Author Archive: devnetwork

Interviewing Qualys for API World 2016 Blog

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In preparation for the API World 2016 Conference, here at DevNetwork, we have Jeffrey Leggett, Director, Cloud Services, API & Integration at Qualys, talking about their API.

What services do you currently enable developers to build on via your API’s?

We released our first APIs shortly after the launch of our first product, Qualys Vulnerability Management, in the early 2000s. We’ve intensified our API efforts in the last four or five years.

Today, we enable almost all of the major functions of the Qualys Cloud Platform with APIs: Web Application Scanning, Web Application Firewall, Vulnerability Management, Policy Compliance, Continuous Monitoring, Malware Detection and the platform’s underlying asset management and tagging functionality all have complete API sets.

For example, customers can use the Vulnerability Management Scan API Version 2 to obtain a list of vulnerability scans in their account and to take actions such as cancel, pause, resume, and fetch (download) finished results. Some benefits of the new version of this API include:

  • The ability to make a single API request to view all scans in the scan history list, including running, completed, paused and resumed scans.
  • More input parameters to filter out scans from the scan list output, so customers don’t have to retrieve and view their entire scan history list.
  • The ability to make a request to launch a scan asynchronously, so that the API call will quit after the request without having to wait for the complete scan results.

What are some of the most interesting/innovative applications that developers have built on top of your API?

We have customers and partners who have built complete orchestration of toolsets with our APIs. I would highlight two recent integrations as examples of interesting and innovative uses of our API:

  • Qualys VM and Qualys WAS Apps for Splunk Enterprise

These apps access VM and WAS data via our API and streamlines its export to Splunk Enterprise.  Within Splunk Enterprise, the apps provide dashboards containing summary charts about affected web applications and IT asset vulnerabilities, respectively, as well as search tools.

  • Qualys App for ServiceNow Configuration Management

This app automatically synchronizes information about any asset that Qualys discovers into the ServiceNow Configuration Management Database (CMDB) system. Likewise, when an asset is added to the ServiceNow CMDB, the app adds it to the Qualys asset inventory. The app gives joint customers real-time asset visibility and inventory so they can flag security and compliance risks across their IT environment.

Here are a few videos in which customers explain how they’ve leveraged our APIs for a variety of purposes:

  • Sony talks about the benefits of implementing the Qualys VM API
  • Ogilvy & Mather describes various Qualys API integrations
  • Splunk and Qualys speak about the Qualys VM app for Splunk Enterprise
 

How do API’s factor into your company’s long-term growth strategy? Do you see your company becoming an “open platform” of integrations?

APIs are very important and strategic to our long-term growth strategy, so we want to add a lot of functionality to the API.

For example, we expect to have very soon — in the fourth quarter of this year — a full set of management APIs for automatically deploying and orchestrating our Cloud Agents, which we launched in April of last year. Customers have embraced the Cloud Agents, with over 1 million deployed in their environments, and we want to make this process even simpler and easier for them via APIs.

Longer term, our goal is to let customers and partners fully automate all aspects of Qualys, so that any function you can access within the Qualys Cloud Platform, you should be able to reproduce with the API.

As a SaaS vendor, we have minimal onsite pieces, so API integrations make our platform more “sticky” with customers, so that they stay with us year after year. Right now, about 20 percent of our customers use our API, and we want to continue growing that number.

APIs also play an important role in our relationship with our partners, especially those who manage security on behalf of their customers. With our APIs, they can consolidate functionality from our UIs within their own UIs, and that way they can manage Qualys from their own consoles for their clients. We want to support them in that way.

Are the growth of open API standards important to your industry?

Absolutely, APIs are strategically critical for every infosec vendor out there. We must be able to integrate solutions for customers so that they’re able to get an overarching view into their environment across all of their toolsets, as well as leverage other types of third-party software that helps them with security data management, business intelligence, operations workflows and the like. So we support efforts towards API industry standards.

I think it might be relevant to mention in this context our release last year of free assessment APIs and of a free open source tool for our SSL Labs service for doing bulk and automated website testing. With those APIs and tool, security pros who manage multiple websites can consolidate testing, detect changes and receive certificate-expiration notifications.

Specifically, the Server Assessment APIs give full access to the SSL Labs server inspection functionality, allowing programmatic invocation for any number of hosts. The availability of the APIs allow system operators to integrate SSL Labs assessment with their security policies and perform frequent automated checks.

In this effort, we’re not just aiming at our enterprise customers and partners, but also at a larger industry constituency, such as domain name registrars, certification authorities and large infrastructure providers.

What are some ideas for apps or integrations that developers or startups could build on your API?

There are myriad ways in which companies could add value to our platform via workflow orchestrations.

