Quick thoughts on API World (or is it Integrate? Or is it Data Week?) 2016

I attended a trio of conferences at the San Jose Convention Center from September 12th to 14th 2016.

The conferences consisted of 3 different tracks

  • Microservices
  • Data Week
  • Integration (IoT & APIs)
One of the few group panels

I spent most of my time attending microservices and data science sessions.

Many employees from companies like Box, Intuit, Adobe, Netflix, Amazon, and Tableau. In addition many people representing startups. Several companies that had “X as a Service” type products. All of them wanted to help you fill a need in a scalable microservice architecture.

One thing I noticed is that almost everyone was seemed to be using Amazon Web Services but wanted to have an abstraction to switch between different cloud solutions. Avoiding lock-in is a main reason for this but some of them it was for cost reasons.

TL;DR: I’ve put up a gallery of photos and video from various sessions here.

Sessions

Below are a handful of the sessions I attended with short summaries:

Establishing a Foundation For Microservices — Mike Amundsen, CA Technologies

This was a great introductory talk to microservices. Mike talked about how microservices mean different things to different organization but all have the same underlying commonalities of speed, safely and resiliency. He also has a free ebook on Microservices.

Data Visualization in Virtual Reality — Bob Levy, Virtual Cove

The premise was that machine learning is a good but not great for some situations. How can we utilize the human mind to consume highly dense information? Bob suggested that n-dimensional plots in a VR context are “Data compression for the brain”. The solution is to use AR and VR headsets to step through data. Eventually think this sort data visualization will become more popular.

\Some setup to explain why 3D plots aren’t enough

Using Spark with Shiny and R Markdown — Nathan Stephens, Rstudio

I was introduced to RStudio. I don’t consider myself a data scientist so it ‘s great to get introduced to new tools to make my analysis easier. Right after the session I played with R for a bit in RStudio and I have to admit it got some things done much faster than writing in the proprietary languages I use in my day job.

Applying Domain-Driven Design to APIs and Microservices — James Higginbotham, Launch Any

The DB is not the API. Don’t start at the DB. Too often developers confuse a place for storage and optimization with business goals. APIs are critical to microservices.

The Rise of the Data Selfie — Trina Chiasson, Tableau

Trina emphasized how to make data personal. My biggest take away from this was to make sure people can see themselves in data. Consider the data visualization below. A reader is instantly drawn to the navigation so that they compare themselves against everyone else.

From the NYTimes

APIs at the Scale of the Blockchain — Andrew Curioso, GoCoin

Personally this was an edifying session that covered the who, what, when, where and how of Blockchain.

A Case Study Using APIs and Serverless Architecture — Scott Morrison, CA Technologies

Scott presented the architecture of a CNN mobile app that was completely based on APIs and AWS Lambda. This was an example of how APIs can provide governance for serverless architectures. It reminds me of Azure is trying to do with the Power Apps product.

Quotes

I try to recall great quotes. This are a few I heard at the conferences:

  • “Leaders can only recognize and modify conditions that prevent success “
  • How much complexity can you pay for while still reaching your goals?”
  • “Look at your code base and identify what is changing the most. That area is probably where the business value is.”
  • “Looking at someone else’s data is like looking at someone else’s action photos…it’s kind of boring”
  • “AWS Lambda services are a change the world kind of thing”

Conclusion

This was my first time at this trio of conferences. Like many tech conference everyone has something to sell. When a technical session morphs into an infomercial one can get turned off really quickly. Most the session avoided this folly. Not sure I would attend again but it’s always good to what’s going on outside of your own company.

The full schedule can be found here: https://apiworld2016.sched.org