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This Fortnight in APIs, Release II

By Ashley Waxman on .

This post is the second in a series that collects news stories from the previous two weeks and is curated lovingly by the Runscope Developer Relations team. The topics span APIs, microservices, developer tools, best practices, funny observations and more.

For when you need a macro view of microservices:

We talk a lot about microservices at Runscope, but what does it really mean? In Microservices 101, Emiliano Mancuso explains the what, when, how and who of microservices, along with pros and cons lists for using microservices and ways to get started. If you currently have a monolithic architecture and are toying with making the move to microservices, this article has the graphs and diagrams to help you get started on the right foot.  

For when you want to go old school:

Everything old is new again. As computers and technology have evolved over the past few decades, so have our ways of building things, with more developer tools available than ever. However, Fred Wilson is seeing a resurgence of the command line interface. With the increased reliance on short bursts of communication thanks to Twitter and text messages, we could soon be ordering coffee with just a quick line of code. There is already a growing list of telegram bots that have been created in just a few weeks.

For when your APIs do a better job than you do:

It’s no secret that businesses today are leveraging APIs to power infrastructure, apps and partnerships, but what if they could also employ APIs instead of hiring an engineer? In the article APIs Are the New FTEs, Guarav Jain evaluates how engineering roles are beginning to be replaced with front-end frameworks or other tools, eliminating the need for, and cost of, human capital. APIs are a big part of this shift, as noted in the company Smyte, which was formed by a few ex-Facebook anti-fraud engineers who made “the knowledge of the world’s leading experts available as an API for a fraction of their former salaries”.

For when you find yourself alone with your containers:

At this month’s AutomaCon, the Infrastructure as Code Conference, the Runscope team was on the ground with some of the most innovative and influential minds in DevOps. While we never found one standard definition for “infrastructure as code”, we did make some interesting observations on just how many people really use containers in production and ways DevOps engineers are incorporating security measures into their practices.  

For when you like it so you want to put a price on it:

Setting a price on your product can make or break your business: too high and you lose customers, too low and you can’t cover expenses. Plus finding the right pricing model can be a challenge. Last week, industry heavyweight Michael Dearing, founder of Harrison Metal and investor in Heavybit, PagerDuty and CircleCI, discussed pricing strategies for companies whose main audience is the developer community. This article dives into his five top tips, including understanding perceived value and diversifying your offerings.  

For when you’re shopping around for ecommerce APIs:

The number of opportunities for retailers to sell to consumers has in many ways outpaced the technology to make those experiences streamlined and efficient, until now. Stripe, which already offers one of the most popular payments APIs, has branched out and released Relay, a set of APIs that “makes it easier for developers to build great ecommerce experiences and for stores to participate in them”. With Relay, Stripe aims to solve some of the pains that both consumers and retailers feel when shopping on mobile—pains that lead to shopping sites making up only 15% of purchases on mobile devices. With Stripe’s history of providing excellent developer tools, plus a partnership with Twitter for the release, Relay could be a win-win for the ecommerce market.

For when the ATM isn’t enough fintech for you:

Fintech has been getting a lot of buzz lately, and APIs are fueling big changes and concerns within the finance industry. If you need some fintech 101, Bill Doerrfeld takes you through the history of fintech starting with companies like Kickstarter and Bitcoin, what “making the bank programmable” really means, and explains how the numerous regulations in finance necessitate that fintech companies agree on standardized APIs and self-serving adoption processes. Once you’ve brushed up on the big picture, check out how people in fintech can learn from companies like Uber and Netflix and their “full stack approach” to building a complete, end-to-end product. In Full Stack Banking: How Fintech Will Fuel API-Based Competition, Ron Shevlin notes that APIs are becoming central to the competitive dynamics of the finance industry and fintech companies need to reassess their hierarchy of needs if they want to thrive in the today's technology landscape.

For when you want to easily manage your crypto certificates:

The last time you needed to generate a public/private key pair, you likely searched Google to recall those OpenSSL keygen and certificate request commands. After generating the keypair, how did you manage and protect those keys to the kingdom? Netflix is solving those pains by open-sourcing Lemur, a certificate management framework built for developers. Lemur helps by generating the keys, creating and submitting the CSR, deploying the certificate and securely storing the secret key. Lemur features a nice web-based UI as well as an API, and you can find the source code on GitHub.

For when you like to geek out on dashboards:

Dashboards are a useful tool to communicate raw data in a visually compelling and organized way, but building the right dashboards for your audience can be challenging. Accela, a civic platform for government agencies, created a real-time dashboard for civic data from customers like local government organizations, using the scalable analytics from Connect API and API monitoring and testing from Runscope. Whether you’re looking to leverage government data in your next project or you just want to see how other people are successfully building effective dashboards, this article walks you through each step of the building process and includes a tutorial video.


Notice something we missed? Put your favorite stories of the past fortnight in the comments below, or email us your feedback!

Categories: this fortnight in apis, api ecosystem

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