A favorite of mine is I think there’s an opportunity to build an iPad Pro app so executives could take a quick look into all of their Qualys data and metrics from those tablets.

What has your team learned about building scalable, accessible API’s? What advice can you give to other teams building their own API?

Scalable is the key word when you’re building APIs for the enterprise market. You must test under load or your customers surely will. You also must make your API architecture flexible and reliable.

If your APIs are convoluted to use, poorly documented, clunky and erratic, external developers will quickly lose confidence in them and abandon their efforts to leverage them. If the API integration is critical for their use of your technology, this could be a major step towards a decision to drop your product altogether.

These developers don’t want to build apps and services on top of your API architecture that will disappoint their internal users and/or external customers. If this happens, they’ll quickly start looking for better options from your competitors.

When drafting your API strategy, you must not only take into account your company’s goals, but also put yourself in the shoes of the third-party developers who will be using your platform, and let this guide your technology decisions.

At a basic level, this means providing good, clear documentation; sample code; analytics reports; management tools; open, standard and secure technology; and API updates that are minimally disruptive to existing apps and integrations.


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Interviewing Beepsend for API World 2016 Blog

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In preparation for the API World 2016 Conference, here at DevNetwork, we have Marcus Carlsson, Head of Systems Engineering at Beepsend, talking about their API.

What services do you currently enable developers to build on via your API’s?

We enable developers to easily integrate SMS and Number Lookup services with their systems.

The SMS API handles outbound as well as inbound (two-way) SMS messages and the Number Lookup services verified if a phone number is valid and reachable.

More recently we have developed an API for IP/OTT messaging enabling messaging services initially through Viber and with more services to come. The idea is to provide a unified messaging API where the user does not have to think about which channel is used for the message delivery.

What are some of the most interesting/innovative applications that developers have built on top of your API?

Some interesting applications built on top of our API are:

  • Booking and check-in system driven by two-way SMS solution
  • Two-factor authentication solutions
  • CRM and Marketing automation systems
  • Monitoring and alarm systems
 

How do API’s factor into your company’s long-term growth strategy? Do you see your company becoming an “open-platform” of integrations?

Our focus has always been on API-first. We want to build a flexible API allowing all possibilities when it comes to SMS integrations. By dogfooding our own API, we ensure the quality and functionality at the same time as we deliver an open platform to others with the same type of well-documented API as we ourselves expect when building integrations.

Are the growth of open API standards important to your industry?

We come from an industry mainly built on top of well-defined API standards and it’s been an important aspect to easily integrate with others. Due to the specific use of this standardised API (SMPP) we have also built a simplified API for our end customers to allow easy integrations for customers wanting to add SMS-functionality to their platform.

The growth of open API standards is great and a trend we hope continues.

What are some ideas for apps or integrations that developers or startups could build on your API?

System monitoring notifications using SMS, a proven and safe way to delivery notifications. Task automation using 2-way communication via SMS; have your system listen for SMS-webhooks and run a service/task.

Do developers “mash-up” your API with other 3rd party API services? What are some interesting mashup examples?

Our API is normally added as an extended service to their existing setup. For an e-commerce platform, they can integrate with our API to allow delivery notifications to be sent out to their customers as an example.

What has your team learned about building scalable, accessible API’s? What advice can you give to other teams building their own API?

Always think API-first. With a great API, your customers will have the possibility to build their own integration. Dogfooding said API is also an important aspect as it will help you keep the API consistent and tested over time (changes that should not be made to your API will not just affect your customers but your own platform as they are one and the same).

When building a scalable API, always build it in a monolithic way first. This will find the communication points within your API which will make breaking it out into micro-services much easier over time. Don’t spend too much time optimising while building, the bottlenecks are hard to pinpoint until you’re running the API in production and should be carefully monitored and profiled to find what needs to be optimised and scaled.


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Interviewing Västtrafik for API World 2016 Blog

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In preparation for the API World 2016 Conference, here at DevNetwork, we have Lars Andersson, Integration Manager at Västtrafik, talking about their API.

What services do you currently enable developers to build on via your API’s?

Currently, Västtrafik has two publicly available APIs:

1. Journey planner

This API provides access to Västtrafik’s timetable information system. This system is a COTS system called Hafas, with Västtrafik customizations, developed by a German company called HaCon. With this API, developers can access station boards to discover arrivals and departures, plan their journeys, retrieve trip details and track vehicles on a live map. 2. Smart commuter parking

This API provides access to information about smart commuter parkings. The term “smart” is used in this context to indicate that the parking is able to keep track of free space and provide a snapshot image from the parking lot. Developers can use this API to discover parking areas and individual parking lots, including total capacity, free space and historical availability.

What are some of the most interesting/innovative applications that developers have built on top of your API?

