Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Kevin Jackson, Harry Trott, Kevin Benedict, Jenny Fong, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, @CloudExpo

@ThingsExpo: Blog Feed Post

Look Beyond The Mobile or Web Client To The Internet of Things

Ten API Commandments for Consumers

Kin Lane, the API Evangelist, has produced a list of the Ten API Commandments for Providers. It's a very good list, including privacy, security, and documentation. I encourage everyone to read it and comment.
What about the corresponding list for API Consumers? Although I don't want to compare myself to a biblical figure (or indeed to Kin Lane :) ), here is my crack at a list of API commandments for consumers:

1. Protect your API Keys. API Keys are often issued to developers through an API Portal to use in their apps. These API Key allow developers to access apps. Sometimes the keys are used in conjunction with OAuth, or sometimes they are used in a pure API Key based authentication scheme. It is natural for developers to use Github as a repository for their code. But, what if the API Key is baked into the code of your API consumer app? Ross Penham recently wrote about the disturbing amount of API Keys which he found in Github. A good solution is to use an API Gateway to manage the API keys, separately from the API consumer application itself.


2. Understand how APIs affect your client app's performance. If an API call is slow, then your app is slow. Users may then understandably complain. What if the problem is not your app itself, but an API it's consuming? How you can isolate the problem, so that you can see how a slow API is affecting your users? The answer is to have Root-Cause Analysis in place for your APIs. Here is an example of how you can track the response times of the SalesForce.com API. Here is another example, this time from the mobile telco 3 in the UK. In this way, you can point your finger at the problem, and apply root-cause analysis.

3. Apply the "Missing SLA". API Providers often do not provide a Service Level Agreement (SLA). Unless you are a very large corporation, spending a lot of money on API calls, you may not be able to force them to put an API in place for you. Again taking the example the SalesForce.com API, here is a walk-through with videos of how you can apply monitoring and an SLA in place for your outbound API calls.

4. Think about the data. When calling an API, it's natural to think about the security of the API call itself. Commandment #1 above is about securing the keys used for the API call. But what about the data being sent to the API? In many cases, you can think of an API as a conduit for data. If this data contains anything private, in terms of what is called PII (Personally Identifiable Information), then it must be encrypted, redacted, tokenized, or removed by an API Gateway.

5. Plan beyond asynchronous request response - think about WebSockets, AMQP, MQTT, and CoAP. HTML WebSockets are an exciting technology which we're seeing customers begin to leverage for their API consumption. WebSockets brings some great capabilities, such as full-duplex communication with the capability for APIs to "push" data to the client. But, it also brings security questions, and a veritable alphabet soup of new protocols beyond HTTP. The good news is that companies like Axway are thinking about the interplay and security of these new protocols. For more reading, I recommend checking out December's AMQP WebSocket Binding (WSB) which was drafted with help from my Axway colleague Dale Moburg.

6. Loose Coupling. Yes, "Loose Coupling" is something that isn't new - in fact it is a dictum of SOA-based integration from ten years ago. However, it is just as relevant now. Don't hard-code your API consumer to a particular version of an API. In fact, by putting an API Gateway in place, you don't even have to hard-code your API to a particular API (e.g. you can switch between different storage services).

7. Don't hate HATEOAS. HATEOAS is something that some API developers struggle to understand (or even pronounce), but it is very valuable because HATEOAS provides a framework for API calls which describe the "flow" of calls which a client can make. Even if you don't plan on using HATEOAS initially, and are just constructing quick-and-dirty API calls using string manipulation, it is still worth understanding.

8. Look beyond the Mobile or Web client to the Internet of Things. Until recently, API clients were assumed to usually be mobile devices. In fact, if you see a diagram on a Powerpoint slide of an API being called, it is usually a mobile app which is doing the calling. Now, we're moving on to the "Internet of Things" (IoT). IoT raises interesting requirements for API Consumers. For example, how can a low-powered device (like a lightbulb) perform the requisite processing required to access an API? What about devices which have intermittent Internet connections (e.g. a Connected Car, which may not always be online). At Axway, we've produced a Webinar and associated White Paper with Gunnar Peterson on the new security requirements when accessing APIs in the Internet of Things. I encourage folks to check this out.

9. Take a broad view of APIs: XML is unfashionable but still exists. If you look at some APIs used in business-to-business contexts, you often see the more heavyweight XML-based standards like AS2 and ebXML used. For example, later this week we are running a Webinar about accessing Australian Government "Superfund" services, and this uses an API which heavily XML-based. You won't find "I AS2" or "I ebXML" written on a sticker on the back of a MacBook Pro anytime soon, but if you are writing API Consumer apps which will access Enterprise APIs, you ignore these older types of APIs at your peril.

10. Spread the word. Here I echo Kin's commandment to spread the word - to evangelize - your API exploits. In the case of API Consumers, this is just as important as API Providers. On our API Workshop tours, we've had API practitioners speaking about how they are using APIs. Watch this space for news on our upcoming API Workshops, and feel free to get in touch if you have any great API Consumer stories, or tips to add to these Ten Commandments :)

More Stories By Mark O'Neill

Mark O'Neill is VP Innovation at Axway - API and Identity. Previously he was CTO and co-founder at Vordel, which was acquired by Axway. A regular speaker at industry conferences and a contributor to SOA World Magazine and Cloud Computing Journal, Mark holds a degree in mathematics and psychology from Trinity College Dublin and graduate qualifications in neural network programming from Oxford University.

@CloudExpo Stories
What does it look like when you have access to cloud infrastructure and platform under the same roof? Let’s talk about the different layers of Technology as a Service: who cares, what runs where, and how does it all fit together. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Lead Technology Evangelist at SoftLayer, an IBM company, spoke about the picture being painted by IBM Cloud and how the tools being crafted can help fill the gaps in your IT infrastructure.
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
More and more companies are looking to microservices as an architectural pattern for breaking apart applications into more manageable pieces so that agile teams can deliver new features quicker and more effectively. What this pattern has done more than anything to date is spark organizational transformations, setting the foundation for future application development. In practice, however, there are a number of considerations to make that go beyond simply “build, ship, and run,” which changes ho...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ReadyTalk, a leading provider of online conferencing and webinar services, has been named Vendor Presentation Sponsor at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ReadyTalk delivers audio and web conferencing services that inspire collaboration and enable the Future of Work for today’s increasingly digital and mobile workforce. By combining intuitive, innovative tec...
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their backend AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT - especially in the connected home and office. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Kocher, founder and managing director of Grey Heron, explained how Amazon is extending its reach to become a major force in IoT by building on its dominant cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strat...
Connected devices and the industrial internet are growing exponentially every year with Cisco expecting 50 billion devices to be in operation by 2020. In this period of growth, location-based insights are becoming invaluable to many businesses as they adopt new connected technologies. Knowing when and where these devices connect from is critical for a number of scenarios in supply chain management, disaster management, emergency response, M2M, location marketing and more. In his session at @Th...
Your business relies on your applications and your employees to stay in business. Whether you develop apps or manage business critical apps that help fuel your business, what happens when users experience sluggish performance? You and all technical teams across the organization – application, network, operations, among others, as well as, those outside the organization, like ISPs and third-party providers – are called in to solve the problem.
Digital Initiatives create new ways of conducting business, which drive the need for increasingly advanced security and regulatory compliance challenges with exponentially more damaging consequences. In the BMC and Forbes Insights Survey in 2016, 97% of executives said they expect a rise in data breach attempts in the next 12 months. Sixty percent said operations and security teams have only a general understanding of each other’s requirements, resulting in a “SecOps gap” leaving organizations u...
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his Day 2 Keynote at @ThingsExpo, Henrik Kenani Dahlgren, Portfolio Marketing Manager at Ericsson, discussed how to plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change t...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
It's easy to assume that your app will run on a fast and reliable network. The reality for your app's users, though, is often a slow, unreliable network with spotty coverage. What happens when the network doesn't work, or when the device is in airplane mode? You get unhappy, frustrated users. An offline-first app is an app that works, without error, when there is no network connection. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bradley Holt, a Developer Advocate with IBM Cloud Data Services, discussed...
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
The pace of innovation, vendor lock-in, production sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and managing risk… In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Dan Choquette, Founder of RackN, discussed how CIOs are challenged finding the balance of finding the right tools, technology and operational model that serves the business the best. He also discussed how clouds, open source software and infrastructure solutions have benefits but also drawbacks and how workload and operational portability between vendors ...
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
"A lot of times people will come to us and have a very diverse set of requirements or very customized need and we'll help them to implement it in a fashion that you can't just buy off of the shelf," explained Nick Rose, CTO of Enzu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.