Conference Notes: ASC 2020

OpenAPI Initiative’s API specifications conference (ASC) was the first payed event I’ve attended. Usually I watch free online events or past videos available on YouTube or Vimeo, but this time I decided to bite my inner Scrooge McDuck since there were relevant topics and price was reasonable.

And I didn’t regret it! I would love to attend offline or online future event: community is golden. There were tons of activity and discussions. The obvious example was day two keynote where the discussion in the chat was almost (if not more) as active as the streamed panel discussion.

The recurring theme in all breakout sessions was API governance. I found it funny that many participants said that they try to avoid the word “governance” because it scares or alienates developers. In the case of my current company, all our work is about giving customers means to do information governance. And while we certainly need to become better at governing some of our own processes, at least we’re not scared of the word.

Talks that caught my attention (aside from keynotes):

  • Bridging Systems and Subcultures: A Swagger Origin Story - Zeke Sikelianos, GitHub
    • Was distracted by work for the first half of talk, so I’d want to rewatch it.
  • Communicating Warning Information in HTTP APIs - André Cedik, shipcloud.io
    • Schedule conflict; definitely to watch later.
  • Open APIs Wide Open - David Biesack, Apiture
    • Explains the power of x- in OpenAPI definition docs.
  • Managing API Specs at Scale - Jay Dreyer, Target Corporation
    • Inspiring to see how big companies govern their APIs; and you know, that’s not a rocket science, someone just have to do it!
  • From 0 to OpenAPI: Describing a 10-year old API with OpenAPI @ GitHub - Marc-André Giroux & Andrew Hoglund, GitHub
    • Schedule conflict; definitely to watch later.
  • Going AsyncAPI: The Good, The Bad, and The Awesome - Ben Gamble, Ably
    • I expected a bit more in depth explanation of practical usage for this specification, but it was still useful.
  • JSON Schema At Home in the OpenAPI Specification - Core concepts, Vocabularies, and Drafts for 2020 - Ben Hutton, JSON Schema
    • Rewatch and rewatch and rewatch: OpenAPI and JSON Schema are going to be compatible soon (yay!)
  • Create Delightful SDKs from OpenAPI - Lorna Mitchell, Vonage
    • In short, do not ship auto-generated clients. It’s like… deploying auto-generated servers.
  • The Augmented API Design Reviewer - Arnaud Lauret, Natixis
    • I’m a fan of Arnaud: his book sits on my table and his presentations are probably the best I’ve ever seen (visually and informationally).
  • The Vocabulary of APIs: Adaptive Linting for API Style Detection and Enforcement - Tim Burks, Google Nicole Gizzo, Google
    • Schedule conflict; definitely to watch later.
  • Contract as Code as Contract: Using Rust to Unify Specification and Implementation - Adam Leventhal & David Pacheco, Oxide Computer Company
    • Schedule conflict; definitely to watch later.
  • Contracts for Collaboration Driven Development - Alianna Inzana, SmartBear
    • Schedule conflict; definitely to watch later.
  • Get Rid of CRUD: Revealing Intent With Your API - Michael Brown, Microsoft
    • The talk that got me into the conference in the first place: this is what part of our development team is working on right now. Kudos to Michael for explaining me bits of it before the conference!
  • Don’t Make It Hard for Us! What Makes a “Good” API? - Matthew Adams & Carmel Eve, endjin
    • Good conversational session for chat, felt almost like a panel.
  • API Specification and Microservices Communication Patterns with gRPC - Kasun Indrasiri, WSO2 & Danesh Kuruppu, WSO2
    • You may have noticed it already, but even though the conference was organized by OpenAPI Initiative, all types of specifications were covered and gRPC is one of them.

Other stuff to mention:

  • Got my first conference t-shirt! It’s even the right size xD
  • There were some technical hiccups, the first day I missed starting several minutes in each session.
  • Surprisingly, there were several people from Montreal and Quebec. Local testing community seems to be way less active.

Oh, right, my usual rubric, whining about testers:

  1. Amusing (or not) observation: there was no “tester” option in the event registration form. Developers, managers, marketing, DevOps, whatever. But no testers. Oops.
  2. When people talk about API governance, they usually mention developers, product managers, tech writers. But almost never testers. I wonder why?
  3. Gotcha, no whining here! I’ve met a like-minded tester! She was quite active, and I was able to deduce that she was a tester just by the questions she posted. Can’t deny, there is a certain “world view” you get by wearing this hat long enough. The despair.