The most common applications are those built with the journey planner API to provide access to the station board. These applications typically display a specific departure board and have been built as a mobile app or web application to be displayed on a TV screen at a workplace, hospital, school or residential entrance etc.

How do API’s factor into your company’s long-term growth strategy? Do you see your company becoming an “open-platform” of integrations?

Providing publicly available APIs is a way to achieve the following politically established business goal:

Double travel by public transport between 2006 and 2025.

This will be accomplished by simplifying travelling with public transport (improved journey planning, ticketing and payments). Also, providing options for end-to-end journey planning, where parts of the journey will include other means of transportation than public transport is a way to increase travelling by public transport.

Although there is currently no formal API Strategy in place, establishing an Open Platform of integrations is likely to be part of such a strategy as it’s being formulated within the next 6 months.

Are the growth of open API standards important to your industry?

Yes. Open standards will enable travel planning nationwide and across national borders and also across means of transportation (public, car, pools of cars/bicycles, boat etc).

Do developers “mash-up” your API with other 3rd party API services? What are some interesting mashup examples?

There are currently somewhere between 25-30 mobile apps having been developed with our publicly available API:s. Most of these are not mashups, but we do know of examples where the developer have combined our API:s with geo-location or event services to build apps that tell you how to get to a certain place or event of interest by means of public transport.

What has your team learned about building scalable, accessible API’s? What advice can you give to other teams building their own API?

Our advice is to use a full-fledged “API platform” to provide controlled design and runtime access to your API:s. Furthermore, your API:s are likely to be used a lot more than you can anticipate and in some respect in ways you couldn’t anticipate. Finally, monitor your API traffic to be able to analyze how your API:s are actually being used.

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Interviewing Shapeways for API World 2016 Blog

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In preparation for the API World 2016 Conference, here at DevNetwork, we have Shapeways, talking about their API.

What services do you currently enable developers to build on via your API’s?

We have endpoints that allow developers to upload 3D models, set items for sale in their shop and even trigger orders to be drop shipped to their end users.

What are some of the most interesting/innovative applications that developers have built on top of your API?

Over the last few years, we’ve seen many apps incorporating our 3D print capabilities in innovative ways. Some of my favorites include Hero Forge – an app to customize and print your tabletop gaming figurines, Gravity Sketch – super easy to use 3D modeling app with seamless upload to Shapeways, and Skanect + Structure Sensor – affordable 3D scanning hardware and software to use with your iPad featuring direct upload and shop controls for Shapeways.

How do API’s factor into your company’s long-term growth strategy? Do you see your company becoming an “open-platform” of integrations?

APIs are increasingly becoming more important for Shapeways and our long-term growth. We’ve realized that 3D model design is no longer only being done through traditional graphical interface CAD and increasingly shifting to programmatically generated models. For this, APIs are perfect for streamlining the entire 3D print workflow: 3D model design, upload, print, and selling

Are the growth of open API standards important to your industry?

Absolutely! 3D printing is still in its infancy when it comes to codifying open file formats, communication protocols and APIs. The growth of open API standards would go a long way in helping bring together separate parts of the 3D print ecosystem to be not only more streamlined, but used and combined in new ways to accelerate the technology overall.

What are some ideas for apps or integrations that developers or startups could build on your API?

Many developers have found success building apps that focus on a particular product vertical and tailoring the app experience to their specific community. Some examples include tabletop gaming, home goods, consumer electronics accessories, and jewelry. A unifying thread for all these apps is that they utilize 3D printing to offer their users customized, unique products that are manufactured on demand, eliminating the risk of carrying inventory. This concept can be applied to many other product verticals like fitness accessories, healthcare, and gaming, just to name a few.

Do developers “mash-up” your API with other 3rd party API services? What are some interesting mashup examples?

Yes, all the time. Probably most common would be to pair our APIs with a payment service like Stripe or Braintree to allow apps to natively transact with users and push orders to Shapeways. One of the more interesting examples I’ve seen is incorporating chat APIs to allow users to retrieve pricing information and push model uploads via a chat interface.

What has your team learned about building scalable, accessible API’s? What advice can you give to other teams building their own API?

We’ve learned the importance of rigorous testing, reliability and consistency when other businesses are relying on your services to develop their own applications. One lesson in particular was the need for good rate limiting controls since some of our processes can be very resource intensive. Early on, it wasn’t difficult for users to unknowingly overload our servers and negatively impacting service for many other users. Since building out our rate limiting tools, we’ve been better able to offer improved availability for everyone.

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Interviewing EasyPost for API World 2016 Blog

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In preparation for the API World 2016 Conference, here at DevNetwork, we have EasyPost, talking about their API.

What services do you currently enable developers to build on via your API’s?

We give developers access to our core services: shipping label purchasing and printing, package tracking, package insurance, address verification, and carrier rating. Our whole philosophy is to make our API as flexible and easy-to-use as possible since everyone will have slightly different requirements in their shipping models. We’re not a “one-size-fits-all” API, we understand that the API has to shift and adjust itself to fit many different use cases.

What are some of the most interesting/innovative applications that developers have built on top of your API?

Since the API is so flexible, it’s really an open sandbox to build applications with. Obviously, the API can be used to build the fulfillment piece of a customer’s e-commerce stack. One interesting application is to create an inexpensive way to build SMS tracking notifications via our tracking service and Twilio’s SMS service. Stripe combines their payment processing technology with EasyPost to provide automated shipping rates and shipping labels, creating an out-of-the-box payment and fulfillment solution for eCommerce.

How do API’s factor into your company’s long-term growth strategy? Do you see your company becoming an “open-platform” of integrations?

The API is our core business, and we’re already an open platform, to begin with. We offer a free test environment and encourage our customers to customize the API to fit their business needs.

Are the growth of open API standards important to your industry?

In some ways, yes. For example, shipping and fulfillment APIs aren’t constrained by the same standards as healthcare APIs, which allows us to create such a flexible API in the first place. It’s a greenfield opportunity, so the growth of open API standards isn’t as important as maintaining open API standards in the shipping industry.

What are some ideas for apps or integrations that developers or startups could build on your API?

For enterprise customers that move a lot of packages, we recommend building batches to create and purchase shipping labels in bulk by using only a few API calls. We also recommend to our eCommerce customers to use our tracking piece on power on-site package tracking, instead of diverting customers to the carrier’s website for tracking information. Additionally, our Stripe and Twilio integrations make it easier to provide a better fulfillment experience via smooth payment processing and SMS/VoIP powered tracking notifications.

Do developers “mash-up” your API with other 3rd party API services? What are some interesting mashup examples?

Definitely. The aforementioned Stripe and Twilio integrations are two great examples. We also integrate with Sendgrid to provide automated emails for tracking notification, as well as WooCommerce to provide instant shipping rates and package tracking.

What has your team learned about building scalable, accessible API’s? What advice can you give to other teams building their own API?

  1. Know the product you want to build, and ensure that product is informed by actual customer needs. Our flexibility is informed by the idea that no one customer is the same, they all have different needs that can’t be put into a box. One example of that is our Rating API. Normally, our rating API stores all rates in a single database, but that doesn’t fit with some of our customers. So we offer the option to make the data ephemeral or persisted, which is win-win for us (better uptime) and our customers (freedom to choose the best option).
  2. Expose your engineers to the customers, so they know exactly what the customer wants and adjust the product accordingly. This also allows engineers to get ahead of potential problems since they’re well aware of customer pain points. We do this by having our developer team run support tickets, which we can do since we’re an agile team. But even as we scale, we aim to expose our development team as much as possible to the customer so they can continue to build a relevant product.
  3. Maintain adaptability of the product. For instance, we built a service-oriented architecture from the start, which has paid huge dividends as we’ve evolved the API. Maintaining a monolithic code base can make it hard to extract, build upon, or change pieces of the product. With a service-oriented architecture, we have the flexibility to change courses or evolve the API to ever-shifting customer demand.

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Interviewing Ardoq for API World 2016 Blog

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In preparation for the API World 2016 Conference, here at DevNetwork, we have Ardoq, talking about their API.

What services do you currently enable developers to build on via your API’s?

We currently provide two APIs (https://ardoq.com/api/):

  • A REST API of our back-end which allows developers to build their own applications on top of our back-end services, or effectively integrate any services they would like as long as they have a registered account in Ardoq.
  • An experimental API for the plugin editor within our application, which allows developers to build their own visualizations (of their data in Ardoq) in JavaScript and deploy them to our application in real-time.

What are some of the most interesting/innovative applications that developers have built on top of your API?

Ardoq is a very flexible documentation tool that can be used to visualize and organize almost any type of data. Using the API, we’ve developed integrations with a number of popular tools that allow users to view their data in new, interesting ways. By using the following integrations, users can easily pull in data from these tools and visualize it:

  • Docker
  • Swagger
  • Excel
  • Maven
  • AWS (in alpha)

Using our visualization editor, users and employees have created custom views for their data, including reference aggregation view, matrix visualizations, dependency maps, and Gantt charts.

Most of our customers have also used the API to customize either their visualizations or integrations with their own custom systems. Unfortunately, we’re not able to share details about these customizations.

How do API’s factor into your company’s long-term growth strategy? Do you see your company becoming an “open-platform” of integrations?

