Ndifreke Ekott

Thoughts, stories, ideas and programming

27 Sep 2023

A recap of my first API Days London on September 13 & 14, 2023

It has been ages since I attended any tech gathering from meetups to conferences. I think the last time I attended an in-person event was the year before the world shutdown (2020). So having the opportunity to attend one was an opportunity I was so happy to embrace.

What is Apidays?

Apidays is a series of conferences that happens around the world with a focus on APIs and innovation around APIs. From their LinkedIn page:

Apidays is the leading series of worldwide conferences on the Programmable Economy.

Founded in 2012 in Paris, Apidays has organized 70+ events in 15+ countries, gathering over 85,000 attendees and 4,000+ speakers. Its aim is to democratize and evangelize the opportunities and the use of APIs for corporations and businesses to fully enter the next wave of digital transformation, the era of automation.

I stumbled on Apidays a few years back on YouTube. They published videos of past conferences and I was thrilled by the depth of technical and business topics covered during the talks.

The September London 2023 agenda can be found here and I believe at a later point, the conference video will be uploaded to YouTube.

Talks I attended?

I will start by highlighting the talks that stood out to me the most and just list the rest. This is not to say the other talks weren’t good, just the ones I may have listened to first that got the wheels in my head spinning.

  1. Meeting Relentless Business Change in a Post API Economy by Paolo Malinverno, Growth Advisor at The Business of Technology.

    This was one of the first early talks right after the welcome and opening remarks. I will say one thing I could remember taking out of this talk is the perception that as developers, we are no longer just building APIs for other developers to consume. We now have business technologies that know just enough tech and would like to combine various APIs to develop new business capabilities.

  2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To API Observability by Vedran Cindrić, CEO @ Treblle.

    This was an interesting talk since we have been leaping into the observability realm at my current place of employment. Aside from the usual points on what Observability is, I was more intrigued by the product demo.

    A key feature I found fascinating was the autogeneration of OpenAPI spec from analysis of API requests and responses flowing through your application logs. From generating a documentation page to using AI to generate code snippets demonstrating how to consume your API.

    I liked the look of the UI of the product and the fact that you are presented with just the right interface to look at aspects of your system you may be interested in. This is in opposition to most Observability platforms that just slam your screen with tables, graphs and data and leave you with the task of getting a degree to derive whatever value you desire for your business.

    More details on their offering here - Treblle.

  3. Securing Single Page Applications Using The Token Handler Pattern by Gary Archer, Product Marketing Engineer at Curity.

    This was a good one since I had never heard of the Token Handler pattern up until this talk. Though the presentation highlighted the offerings from Curity, the idea of the Token Handler pattern isn’t peculiar to Curity’s product. However, a nice thing to know is, that you can let your Single Page Application make an API call without having to worry about attaching a JWT token to every backend API request.

    I haven’t had time to revisit, the Token Handler pattern but Curity has an article on it on their site SPA using the Token Handler Pattern | Curity Identity Server. To learn more about the pattern, you can also visit the bff-pattern website for information on the Token Handler pattern.


    Source: SPA using the Token Handler Pattern | Curity Identity Server

  4. Don’t Get Left Behind In The API Economy: How To Market And Distribute Your APIs by Alex Walling, Chief Strategy Officer at Rapid

    This was a good talk on how to market your API and make use of Rapid’s platform for that - Rapid - The Next Generation API Hub (rapidapi.com). Since I currently don’t have an API to sell, I will say it was at least good to learn of Rapid’s API marketplace.

  5. AI and APIs: Can AI replace the API Architect? by Saheed Abiola Lasisi, Executive Director – Principal API Architect at JPMorgan Chase & Co. This talk will get you a little scared and maybe worried about the capabilities of AI. However, a competent Architect, will be able to acknowledge the potential AI can have in their day to day task. It also highlights how much of the work an Architect performs is codified and as such we can offload that task to AI. AI is also able to competently make adjustment as we monitor our systems, and effect changes quickly enough before vulnerabilities have a greater impact.

From here, I will list the topics, since I don’t want this to be a lengthy post.

  1. 5 Critical Pillars Of Modern API Management You Must Consider by Maytham Alfouadi, Solutions Architect at Traefik Labs.
  2. Develop fast without breaking things: Mastering development risks with a CD approach by Luca Maraschi, Co-Founder & CEO at Platformatic.
  3. Revolutionising fitness and well-being: unleashing the power of the API economy and strategic architecture by David Turner, Group CTO at Virgin Active.
  4. The Story of APIs at Natwest by Declan O’Gorman, Head of Enterprise Engineering at Natwest Group.
  5. The Secret to Greener Software: Introducing the 4Ms Protocol by Asim Hussain, Executive Director & Chairperson at Green Software Foundation.
  6. The mindset of going MACH and Composable by Matt Webb, Freelance Consultant / Founder of Maker Unleashed
  7. Beyond REST: What you need to know about creating and managing GraphQL and AsyncAPI by Roy Derks, Developer Experience & DevRel at StepZen, an IBM CompanyAlan Chatt, Offering Manager at IBM.

You can never have enough of learning and though some talks were short due to a 40-minute or 20-minute time slot. However, there were opportunities to interact with the speakers afterwards.