Another dispatch from international man of mystery - Toby Sims
What is an API and what can we do with it? Well, err, yes.. quite.. it's.. you know, what powers apps and stuff. Or much more succinctly 'a predictable set of requirements that govern how one application or system can talk to another.'
Much better. Given that broad a scope, you can see the the possibilities are certainly much larger than just 'putting information in my app'. Thus it came to pass that 3Scale and the effervescent Kin Lane of API Evangelist joined forces to create the third (and mightiest) API Strategy and Practice conference. Or Apistrat, if you're lazy like me.
The spectacular venue was the Beurs Van Berlage in the Centre of Amsterdam. Much more welcoming than it's former life as a commodity exchange, it provided a huge main hall and two smaller halls for the 3 tracks of the conference...
We kicked off with introductions from Steve Willmott of 3Scale and Kin Lane before diving into some interesting keynotes from Ken Wronkiewicz of Rackspace, Mehdi Medjaoui from OAuth.io and Romain Huet representing Twitter. Romain in particular made everyone smile (literally) but taking a photo of himself with the audience by tweeting a pet Raspberry Pi with a camera attached and having it instantly appear on the projector screen. He followed this by giving take off instructions to a quadcopter via a 'take off' tweet from anyone in the room - despite the sudden influx of take off requests, the drone behaved itself and nobody lost a finger. Highly creative answers to the question "What's in a tweet?".
After a quick coffee break, the conference divided into 3 tracks and I had the pleasure of speaking on a panel with Erik Michaels-Ober from Soundcloud and Paul Murphy from Op3nvoice (both awesome bits of technology).
There were talks on security, design, development, enterprise APIs, marketing and a very lively discussion on the 'Internet of Things'. It was a huge amount of very well presented talks and discussion panels over the two days and I would highly recommend checking out the videos (professionally shot!) which are making their way to Youtube. (In particular Mike Amundsen's talk - mind warping!)
It was a long two days, but the final keynotes, APIs to help in natural disaster zones by Kat Borlongen of Five by Five and 'Hackability' by Adam Wiggins held everyone right until the end.
The final panel discussed the march towards 1 million APIs and if the enthusiasm behind speakers and attendees for the whole show was anything to go by, I'd imagine it will be sooner rather than later.
Apistrat Amsterdam was a great conference and if you have even the slightest interest in harnessing the power of APIs, pop along, you won't be disappointed.
Many thanks to 3Scale for all the effort putting it on.