Our vision is for Ardoq to be a documentation platform that aggregates data from all data sources and systems that are critical to businesses. Maintaining an open and robust API is a key piece to realizing that vision, and so is our support of the larger API community. Our tool’s success is dependent on the free flow of information that APIs enable.

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Interviewing Currencycloud for API World 2016 Blog

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In preparation for the API World 2016 Conference, here at DevNetwork, we have Currencycloud, talking about their API.

What services do you currently enable developers to build on via your API’s?

Currencycloud Direct provides simple access to the global payments network, enabling developers to consume services such a currency conversion, payment processing and bank account validation all through a simple JSON API.

What are some of the most interesting/innovative applications that developers have built on top of your API?

  • Case study: Paddle

Paddle’s end-to-end checkout enables developers to sell their software globally, providing an app store experience.

Paddle needed to send international payments back to customers after processing their payments. Previously, Paddle had relied on international bank transfers or PayPal. The company was being hit with huge expenses, frustrating time delays and was manually entering each transaction into the bank. The cost of operating through PayPal became unsustainable as they grew.

Outcomes:

Paddle saves 97% per transaction compared to operating with their bank and with access to real-time wholesale rates and Currencycloud’s fast, secure payment network – is slashing time delays.

Paddle has grown more than 10X since working with Currencycloud. Hugo Grimston, Finance Director, Paddle, claims that the company has maintained the same number of staff dealing with this process despite this growth – slashing the time spent on manual transactions.

Paddle’s average customer is paid $1,000 a month and now saves 5% on landing, FX and transaction fees.

What’s more, according to Hugo: “Currencycloud’s API gets the nerds at Paddle excited and set-up was a super simple, streamlined process.”

  • Case study: Revolut

Revolut is a global money app, allowing customers to send and spend money instantly anywhere in the world. Before launch, Revolut faced hostility from many major UK banks, who were reluctant to provide accounts for money service businesses.

Nikolay Storonsky, Founder & CEO, Revolut claims his young and energetic entrepreneurial team embraced Currencycloud as a partner that could deliver the technical expertise and industry know-how, while also understanding the fast-growth, ambitious company culture.

Outcomes: Within nine months of launching with Currencycloud, Revolut secured over 160,000 customers across the globe. Saving customers an average of €30-40 on a €500 spend, Revolut processes 30,000 transactions per day, with an average of €40-60m per month.

How do API’s factor into your company’s long-term growth strategy? Do you see your company becoming an “open-platform” of integrations?

In the past year, Currencycloud has been increasingly embraced by progressive digital platforms to power their international expansion via our API. With the growth of services such as marketplace e-commerce, there is a distinct need for solutions that ensure real-time, seamless high-volume, low-value international transactions. When clients integrate with our API they make a commit to our business and we make a commit to them.  For these type of progressive platforms, traditional infrastructures are not cut-out to service the demand for this change in global payment flows. Currencycloud has consequently had a busy year of fast-growth, as it steps up to service that business need of connecting the global digital economy.

We absolutely see ourselves as an open platform today, with our friendly Developer Centre, in addition to Github access we work with developers and businesses across the globe to ensure seamless and transparent integration. We are also announcing at FinovateFall in New York next month an exciting offer  which very much puts us as a one stop shop for fast growth, tech led businesses.

With the addition of Adding 40 new clients across Europe and North America, we are proving there’s a need for our service and that we are the trusted backbone that enables the free flow of money across the globe. With one easy integration into our intelligent APIs, clients have access to our entire banking network and payments ecosystem – immediately eliminating one of the greatest barriers to scaling across international borders.

Are the growth of open API standards important to your industry?

Absolutely.  Initiatives such as the Open Banking Standard are encouraging financial organisations to securely open up their data, this coupled with the innovation across the Fintech industry makes for a really exciting future. With this progress, it will make financial applications much easier to integrate, which could be really powerful within the ’Internet of Things’ movement.

What are some ideas for apps or integrations that developers or startups could build on your API?

GetMyBoat.com, which is like an airBNB for Boats.

Currencycloud has embedded a payment signup process into their user experience and allow the full automation of supplier payments.  They have been experiencing amazing growth and automation of payments was key to their ability to scale.  Payment engine two was an API driven solution that let them integrate payments into a user experience that they designed.

Do developers “mash-up” your API with other 3rd party API services? What are some interesting mashup examples?

The simplicity of our API means it’s used for a variety of purposes.  For some of our customers, it provides the backbone of their payment product, whereas for others it’s just a small part of their eco-system. One recent example is a customer who is just using our service to validate bank account details, meaning they have decreased the amount of failed payments leaving their system.

What has your team learned about building scalable, accessible API’s? What advice can you give to other teams building their own API?

