: Ways to present an API to machines & humans • Testing: Testing throughout API lifecycle
  29. 29. Style: Industry best practices • Type: REST / SOAP. GraphQL • Data formats: JSON, YAML, • Style considerations: ● API Handyman’s API Stylebook Resources: # of Endpoints Asynchronicity Filtering Pagination Data Format Error Handling HTTP Methods Caching Hypermedia and More...
  30. 30. Development: Editors • API Design Editors, many open source • Design —> documentation publishing, hosting, management, or more. Examples: ● Industry Guide on API Design, Kin Lane Resources:
  31. 31. Reference: Documentation • API Definitions: • Machine vs Human readable ● What is the Difference Between API Documentation, Specification, and Definition? Resources:
  32. 32. Testing: Continuously watching • API Testing • API Monitoring • Analytics • Virtualization Postman API Fortress Runscope
  33. 33. "the effort required to design something is inversely proportional to the simplicity of the result. " -Roy Fielding Inspiration:
  34. 34. Insight #5 Security • Identity: Tracking consumer identity • Access: Protecting resources • Vulnerabilities: Common hacking methods and ways to prevent • Debugging: To prevent exploits or major system failures
  35. 35. Insight #6 Marketing • Discovery: How is your API found? • Dev Portal: docs, SDK, code samples, • Advocacy: Support for customers; DevRel • Promotion: How to actively evangelize an API?
  36. 36. Discovery: How find API? • SEO: Google • Optimize API banding, copy, keyword frequency • separate homepages for each API • List in Directories: • Services Discovery Automation ● Tips to Improve Discoverability of your API Resources:
  37. 37. Dev Portal: 7 Ingredients for a Superb Dev Center ● 7 Ingredients That Make Up a Superb Developer Center Resources: Getting Started Guide Authentication Guide API Documentation Testing Console Dev Resources (code sample, SDK, libraries) Support Channels Platform Policy
  38. 38. Advocacy: Developer Relations • Dev outreach increases: • Awareness • Understanding • Vision • Ways to form a community: • Email, chat, forum, conferences, Knowledge base, blog, content, demos, use cases ● DevRel: How to Offer Unparalleled Developer Outreach Resources:
  39. 39. Promotion: How evangelize an API? • Press Releases • API Blogs & Digests • Social channels • Hackernews, Product Hunt, Beta List,, Reddit. ● Utilizing Product Hunt to Launch Your API Resources:
  40. 40. "The Web is now philosophical engineering. Physics and the Web are both about the relationship between the small and the large." -Tim Berners-Lee Inspiration:
  41. 41. A Balanced Release
  42. 42. “Building on the scale of decades must inherently consider all aspects of API practice, including things like dev relations and business acumen, as this will inform technical development.” -Me :) Final Thought:
  43. 43. • Architect and Design APIs on the Scale of Decades • Assemble knowledge from conference • Contributed posts from speakers & blog team • Release: Q1 2017 • Follow progress: Leanpub The Art of API Practice [eBook]
  44. 44. Nordic APIs Knowledge Center Marketing Strategy Business Security Platforms • 10 eBooks for free download. Examples:
  45. 45. Thanks!
  46. 46. Keep in touch! • Follow us on Twitter: @NordicAPIs • Sign up for our Newsletter: • Follow our blog: • Contributions are welcome!
  47. 47. Thank you! Produced by: