July 6th, 2012

OpenID Connect: Live Tech Talk July 10 9am PDT

OpenID ConnectOur Tech Talks strive to focus on the most interesting and relevant API Management topics for both developers and publishers. And as new and evolving protocols emerge, we want to provide a forum for developers and publishers alike to discuss these protocols in an open discussion forum. So with that in mind, our next Tech Talk will focus on OpenID Connect.

OpenID Connect is an emerging standard that adds federated authentication to OAuth 2.0-enabled systems. It’s a suite of lightweight specifications that provide a framework for identity interactions via RESTful APIs. And in its simplest deployment, OpenID Connect allows all types of clients including browser-based, mobile and javascript to request and receive information about identities and currently authenticated sessions.

So, it’s a relatively simple protocol that helps make authenticating complicated scenarios easier. And let’s be honest – simple and easy are always welcome when it comes to securing RESTful APIs. Authorization and authentication are now available using only one technology. This makes life easier for anyone looking to secure their APIs.

But of course, questions always arise when discussing the various implementation scenarios for OpenID Connect. That’s why we’re excited to welcome Senior Software Developer Sascha Preibisch as our special guest for our July 10 Tech Talk Tuesday. He will answer any OpenID Connect questions you may have – so get those questions ready and join us on July 10 at 9am PDT.

Here’s how to join the discussion:

Click here to get a reminder in your calendar.

On the day of the event, join on Livestream or Facebook:
»  livestream.com/layer7live
»  facebook.com/layer7

Tuesday, July 10 | 9am PDT | 12pm EDT | 5pm BST

Submit your questions:
Tweet using the tag #Layer7Live
Email techtalk@layer7.com
Check in & Chat through Facebook

June 29th, 2012

Upcoming Webinar: How to Run a Successful Hackathon for Your Open APIs

Hackathon WebinarHackathons are exploding in popularity and open API publishers are quickly realizing the power these intensive programming sessions have to attract developers. For API publishers, hackathons represent one of the most powerful means for growing an API’s profile and engaging directly with talented developers.

On July 12, Layer 7 will be presenting a live webinar called How to Run a Successful Hackathon for Your Open APIs. This interactive one-hour session will give you the key knowledge you will need in order to use hackathons as a tool for engaging app developers and building a community around your open APIs.

For this webinar, we will be joined by leading API evangelist and author Kin Lane who will deliver real-world advice on how to organize hackathons that will truly contribute to the success of your API publishing program. Click here to get more information and to register for the webinar today.

June 26th, 2012

QCon New York 2012

QCon BannerLast week, Layer 7 was a sponsor at QCon New York, an exciting conference held in Brooklyn. This event dealt with the latest software development trends in several categories including mobile, cloud, big data, architecture and security. As noted in this article from the show, there was quite a bit of focus on the seismic shift in development from server-heavy applications to more agile development using client-focused technologies like HTML5 and JavaScript. These are better suited for mobile and Web use cases, allowing client-side manipulation of data.

However, these technologies are only half the story. The other half is the API that provides a method of interaction with the server. To provide a rich, functional interface, this API must be user-friendly for people and machines. It should be easy to develop against, with or without extensive documentation. And it should be able to represent both the current application state and the operations available to the client. These API design principles were discussed by Layer 7’s Principal API Architect, Mike Amundsen, in his fascinating talk on Wednesday.

QCon was yet another in a long line of analyst, enterprise and developer conferences to draw the same conclusions about the future of enterprise IT. It’s time to look at software development in a new way – and Layer 7 is helping enterprises get on board with these new technologies. Our recently-announced SecureSpan Mobile Access Gateway provides the middleware necessary to adapt internal information assets into secure, optimized APIs consumable by mobile devices for enterprise mobile enablement or BYOD.

June 22nd, 2012

Designing Flexible APIs – Live Tech Talk on June 26

Mike AmundsenEach and every Web or mobile developer has unique needs. APIs have to be flexible enough to meet these varying needs.

Mike Amundsen, Layer 7′s new Principal API Architect, is an in-demand thought leader who focuses on the subject of how to build flexible, adaptable APIs. We’re very excited that Mike will be discussing this issue as our special guest for the next Tech Talk Tuesday event on June 26 at 9am PDT.

He’ll be chatting with Director of Client Solutions Matt McLarty and taking questions live. It’s not a presentation or scripted in anyway. It’s simply a chance for you to have your questions on designing flexible APIs answered live.

So, what does it mean to design a flexible API? Here are a few things to consider:

  • Employing the USE methodology (Usable, Scalable, Evolvable)
  • When (and when NOT) to version your API
  • Supporting multiple formats (XML, JSON etc.)
  • Designing the message format
  • Planning for re-usability
  • The power of hypermedia as a design element

I’m looking forward to a great interactive Tech Talk with lots of questions and audience participation. It’s a great topic and we have a great speaker to go along with it.

Don’t forget to add the Tech Talk to your calendar.

On the day of the event, join on Livestream or Facebook:

Submit your questions:

Tweet using the tag #Layer7Live
Email techtalk@layer7.com
Check-in & Chat through Facebook

June 18th, 2012

The Promise of the Web & the Challenge of APIs

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QCon LogoOn June 20th, I’ll be presenting a talk at QCon New York on the subject of hypermedia APIs. While the title may sound a bit “heady” for some, we all deal with hypermedia on the Web every day. If you clicked on the links in the first sentence of this blog post, you were using hypermedia.

My role at Layer 7 is to help business leaders, developers and architects design, develop and deploy world-class APIs – ones that work today and will continue to provide value well into the future. While there’s a good bit of material on the strategic importance, drawing power and business opportunities of APIs, I think more information is needed on how to design and implement APIs that will stand the test of time. And that’s what my QCon talk will be about.

The Web was conceived as a “living” system that could easily accommodate new hardware, software and information. The Web’s incredible growth over the last 20 years proves a complex system like the World Wide Web can actually work in this way but it’s rare that an organization’s developer team is able to successfully design and implement an API strategy that exhibits these same characteristics. Too often, API implementations fail to account for the continued evolution and growth of an organization.

But this level of flexibility and reliability is entirely possible, using technologies and methods we already have today. The key to creating a powerful API, it turns out, is in the design of the messages sent back and forth between parties. Reliable and evolvable API design is based not on function calls and shared objects but on hypermedia-style messages.

Two years ago, I started work on a project to analyze and identify important hypermedia factors used on the Web. This work led to a formal definition of “Hypermedia Types” and the creation of a set of H-Factors that can be used in the design process for creating new, powerful APIs that have the flexibility, usability and longevity of HTML pages themselves. In 2011, my book Building Hypermedia APIs with Node & HTML5 was published and – in less than a year – the methodologies and techniques outlined in that book have begun to appear in API designs by Nokia Research, CloudApp, RStatus and others.

My talk will cover not only the basics of Hypermedia APIs but also some of the successes and challenges these (and other) companies encountered in moving from fixed RPC-style application interfaces rooted in local network application models to more powerful and extensible hypermedia-style interfaces that take advantage of the unique aspects of distributed networks and cloud computing.

For those looking not just at the immediate benefits but also the long-term value of a powerful API strategy, QCon is an excellent conference. There are dozens of great talks on all aspects of software development and I’m honored to be participating in this year’s event. I hope you’ll join me there and that you’ll stop by Layer 7′s booth to say “hello”.