Design it for the user! When building v2 of our API it was designed alongside our UI, Currencycloud Direct, so that everything you do in Direct talks to the API.  This helped us prove that the design would be easy to integrate for other developers.  We’ve also got a clear separation between our API layer and internal services, which gives us the freedom to improve our internal services without impacting the API.


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Interviewing Ubidots for API World 2016 Blog

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In preparation for the API World 2016 Conference, here at DevNetwork, we have Agustin Pelaez, CEO at Ubidots, talking about their API.

What services do you currently enable developers to build on via your API’s?

We empower developers to create Internet of Things projects using a device-friendly API. Ubidots allows them to store and retrieve large time-series data, setup live dashboards, trigger SMS/Email/Webhook alerts and create custom user interfaces to display their sensor data.

What are some of the most interesting/innovative applications that developers have built on top of your API?

Interestingly there has been a great adoption in environmental and agricultural monitoring applications. For example, there’s a smart vineyard in Chile that’s reporting soil humidity data from remote devices to our API, and then triggering remote water valves to optimize irrigation schedules, saving water and time.

Other use cases include companies monitoring icebergs location in the north pole, lake levels to prevent or alert flooding events, and ambulances reporting a real-time location to ensure a patient gets to the hospital on time. All of this data arrives through our API.

How do API’s factor into your company’s long-term growth strategy? Do you see your company becoming an “open-platform” of integrations?

Absolutely, as developers ourselves we encourage openness and giving other developers a free tier option so they can experiment with our API.  We believe a well-documented API tells other developers that you care about building stable and usable products, it shows respect. As a business strategy, an open and easy-to-integrate API is a way to build a strong technical community that later becomes a source of ideas, quality assurance and even business leads.

Are the growth of open API standards important to your industry?

Yes, this allows our community to build mash-ups and products we didn’t imagine before. In the Internet of Things ecosystem, not only software players are offering APIs; hardware players are also coming up with device management platforms that expose real-time device data through developer-friendly APIs (i.e. Fitness Trackers, Home Automation products and even industrial sensors), allowing them to be integrated with other apps without being a hardware expert.

What are some ideas for apps or integrations that developers or startups could build on your API?

Ubidots allows startups and system integrators to have a production-ready device management portal from day one, so they can take care of either hundreds of enterprise customers, or thousands of consumers using their connected products.

Do developers “mash-up” your API with other 3rd party API services? What are some interesting mashup examples?

Yes, we’ve seen developers connecting Ubidots’ alerts using webhooks to send an SMS or make a phone call through Twilio when a sensor is outside a given threshold. We also see users pulling data through our API into Google Sheets and even Spark for BI purposes. Other users use Particle’s webhooks to forward device data to Ubidots.

What has your team learned about building scalable, accessible API’s? What advice can you give to other teams building their own API?

We think the most important thing about an API is to be well-documented and offer examples for different languages. I can’t say our documentation is perfect, but we do try to provide sample API requests for every endpoint we support and add device libraries so more hardware developers can connect to it.

Another advice is to constantly monitor your API, not only with automated ping services like PingDom but even coming up with your own script to continuously test your API endpoints with all of the possible combinations of requests (POST, GET, PUT, DELETE…) and be alerted when one of them fails.


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Interviewing Axway for API World 2016 Blog

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In preparation for the API World 2016 Conference, here at DevNetwork, we have Jeanine Banks, Executive Vice President, Global Products and Solutions at Axway, talking about their API.

What services do you currently enable developers to build on via your API’s?

Axway provides comprehensive API management that enables organizations to quickly and easily develop, integrate, secure and manage APIs in a unified way — across projects, developers and communities — to reap the full benefits of the API economy.

With Axway API Management, API administrators can centrally govern their API catalogs using a web-based console; developers can easily discover, consume, build and test APIs on their own; and IT leaders can create a digital bridge across cloud, mobile and partner channels using a configure-not-code approach.

In addition, organizations can take advantage of the advanced analytics within Axway API Management to build applications to monitor key operational data for API usage, build tools for proactive identification of abnormal situation and preventive action, key insights with history, statistics and trends etc.

Also, Axway API Management Plus, which features the powerful combination of Axway API Management and Appcelerator Arrow, enables developers to create APIs from any data source via models and connectors. To further the development of APIs, customers can take advantage of the Appcelerator App University, which features a regularly updated collection of short video tutorials.

What are some of the most interesting/innovative applications that developers have built on top of your API?

Our APIs are used by hundreds of companies to drive digital innovation and enhance the customer experience.  One of our customers in the health insurance industry has built services to connect payroll, benefit administration, CRM and enrollment. They also rely on Axway to accelerate the development of their native mobile apps. Another company we work with in the aviation industry recently built their app on top of Axway APIs, while one of the world’s largest car manufacturers used Axway API Management to support its IoT ConnectedDrive Platform.

