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 19th, 2012

Layer 7 at Gartner AADI

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Gartner SummitsLayer 7’s UK team will be talking mobile, open APIs and cloud this week at the Gartner Application, Architecture, Development & Integration Summit, in London. We are longstanding supporters of Gartner AADI in the UK, US and Australia because of the value it offers enterprise architects, development managers and integration leaders facing challenges around mobile, APIs and the cloud. As enterprises face more complex hybrid connectivity problems over the coming years, we expect conferences like this will play a central role in providing a gathering place for IT experts tasked with finding solutions.

If you’re attending this year’s London event, come by Layer 7′s booth to learn about our new mobile offerings or enjoy the company of the Queen herself during a special hospitality event, where we’ll be celebrating her Diamond Jubilee. Also, if you get the opportunity, don’t miss the chance to hear Rhys Jones from Royal Bank of Scotland (a Layer 7 customer) talking about his organization’s journey to the cloud.

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”.

June 6th, 2012

Start Spreading the News… Cloud Expo, New York

Cloud Expo 2012Cloud Expo 2012 is almost here. This promises to be an incredible event, with thousands of attendees and over 100 speakers. As previously mentioned, I’m privileged to be presenting on Making Hybrid Cloud Safe & Reliable. I’m particularly excited that I’ll be introducing attendees to the new concept of API-Aware Traffic Management. It will also be great to be back in New York City!

I recently read Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking Fast & Slow, a fascinating study of how the human mind works. With the new capabilities offered by big data and Cloud computing — the dual themes for next week’s event — and the increasing personalization of technology through Mobile devices, I think we have an opportunity to make our digital systems more human in their processing. What does that mean?  Well, more intuitive in user experience, more lateral through caching of unstructured data and more adaptive to changing conditions. API-Aware Traffic Management certainly reflects this potential.

If you are going to be (or hope to be) at the event, add a response in the comments box or tweet to @MattMcLartyBC. Hope to see you there!

June 5th, 2012

Layer 7 User Conference & API Workshop

Layer 7 User ConferenceOn June 15, Layer 7 will be holding a special User Conference & API Workshop event at Cisco’s training facilities in San Jose, CA. This is a free event, open to Layer 7 Technologies customers and non-customers alike. The sessions will include a Q&A with Forrester Analyst Eve Maler plus speakers from Adobe, Savvis and Cisco.

It’s an all-day catered event, divided into two sessions (9am-12pm and 1-4:45pm, with lunch served in between). The morning session will focus on best practices for using Layer 7’s API Management, Mobile Access, SOA Governance and Cloud Integration products. The afternoon session will feature a workshop focusing on the topic of API Management.

For more information you can view the full agenda. Space is limited, so if you’re interested in attending, please don’t hesitate to register for the User Conference & Workshop.