The week in API strategy, news, articles, and upcoming events.
James Higginbotham, Curator  A hand-curated weekly newsletter for API developers, sponsored by LaunchAny and CaseySoftware

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API Developer Weekly

February 2, 2017 - Issue #147
Hot Topics
6 Common API Errors
Have you ever used an API that returned an HTML error page instead of the JSON you expected, causing your code to blow up? What about receiving a 200 OK status code with a cryptic error message in your response? Building an API can be as quick as serving fast food. []

Hypermedia Myths and Misconceptions
Summary Glenn Block discusses the truth and myth beyond some beliefs: the web was built for hypermedia, there is no REST without hypermedia, hypermedia is the magic cure for all API ills, etc. Glenn Block is Director of Product Management for Webtask at Auth0. []

GraphQL vs REST: Overview
A few months back I wrote a comparison between RPC and REST for Smashing Magazine, and now I want to talk about the differences between REST and GraphQL: the new kid on the block. GraphQL is incorrectly considered by some to be a "replacement" to REST. []

Netflix's Open Source Orchestrator, Conductor, May Prove the Limits of Ordinary Scalability
How many times has this happened to you? You're minding your own business one day, running your international delivery system for high-definition dramatic and comedic video with 16-channel stereo sound on tens of thousands of concurrent channels. Your content suppliers in Tokyo or Copenhagen or wherever, just like every other day, are flooding you with ... by Scott M. Fulton III, Darryl Taft, Kiran "CK" Oliver []

Need to Make Your Website Mobile Friendly? Google Has An API for That
If your website isn't already mobile friendly, it should be. Google today released the Mobile Friendly Test API, a tool that lets developers automatically and quickly see if their webpages are mobile friendly. Think of it as a useful instrument for what should be a mandatory business practice. []

Automating Screenshots in Documentation
Drawing my short series to a close (we've talked about testing code examples in documentation and automating spelling and grammar checks in documentation), let's cover one of the hardest elements of documentation to create and keep up to date: screenshots. by Chris Ward []

How To Analyze Tweets for Topic and Sentiment
With over 317 million active users a month, Twitter has become a wealth of data for those trying to understand how people feel about brands, topics, and more. Mining Twitter data for insights is one of the most common natural language processing tasks. At Algorithmia, we allow users to remix different algorithms into microservices. by Diego Oppenheimer []

How to Get Started With Google Actions
Voice enabled applications are widely expected to see a lot of action this year with Amazon's Echo and Google's Home devices likely to get more user acceptance. As a developer, it is important to tap into this ecosystem early. This tutorial will walk you through getting started with Google Actions. []

Parse Officially Shuts Down
After a year-long retirement phase, Parse has officially shutdown. A popular Backend as a Service platform, Parse shot to fame in the developer community quickly after its founding in 2011. Facebook acquired Parse in 2013, but Facebook directed resources elsewhere starting in early 2016. []

Beating JSON performance with Protobuf
Protobuf, the binary format crafted by Google, surpasses JSON performance even on JavaScript environments like Node.js/V8 and web browsers. by Sebastián Peyrott []

DevDocs offline API browser now available for desktops
Last month we wrote about DevDocs for Chrome, a free extension which gives access to API documentation for around 200 programming languages and technologies. Now an unofficial Electron-based applet, DevDocs, brings the service specifically to the desktop, with downloads available for Windows, Linux and Mac. The program doesn't require installation. by Mike Williams []

Funding The Development Of An API Ranking Solution
I will be continuing to formalizing my definition of API ratings, but will also be soliciting funds to bring together the smart folks in the space who I feel should be contributing to such an important project. If your company, organization, institution, or agency would like to invest in the existence of an API rating and ranking system please contact me directly. []