How do API’s factor into your company’s long-term growth strategy? Do you see your company becoming an “open-platform” of integrations?

APIs serve a critical role in Axway’s long-term growth strategy. From client-side APIs that allow a developer to use the native OS (iOS, Android, and Windows Phone) capabilities in apps they build using our Appcelerator Platform, to REST APIs that they can create to access data from any data source within their apps, it’s a crucial part of our existence and the value we provide to customers.

We believe in helping customers become agile and inventive enterprises by leveraging API-based services as building blocks by which they design amazing digital experiences for their customers. We give them a way to collaborate on API development and learn from each other to create something truly special and different that drives their success. And together, in that ecosystem where APIs are the “grammar” of innovation, those players will get a level of efficiency previously unseen. While many of our customers are interested in managing closed communities of internal or external developers to access their APIs, we also see strong interest by independent developers and firms to tap into open APIs to rapidly develop new apps and services. We expect to make it easier for these different type of audiences to leverage APIs in the way that best suits their needs.

Are the growth of open API standards important to your industry?

Yes, very important. Not long ago, the number one reason mobile apps failed was because of horrible APIs. The process of integrating data from different data sources was rarely optimized and was often an afterthought, which caused lots of issues on the mobile device. The growth of mobile and the Internet of Things have made people realize that most backend systems weren’t built for this. Integrated solutions that enable organizations to seamlessly manage the full API lifecycle help address these challenges and RESTful API standards have definitely helped mobile development over the last few years. Mobile apps have gotten much better because of API standards and this in turn has had a huge impact on every industry in the world.

In addition, from an application and/or business partner integration services perspective open API standards are indispensable. They enable organizations to reduce time to develop new mobile apps, reduce the technical barrier to expose company’s services for integration within and outside the limits of an organization and enable IT teams to integrate legacy systems to new apps.

What are some ideas for apps or integrations that developers or startups could build on your API?

We are focused on enabling organizations to drive digital innovation and the apps or integrations are limitless. By enabling developers, IT security professionals and IT integration architects to quickly and efficiently take advantage of DevOps best practices and tooling, build APIs and microservices and enforce corporate security and compliance policies, we enable organizations to embrace digital technologies that can create new revenue streams and enhance the customer experience.

Do developers “mash-up” your API with other 3rd party API services? What are some interesting mashup examples?

Absolutely. For example, we’ve seen users take Salesforce data and data in a MySQL database and mash it together to create their own APIs.

The possibilities expand further with the flexible and rich policy side of Axway API Management. Interesting mashups are ones between Axway core integration services and third party services for dynamic services access management, where participants’ roles and services availability is managed outside of Axway Integration services. This allows dynamic adjustments to data delivery and access within the Axway integration services.

What has your team learned about building scalable, accessible API’s? What advice can you give to other teams building their own API?

Scalable and accessible APIs are critical if organizations want to capitalize on the business opportunities presented by the digital economy. For example, take mobile. In order to create compelling app experiences, you must be able to integrate with backend data sources. Building those APIs can be difficult and time consuming and requires the ability to quickly connect, model, transform and optimize data for any app client, whether native or web. Also, with integration services, the API scalability criteria is aggressive as the quality of service must adjust and compensate for the availability and scalability of the traditional data exchange mechanisms in managed file transfer (MFT) or electronic data interchange (EDI).

We would advise API owners and administrators to leverage analytics for APIs as an indispensable tool to maintain scalable and accessible API. They would gain essential insights about key operational performance, including API usage, abnormal situations (in order to take preventive action), historical trends and real-time statistics.


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Interviewing Project Insight for API World 2016 Blog

Project-Insight-Logo

In preparation for the API World 2016 Conference, here at DevNetwork, we have Project Insight, talking about their API.

What services do you currently enable developers to build on via your API’s?

Project Insight has a REST and SOAP API which provides access to most of the data and functions possible with the software. The most common APIs are for exporting and importing, tasks and project data to and from other systems. Passing time and expense entries are also popular.

What are some of the most interesting/innovative applications that developers have built on top of your API?

