5 🔑 Takeaways from REST Fest 2016

I always enjoy a good conference, but I especially enjoy a conference where the things I learn can be used right away in my work. That was the case with REST Fest 2016, held this September in beautiful Greenville, SC.

Here’s a rundown of 5 key takeaways from the event that might be helpful for you as you progress along your API journey. A caveat: My focus is equally on the business of APIs as it is the technical aspects, so there’s a mix of things that I took away from the three days:

JSON formats, ease of consumption, and finding your best practice

JSON formats and new media types were a big topic of conversation at REST Fest, both during the talks and during the small group conversations. A few of the specifications that were discussed and worked on include:

Technical things aside, the key takeaways for us around this were: consumption needs to be made easy, and each organization needs to find their own best practices. Defining a common language around formats is one way to accomplish this.

Microservices (…and Picoservices!)

It’s hard to have an extended conversation about APIs these days without the topic of Microservices coming up. It’s a term that seems to adopt a different meaning depending on how an organization looks at them, and where their opportunities for improvement lie.

While Microservices themselves aren’t tightly coupled with each other, adopting a Microservices architecture usually means adopting DevOps practices that are tightly coupled with that architecture.

The two talks below give a somewhat different perspective on the topic:

And to take it one step further, what lies Beyond Microservices?

It’s not just about Microservices, or the (seemingly) cutting edge

“For an industry that wants to do APIs on the scale of decades, we are a very trend-based group of people” — Erlend Hamnaberg

For all the talk of cutting-edge formats and Microservices being the next evolution for enterprise API architectures, it’s important to remember that new isn’t always better.

In Leonard Richardson’s talk, The Magic Arrow, he shows us a unique yet pragmatic perspective on how to determine what the right solution for a problem is, and why it is important not to dismiss something just because it isn’t cutting edge:

The “magic arrow” is kind of like how the “cloud” came into wide use as a term

Developer humor & culture

I’m a big believer that “creating culture” is one of the highest manifestations of any given area of interest. People coming together for a conference like REST Fest is one example of culture, and so is the use of humor to explain things that are highly technical.

In addition to the humor in Ronnie Mitra’s Beyond Microservices talk above, Arnaud Laruent’s HTTP Status Trek was quite funny:

Thinking business, API monetization & valuation

Building and consuming APIs, especially at scale, is about delivering accelerated value back to the business. As businesses are wont to do, that value needs to be measured.

Rob Zazueta breaks this down into five models in his talk:

We’re of the opinion that “quality” is also a valid measure

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