Open API Economy: a meetup

I am, periodically, asked by friends in the technology sector* whether the discussion around APIs is equivalent to the Web 2.0 buzz at the beginning of the decade. In many circles, the words of Shakespeare are quoted when referring to conversations about new technology:

…it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing

In truth…most people who quote that leave out the reference to idiots (a minor kindness).

The discussion of APIs, however, differs greatly. I could enumerate, in painful detail, exactly how APIs are affecting/have affected the industry today. But most of you, as readers, are already familiar with the concept.

Instead, let me provide you an example of the interest that is being generated in the concept of Open APIs.

This evening, at the Twilio office in San Francisco…36ish people will gather to be part of the Open API Economy Meetup. That, in and of itself, is not terribly surprising. What is important, is taking a look at the topics that are slated as potentials for discussion:

  • Keeping an open platform while supporting the core business
  • Unexpected challenges, lessons learned, battle stories
  • Attracting and cultivating a developer community
  • The API standards issue
  • Developing partnerships
  • Metrics for success
  • Effect and opportunities of cloud computing
  • Security, versioning, and evolution of the API
  • Choices around methods, design, markup, etc.
  • REST vs SOAP

Not only are these important topics…these are the RIGHT topics to be discussed.

I am, unfortunately, unable to attend this particular session…However, the topics identified above have prompted some interesting thought processes. For example, when developing our Commerce APIs** we were faced with the decision of REST vs SOAP. Over the course of the next week, I will discuss the thought process that went into our decision process as well as items to keep in mind when planning your own API strategy (for partnership in commerce, or for other implementations).

At its simplest, I am thrilled that this level of discussion is occurring in technology in general. The prevalence of APIs (particularly those that are “open”***) is what will truly drive innovation in all sectors of business over the upcoming few years. The extensive experience that IP Commerce has in providing payment APIs to software companies provides perspective that is of value.

What’s your perspective? Agree? Disagree? Anything to add? Critiques? The comment form is below…In particular, if there are items from the list above you desire addressed in writing, I am happy to oblige.

* Particularly those who know me from my government consulting or enterprise retail days…
** Commerce Web Services in particular
*** “Open” as a definition is another topic that is worthy of discussion

June 17, 2010

2 responses to Open API Economy: a meetup

  1. Shanley Kane said:

    Hi Tyler- thanks for the support! Really sorry you won't be able to make it this time but next time for sure; would love to hear your process/thoughts/wisdom from building the commerce APIs. I definitely share your perspective on how much APIs are shaping the market; actually there was a great article just this morning in InfoWorld on how APIs are changing the retail space: Glad to see a community forming to discuss these and related topics. Looking forward to meeting you in person soon!! 🙂 Cheers, Shanley

  2. tylerhannan said:

    Shanley, thanks heaps! I hope the meeting went well…the concept of API for retail is rather interesting and merits both more pondering and, perhaps, a conversation.

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