One innovative application that a leading educational materials provider developed with Project Insight is an integration with the common software development platform, JIRA. The software development team manages its work in JIRA, which provides them with a flexible environment for assigning work. However, the project management office (PMO) was lacking visibility into all of the work, in terms of projects and tasks that the organization is working on. This made it challenging for the project managers to provide executive leadership with accurate timelines for project completion. What’s more, there was no centralized place to view all resources’ availability. The PMO needed to see not only software developers’ work but also other departments’ resources and their workloads. Project Insight solves both of these issues. However, the software development team wanted to continue using JIRA. In the end, they used Project Insight’s APIs for projects, tasks, issues and time to pass data from JIRA to Project Insight, allowing the development team to keep working in the system they were most familiar with. On a side note, nearly every page in PI can accept custom JavaScript and nearly every data field in the page can be configured to call the JavaScript processes for that page. You don’t need the API to do it. It’s right in the administration interface so that typing or pasting the JavaScript into the page’s interface is all that is needed. PI Javascript Tutorial The JavaScript which can be added into the form also has automatic access to the REST API for a user already logged in. So developers can put JavaScript into any of our forms, take advantage of jQuery or any of our built-in JavaScript libraries, and access the REST API to interact with the system.

How do API’s factor into your company’s long-term growth strategy? Do you see your company becoming an “open-platform” of integrations?

At Project Insight, we have long believed in a ‘best of breed’ strategy. That is, Project Insight is a best of breed project management solution that connects with other best of breed applications like accounting solutions, ERPs, help desk systems, agile solutions and more. Long term, we believe that the more integrated our software is with other mission critical applications, the more valuable our software and services become. As for being an open platform, yes, we do have instances of partners and customers taking Project Insight and leveraging it as a platform for more vertical applications. For example, one partner took our software and customized it for the construction market using our software development kit (SDK). Another example is a customer that took Project Insight and built a customized project request workflow process for its international team. Now every employee with an idea can submit a project request following the multi-step process built on the Project Insight software as a platform. Yet another example is a partner that took Project Insight and added functionality to suit the elections process which is their target market.

Are the growth of open API standards important to your industry?

Yes, we know the software development community prefers openness in general. Offering these influential people easy access to understand our technology is key to our growth. In the project management software industry, about 80% of organizations we talk to do not have a centralized, enterprise solution to manage projects. The market is still is high growth mode, which means there will be a huge demand for connecting projects, tasks, time and expenses associated with projects to other enterprise systems. Developers will use open APIs to make those connections.

What are some ideas for apps or integrations that developers or startups could build on your API?

We have some ideas about the most logical integration points that developers have and will embark upon with our APIs.
  • PM – ERP
Project Insight, a project management software, can be connected to accounting solutions or ERP systems. As team members enter time and expenses in Project Insight, once approved, this data can pass seamlessly over to the accounting system for invoicing to clients or leveraging for payroll. Project Insight, project management software connected to customer relationship management software. Professional services teams often need visibility into what new client projects are on the radar. The CRM to Project Insight integration pushes opportunities that are won and/or at a certain percentage likely to close over to Project Insight as projects. This allows project and resource managers to have visibility into the total workload of all team members in order to provide their clients with more accurate project timelines and commitments. A Visual Studio (JIRA, Rally or another agile system) to Project Insight integration allows developers to view tasks assigned to them in Visual Studio and report progress on work. Progress on tasks passes through an integration to the project management solution onto a project which allows project and resource managers to view the software development organizations’ work alongside other departments’ projects and tasks for a holistic, portfolio view. The project and portfolio management solution provide executive reports and dashboards which allow for visibility and oversight.

Do developers “mash-up” your API with other 3rd party API services? What are some interesting mashup examples?

Yes, there are lots of ways to do ‘mash-ups’ with Project Insight. One mash-up we use internally is to display data from our Zendesk help desk (tickets) inside the Project Insight issues item. Ticket numbers, contact names, and organizations for the tickets are maintained in Zendesk and viewed inside the PI issue display. And the PI Issue data is also displayed in Zendesk. We’ve been doing this manually for years, but we’re about ready to eliminate a lot of cutting and pasting to keep the tickets in sync with the issues.

What has your team learned about building scalable, accessible API’s? What advice can you give to other teams building their own API?

The most important aspect of building an API is to make your API easy to understand with consistent names and operations patterns, and in the case of REST APIs consistent URIs. We also learned that we needed to select default common properties for most objects, but allow the developer to expand the data being exported from the REST API. We developed an object we call “ModelProperties” which gives developers the ability to define the fields to be returned. A developer can use the keyword “all” to send all properties on the model, or they can specify the exact properties to be returned. This allows for a lightweight footprint by default and expanded functionality when necessary. Finally, documentation, documentation, documentation. We are constantly working on our documentation for both the customers and our own developers to easily consume our APIs. Our biggest advice is when you put together a team dedicated to the project, be sure to include the business process people. It’s far too common to train a programmer on the very basic business process long after they have wasted time on assumptions. Too often they are not working with their internal team members who are intimately familiar with the application logic and process. Even the best programmer will waste a lot of time if he or she does not have quick turnaround answers from the team requesting the customization or integration.

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