My API 101 Workshop At @APIStrat In Chicago Next Week

I’m working on the details of my API 101 workshop with Kirsten Hunter (@synedra) next week. She is delivering most of the content for the 2 hour workshop, as she has evolved a pretty sophisticated set of API 101 materials. My contribution will be from my history of APIs, and my API trends material, helping people understand the how we got here, and some thoughts on where we are going.

History of APIs
As I continue to make sense of the API space, I'm evolving my history of APIs story, adding and consolidating areas that I think have significantly contributed to the overall growth of the API space. While I track on 100+ categories, or business sectors, in which I think APIs are being applied in some interesting ways, I feel these seven areas are the cornerstones of the app, and its underlying API economy.

While there are definitely other valuable API resources that are contributing to the success of the space, these six areas represent the bedrock of the app, and API economy. You can find these areas playing a role in two major channels for delivering applications.

I do not think we can adequately talk about the history of APIs without discussion the motivations for deploying, and consuming APIs in the categories listed above. Historically there as been two main areas motivating companies to put APIs to work:

There are definitely other motivations for deploying APIs, but when we start labeling something as a definite part of history, I think these areas dominate. In 2014 I think mobile has definitely overtook web as a driving force, but distributed data, content, and other compute resources web still plays an important role.

At the same moment I’m trying to understand the past, I’m also working hard to understand where we are going, based upon what companies are up to in the API space. I also track on six other interesting areas, that I’m closely watching, adding new players, trying to understand what their bringing to the table, and putting them into buckets I’m calling API trends.

Some of these trends are beginning to get baked directly into some SaaS, PaaS, and API platforms I’m tracking on. Each of these trends are delivering value in different ways depending on which industry your looking at, such as real-time might be more important to financial APIs over regular business listing APIs. Areas like IoT are already expanding beyond just label into wearables, automobile, and other fast moving, but currently niche areas.

Even with the innovation in all of these areas by a handful of tech giants, and the long tail of tech startups, the space is slowly maturing in two key areas, which in the future will become bedrock cornerstones for the entire app and API economies. These areas are slowly maturing, and not moving as fast as some of the other areas I’m tracking on, but will be critical to the future of the API economy.

I’d say that we are only 2-4 years into these layers tot he API economy, and there is a ton of work to do. We need leaders in these space to step up and help evangelize a sensible approach to APIs in their industry, but we also need the rest of the API space to be patient, and also contribute to helping guide government of all sizes, large enterprises, and institutions in understanding the tech, business, and politics of APIs.

Maybe I'm biased, because I've been tracking on the API space for a while now, but I’m pretty happy to see things maturing, and after 14 years of playing around with web services, and more recently APIs, I feel good that we are moving past the wild west, and beginning to stabilize things a little bit, while still also experimenting with API trends in some pretty exciting (and scary) ways.

If you want to attend the API 101 workshop in Chicago next week you'll need to get registered for the conference, and then go reserve your spot using the workshops page