Runscope API Monitoring    Learn More →

This Fortnight in APIs, Release VII

By Ashley Waxman on .

This post is the seventh in a series that collects news stories, helpful tools and useful blog posts 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 came for the API talks, but stayed for the BBQ:

Last month at APIStrat in Austin, Texas, we had a great time coming together with the API community to get into the nitty gritty about problems we all face and creative ways to solve them. This recap from Desiree Schillinger is a pretty comprehensive analysis of 6 tips for developer marketing that go from API documentation on the front-end to leveraging your role within your company. Schillinger even brings in outside philosophies like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and compound interest to help explain these tips. If you’re looking for more APIStrat, check out this collection of key talks from Restlet and this summary of the two-day conference from Clarify.

For when you want your auth to have the best of both worlds: 

API authentication has always been a challenge of finding balance between security and convenience. This is particularly true for browser-based apps. But for securing APIs in server-to-server scenarios like microservices, or native applications talking to servers, we can consider implementing more risk-appropriate security. This post by Craig Weber discusses why asymmetric cryptography (RSA key pairs) as authentication is useful. He’s also written a Python/Django implementation and middleware system. If you need to brush up on JWT, check out the Stormpath blog for many great articles.

For when you didn’t get enough Py at Thanksgiving:

If you’re a Python fan and looking for an easier way to test web apps, the open source community just saved the day. With this open-source Python library, you can execute web browser and UI tests through the Ghost Inspector API. Tests can be specified in a YAML configuration file and triggered using the pytest framework.  

For when choosing an API schema has created an API schism:

Choosing a description format for your RESTful API is never an easy task, especially with the abundance of options. One format may have incredible tooling for docs, but lacks native support for your parameterized URIs. Another format may have the exact vendor integrations you need, but your team has threatened to strike if you make them work with YAML. This article by Chris Wood at Nordic APIs reviews API Transformer, a web service for automatically converting between the most popular schemas, including: Swagger, API Blueprint, RAML, Google Discovery (like JSON-Schema), I/O Docs and more.

For when building analytics can actually be Simple:

Many people tout the benefits of making data-driven decisions in business, but how do you build a foundation that enables everyone in your company to use data effectively? For startups with little headcount especially, instituting analytics that measure the data you want, the way you want, can be difficult and time-consuming. The team at Simple, a fintech company that provides banking and money management tools, is letting you learn from their successes and failures in building and scaling analytics in-house. Get a peek behind their Data team, infrastructure and process for an in-depth overview with lessons you can take to your organization.

For when you've been over-served at the coffee shop and need a ride home:

While much of the competition within the sharing, and ridesharing, economies occurs in the forefront, whether it be in competitive tactics or legal battles, we hear less about what’s going on on the backend for these companies. Uber, which launched an API last year, just upped what developers can do with it by adding a Ride Request Button feature to its API. Developers can now add a Ride Request Button to any app that deep links back into Uber’s app.The company’s affiliate program actually pays devs $5 for each U.S. rider they refer, with the caveat that they cannot hook into any other services like Lyft or Flywheel. Lyft has already had success with this mobile tactic—you can request a Lyft from Slack and Starbucks, among other partners. It will be interesting to see how APIs and developers may play a make-it-or-break-it part of ridesharing companies’ strategies in the face of heavy competition.

For when you need to get Linux back in (command) line: 

We’ve all been there—standing over the shoulders of the sysadmin, her fingers flying with command-line wizardry as she’s figuring out what’s causing Linux server to flail. And before you can even ask, “What commands are you running?” she delivers the prognosis and brings the CPU load average to 0.05. This article from Netflix lists out 10 command-line tools and how to use them to help you analyze your Linux server’s resources in just 60 seconds.

For when you want two tickets to the docs show:

In an effort to make their API documentation more successful, the developer team at Best Buy has opted for open-sourcing their docs—and they’re giving you a front-row seat to watching the process unfold. The team is also migrating their docs to Slate and looping us in on the progress. It’s always nice to see what goes on behind the scenes of our favorite APIs, and it’s especially interesting when it comes from a big brand like Best Buy.

For when your favorite store has more than just an app:

Now that the holidays are upon us, people are buzzing about Black Friday, Cyber Monday and buying the perfect gift. Behind the scenes of the mad shopping rush are numerous APIs powering apps that do more than just let you make purchases from bed. We created an extensive list of some of the biggest retailers’ APIs and how they’re driving business today, ranging from microservices at Target, to targeted IoT displays in Westfield malls, to personalized in-store mobile experiences at Macy’s. Check it out and see which of your favorite brands are putting APIs at the forefront, and the storefront.

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

Categories: api ecosystem, this fortnight in apis, microservices, apis

Everything is going to be 200 OK®