To kick off Season 2, our hosts Matt McLarty and Mike Amundsen are joined by special guest David Berlind, Editor and Chief of ProgrammableWeb, to answer provocative questions on 2021’s API hot topics. From the impact of open API spaces to friendly debates on whether or not web APIs exist, Matt, Mike, and David take a deep dive into lessons learned, API impact and maturity, and the future state of the API economy in this two-part conversation.
Check out Episode 1 to hear API Unplugged discussions on Parler, low-code integration, RPAs, and AI:
In 2020, COVID-19 created a digital transformation like none other. With people forced into quarantine, the world has gone virtual creating additional channels of online touchpoints that require more API-led connectivity than before.
As the need for connected data and applications increases in 2021, what does this mean for the API ecosystem? To get a better sense of what this looks like, it’s time to ask some provocative questions about the API space.
Provocative API questions with David Berlind
In the wake of the Washington, D.C. riots, Parler.com, an alternative social network that promised a censor-free zone for political topics, was next up for de-platforming. Due to violations of their acceptable use policies and failing to remove posts that incite violence, Twilio, AWS, and other tech companies notified Parler that they would be turning off their provision of services.
Unfortunately, this news wasn’t well received. Parler responded by discontinuing SMS authentication features provided by Twilio’s APIs. This drove a host of new and potentially imposter-driven registrations and left Parler without any other security authentication alternatives. Although APIs may occasionally go down, if an API’s capability is extremely important to a mission-critical service, a contingency plan with alternate providers in place is key.
In addition, Parler’s APIs delivering content from backend servers to mobile applications were completely unsecured. This opened the door for activists, riot participants, and even law enforcement authorities to exfiltrate more than 55 terabytes of data, including posts, photos, and videos. The use of structured and sequential IDs paired with zero security made Parler’s data freely accessible to anyone who had access to the URL path. So when learning from this cautionary tale, consider the best approach to randomizing IDs and designing and securing APIs.
Are APIs shifting to low-code and RPAs?
In the world of APIs, low-code integration and robotic process automation (RPA) are all about lowering the barrier of entry and automating processes. Making something available in low- or no-code means empowering non-developers to innovate unlike before. “When we talk about ‘low’ we’re talking about better access — creating better reach and access to more people so that they can add their creative energies to innovative projects,” says Mike. Low-code integration promotes low-code development and enables citizen integration. It has the ability to make the power of APIs available to developers and non-developers who have innovative, game-changing visions for the business by creating tools that have greater access to what APIs offer.
When it comes to RPAs (formerly known as screen scraping), we’re living in a 2.0 experience with AI-assisted process automation — where robotic process access and AI collide. This replaces the decision-making human with machine learning, making digital bots more intelligent. It’s perfect for developers and coders tasked with deciding which manual processes to automate, and even better when empowering citizen integrators to perform their own integrations.
When big data and APIs meet artificial intelligence
In the world of big data and APIs, artificial intelligence (AI) continues to make its mark. Today, APIs offer the ability to centralize data into a single source of truth to create a 360-degree view. However, when looking for the needle in the haystack, it’s humanly impossible. This is where AI comes in. When accessed through APIs, AI adds context and simplifies the process of sorting through data to finally find the needle. This integration provides intelligent insights and data-driven analytics that are then used to identify key opportunities for the business.
The conversation doesn’t stop here. There are many more insights to be gained from this two-part podcast. Don’t miss an episode of API Unplugged to hear more of Matt, Mike, and David’s discussion on the post-REST paradigm, API discovery, and more.