Track: The Future of the API: REST, gRPC, GraphQL and More

Location: Mountbatten, 6th flr.

Day of week: Tuesday

Modern APIs must meet many demands. They must help your developers be productive. They have to perform well, scale to meet demand, and be reliable. And they must be consumable by a variety of devices and other services. How can you write good APIs that meet all those needs now, and can safely evolve over time?  

This track will cover how technologies like gRPC and GraphQL help meet some of these challenges. We'll also see what the future holds for REST, and what tools and techniques help manage APIs in the distributed world of microservices.

Track Host: Thomas Betts

Lead Editor for Architecture and Design @InfoQ & Principal Software Engineer @IHSMarkitTech

Thomas Betts is the Lead Editor for Architecture and Design at InfoQ, and a Principal Software Engineer at IHS Markit Technology, now a part of Informa Tech. For over two decades, his focus has always been on providing software solutions that delight his customers. He has worked in a variety of industries, including retail, finance, health care, defense and travel. Thomas lives in Denver with his wife and son, and they love hiking and otherwise exploring beautiful Colorado.

10:35am - 11:25am

Next Generation Client APIs in Envoy Mobile

Session details to follow.

Jose Nino, Software Engineer @lyft and Envoy Maintainer

11:50am - 12:40pm

Upgrading Team Communication With GraphQL

Session details to follow.

Michelle Garrett, Software Engineer @CondeNast

1:40pm - 2:30pm

The Future of the API Open Space

Details to follow.

2:55pm - 3:45pm

A Brief History of the Future of the API

The API landscape is constantly shifting. In the olden days, an API was just a way of coding against somebody else’s libraries. With the rise of networks in the 1990s, APIs became distributed across multiple systems, and we created patterns, standards and frameworks to make building those systems easier. In the 2000s, when XML ruled the world, we used SOAP to allow cross-platform remote procedure calls. Then the web-friendly ReST and JSON appeared and we all adopted that. Today, we compose complex applications from microservices that need high-performance messaging, which gRPC promises to deliver. Meanwhile, GraphQL competes with ReST to be the favoured solution for public, web-facing APIs.    

In this talk, we’ll look at these various technologies and standards from across the years, the pros and cons of each, and which solutions are appropriate for which problems. We’ll also look at ways of migrating legacy APIs from old technologies to the modern alternatives.

Mark Rendle, Co-Author of gRPC for WCF Developers and Creator @VisualRecode

4:10pm - 5:00pm

Designing Event-Driven Architectures Using the AsyncAPI Specification

In the world of REST APIs, we're used to having a great variety of tools and specifications (Swagger, OpenAPI, RAML). This has enabled us to automate the generation of documentation portals, code, and also led to a bunch of excellent API management services like Apigee, Mulesoft, Kong, and many more.      

On the contrary, the world of event-driven architectures hasn't received much love until recently. With the growth of technologies like Kafka or RabbitMQ and architectures like microservices, organizations are starting to adopt event-driven architectures more and more.      

In this session, we'll go through the key points we learned about APIs and apply them to the event-driven or asynchronous APIs (yes, they're APIs too.) AsyncAPI instead of OpenAPI/Swagger, AMQP/MQTT/Kafka instead of HTTP, and publish/subscribe instead of request/response.      

At the end of the talk, you will have learned how to document, code, and test your event-driven architecture.

Fran Méndez, Creator of AsyncAPI

5:25pm - 6:15pm

The Future of Cloud Native API Gateways

The introduction of microservices, Kubernetes, and cloud technology has provided many benefits for developers. However, the age-old problem of getting user traffic routed correctly to the API of your backend applications can still be an issue, and may be complicated with the adoption of cloud native approaches: applications are now composed of multiple (micro)services that are built and released by independent teams; the underlying infrastructure is dynamically changing; services support multiple protocols, from HTTP/JSON to WebSockets and gRPC, and more; and many API endpoints require custom configuration of cross-cutting concerns, such as authn/z, rate limiting, and retry policies.      

A cloud native API gateway is on the critical path of all requests, and also on the critical path for the workflow of any developer that is releasing functionality. Join this session to learn about the underlying technology and the required changes in engineering workflows. Key takeaways will include:      

  • A brief overview of the evolution of API gateways over the past ten years, and how the original problems being solved have shifted in relation to cloud native technologies and workflow      
  • Two important challenges when using an API gateway within Kubernetes: scaling the developer workflow; and supporting multiple architecture styles and protocols
  • Strategies for exposing Kubernetes services and APIs at the edge of your system      
  • Insight into the (potential) future of cloud native API gateways

Richard Li, Founder and CEO @datawireio


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