Upcoming Web API Events
A list of upcoming Web API Events, maintained by Matthew Reinbold
The Business of APIs
Companies are missing the point of the API economy
Open APIs continue to be a larger and larger part of application development. It will only continue to grow in 2017. This rapidly expanding API economy environment encourages creativity, innovation and expansion from developers. Developers are free to build off of the applications of other developers and create more complex and intertwined applications in ways that would never be possible without open APIs. []

Building a Viable API IoT Business in an Immature Market
For Internet of Things project deployments to be successful, solution providers need to be really clear about their product-market fit. The excitement of ideas that IoT can address, mixed with the lack of industry-wide interoperable standards, is creating a highly complex landscape of what-if potentials that sound good on business canvases but don't end up translating to the real world. by Mark Boyd []

Rebranding of Restlet's API-First Platform
We would like to inform you that in two weeks, Restlet Platform modules DHC and APISpark will become Restlet Client and Restlet Cloud. The modules themselves will only continue to improve and you'll see more integrations between them as we take into account the valuable feedback that we get from our users. by Francois Artusse []

Lessons from Building Dev Communities Around Parking IoT APIs
Parking optimisation with sensors and APIs is one of the clearest use cases for industrial and smart city IoT implementation. There is a clear business opportunity : maximising revenue from car parking spaces. There is a clear asset that can be opened up via API: realtime availability on parking bay vacancy. by Mark Boyd []

Pandora vs Target When Considering How Public To Be With Your API Operations
Target really doesn't have that much more than Pandora does, but they have a blog and link to their Github, and of course their jobs page. I'm still going to publish the documentation for my own APIs, and go further than Target has, but I have to give them credit for being at least a little more creative, and public than Pandora. []
(Un)Related Topics
GitLab offline after catastrophic database error loses mountains of data
The YCombinator and Khosla Ventures-backed GitLab is hugely popular among developers, who appreciate the fact that it's as close as you'll get to an all-in-one solution. The service includes everything a developer could possibly need over the course of a project. by Matthew Hughes []

Bot or not? | Part 1 - Think Big
With chatbots and robots having stronger artificial intelligence every day - and with the sure-to-be epic Blade Runner 2049 out later this year - one question is going to continue to plague us: How can you tell if you're talking to a bot? There's no doubt that Westworld and Black Mirror leave us wondering if ... by Jennifer Riggins []

How to Protect Data at Rest with Amazon EC2 Instance Store Encryption
This blog post shows you how to encrypt a file system on EC2 instance storage by using built-in Linux libraries and drivers with LVM and LUKS, in conjunction with AWS services such as S3 and KMS. If your applications need temporary storage, you can use an EC2 internal disk that is physically attached to the host computer. []

Bonsai Aims to Do for Artificial Intelligence What Databases Do for Data - The New Stack
How can artificial intelligence help a food processor maximize yield from a licorice-extrusion machine? How can AI help a company that rents out LEGO sets quickly determine whether pieces are missing from returned sets? If indeed software is eating the world, artificial intelligence is poised to take the next big bite, with highly targeted systems ... by Susan Hall, Darryl Taft, Scott M. Fulton III []

Will 2017 Mark the Death of PaaS? - Cloud Technology Partners
PaaS, or Platform-as-a-Service, is something that's not used as much as initially predicted within enterprises. There are many reasons why. []

The Infrastructure Behind Twitter: Scaling Networking, Storage and Provisioning
The Twitter Engineering team has recently provided an insight into the evolution and scaling of the core technologies behind their in-house infrastructure that powers the social media service. Core lessons shared included: Architect beyond the original specifications; there is no such a thing as a "temporary change or workaround"; and documenting best practices has been a "force multiplier". []

Amazon Alexa Poised to Bring Natural Language Processing to Businesses
Amazon's Alexa, a voice-activated natural language processing system, has made great inroads into the home digital assistant market, proving once and for all that using natural language to command technology is no longer science fiction. Currently, Alexa is primarily available integrated into Amazon's series of smart speakers, marketed as the Echo, the Dot, and the Tap. by Frank J. Ohlhorst []
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