Earlier this week I headed to Detroit for the second annual API Craft Conference. Being my first time I didn't know what to expect, but I knew many of my fellow API design aficionados would be on hand and I was eager to learn from the many smart attendees.
Day One: Hypermedia in Focus
This year's API craft started with a Hypermedia Panel. The creators of all the most popular hypermedia formats were on the panel and they all had an opportunity to do a short presentation. The event was streamed and recorded.
One of the most important takeaways for me from this panel, was that there is a growing appreciation for the fact that hypermedia is more than just defining passive relations between resources. Abstracting behavior behind hypermedia links is an equally valuable scenario.
Days Two and Three: More than Just Hypermedia
As an open spaces conference, the second day started with people pitching ideas for sessions. I was particularly interested in the sessions relating to ways of communicating semantic meaning because I believe that is one of the biggest remaining challenges in API design. Some clear themes emerged from the session proposals: testing, measuring, monitoring and managing of APIs was well represented, as well as plenty of sessions around making the business case for APIs and especially hypermedia APIs.
The rest of the day was jam packed with valuable sessions and conversation. I learned about the variety of different ways people map their domain to resource models in Glenn Block's session on Web API architectures. In the API testing session run by Kevin Shamoun it was interesting to hear the tools developers were using and the challenges they were facing. Kevin Swiber held a very well-attended session, amusingly named 'Why y'all hatin' on hypermedia?' where we discussed commonly heard objections to hypermedia and solutions to overcome those objections.
During the closing discussion, I asked the attendees how many were already working on hypermedia based solutions, and I would estimate between 30-40% of hands went up. This is a huge increase from what I have seen in the past.
Despite the abundance of hypermedia content, there was plenty of discussion on topics like security, testing, monitoring, management, design, diagramming, mobile, IoT, and many more topics. The proceedings for all the sessions are being recorded in the Github wiki.
Overall, my three big takeaways from the event were:
- Hypermedia is finally getting mainstream attention.
- The level of expertise in HTTP API design is significantly improved from a few years ago.
- There continues to be a big demand for HTTP API related libraries and tooling, especially on the client side.
API Craft was a great conference and I'll definitely be reserving the dates on the calendar when next year's event is scheduled.