With our Nordic APIs latest event tour kicking off in just over a week, we are excited to be sharing a packed agenda in each city. Each event will unpack in detail our theme of “private, partner and public APIs”. This includes discussion of:

  • security and user authentication protocols,
  • using open data via APIs,
  • building collaborative business partnerships via APIs, and
  • targeting new market opportunities with open APIs.

We have already discussed our Copenhagen event agenda. Now, let’s look at the rest of our tour: Stockholm, Helsinki and Oslo!

Stockholm, March 31st

nordic_localized_na_sthlm_14Stockholm will kick off our Nordic APIs event series this year. Co-organisers Andreas Krohn and Travis Spencer will have just returned from the API Strategy and Practice Conference in Amsterdam, and will no doubt have a heap of new case studies and ideas to share as they discuss how Nordic businesses can leverage the latest trends and best practices in API design and implementation.

After Andreas and Tom Burnell (from Axway) outline the current API business landscape, Holger Reinhardt from Layer 7 Technologies will discuss a key trend in API deployment that is gaining traction around the world: the infamous SDK vs API decision. As businesses look to making it easier for developers to get started using their APIs, many are turning to Software Development Kits (SDKs) that let developers plug API requests directly into their code, no matter whether they are using Python, Javascript, or another language. Holger’s talk “Do you want an SDK with that API?” will look at emerging patterns of providing an SDK alongside an API and discuss when this is useful for a public API strategy.

After a short break to let participants discuss and consider the first presentations of the day, we will return with a focus on security capabilities, and how to manage access to data for private APIs, in partner relationships, and when releasing a public API.

We are also excited to be hearing from Pernilla Näsfors who is currently heading up a World Bank initiative using APIs. This fascinating talk will shed light on how government departments around the world are opening their data via API, and how this agenda can be progressed by everyone — government and private business — using standard protocols in the design and delivery of public APIs.

The final sessions for the day focus on partner and public APIs: Sumit Sharma from MuleSoft will talk about how to leverage business partnerships by using API integrations. “There is a shift happening, business processes and collaborative systems are getting more loosely coupled and there is an explosion in the availability of business’ endpoints,” Sumit says.

“We are still seeing a lot of potential, for example, in the e-commerce supply chain [as can be seen in how Fyndiq is utilising their data architecture and API strategy at present]. Connecting thousands of companies requires a lot of effort. The notion that you are trying to do projects with trading partners – that sort of flexibility is allowing the API to mask and do the orchestration: not just integrate data but processes. This is allowing you more power and flexibility with the businesses you partner with,” Sumit explains. His talk will help businesses of all sizes use partner APIs to become “more enabled than ever before.”

To round out the Stockholm event, Ben Nunney, from Twilio, will bring us back to the business case for public APIs. Twilio, already a fast-growing business thanks to its open API, is now seeing another surge in growth as it adds new product features including voice-over-internet capabilities. Ben will discuss how open APIs are essential to the future growth of any forward-thinking business.

Helsinki, April 2nd

nordic_localized_na_helsinkiOur Helsinki event will be held on 2 April at Scandic Park. We are excited to have noted API thought leader Ronnie Mitra from Layer 7 Technologies sharing some of his experiences with our Finnish audience.

Layer 7 works with businesses of all sizes, from innovative startups to big brands, and Ronnie is at the centre of walking many of them through the challenges of moving to a private API structure for internal processes, using partner APIs in business relationships, and unlocking a business’ data and services via open API to a new audience. Ronnie will be able to highlight some of the common features that all types of APIs – private, partner and public – should consider so that future growth is seamless and efficient.

“At the most basic level, we advise API designers to consider the interface from the external perspective,” Ronnie told us. “In other words, the interface should be built to facilitate the tasks of the developer audience who must use it, regardless of the public or private nature of the API.”

“When taking this approach it may become evident that the nature of the interface changes as the access model becomes more open or closed. In rare cases, a private API can be ‘opened up’ with limited effort, but for the majority of API programs, careful thought must be put into the new developer audience that the interface will be exposed to. This usually means the interface itself needs to be updated as well as the supporting documentation, tooling and processes.”

Finally, Ronnie notes: “From an access perspective, all categories of APIs need to be carefully protected to ensure that the interface is only available to legitimate developers for legitimate use. While the actual list of developers who can access a private API is likely to be smaller than a public one, the basic infrastructure components (e.g. a security gateway, developer portal and API instance) can remain largely the same, provided they are built to scale with the additional demand that a public presence brings.”

While the audience thinks through the implications of Ronnie’s suggestions over a short break, they will return to our event agenda able to immediately start mapping out how this question of security can be resolved. Presentations by our co-organizer Travis Spencer from Twobo Technologies and by David Gorton from one of Nordic API’s sponsors, Ping Identity, will both discuss best practices in API access and security gateways.

We will also hear from Marjukka Niinioja of Finnish firm PlanMill. Marjukka’s talk on “The Accidental API Developer” will be an inspiration for anyone just getting started on their API journey. Learn from Marjukka’s experiences over the past 5 years working with APIs. Be invigorated by the potential and the excitement that comes with exploring new ways of doing business, thanks to the possibilities of API solutions.

Oslo, April 3rd

nordic_localized_na_osloOur final stop in Oslo on 3 April takes some of the best presentations from across the four day event series and brings them to a local audience. Norwegian businesses across the country are encouraged to attend at Mesh in central Oslo, with subsidized travel options available for businesses and API developers who are based elsewhere in the country.

Again, we are lucky to have Tom Burnell from Axway, Ronnie Mitra from Layer 7, Sumit Sharma from MuleSoft and Ben Nunney from Twilio offering their insights and helping walk our attendees through the potential of private, partner and public APIs.

David Gorton from Ping Identity will also be sharing his thoughts on how businesses can use the techniques they developed around web apps to establish the right data access protocols using APIs. David’s presentation, he says, will cover “how enterprises want to connect with customers and partners, and what the standards are that are involved, and how you can put those together to authenticate users and control access into the API themselves.”

“The thing I will really focus on is that web apps and APIs are not all that different so you can use the same systems to manage access to both,” David explains. “What it comes down to, over the last ten years, is that there has been a rise in federation for web applications: that is, transferring identity information securely between a partner and yourself.”

David says that in many cases, this federated system is ideal to use with APIs: “Now we are creating APIs to get access to the information behind the web apps, and what businesses want to do is give access to those APIs to the federated system. So it becomes more about how you authenticate users – you want to authenticate users the same way whether it is by the web or via APIs.” David will show how, with Ping Identity, “we are able to integrate the API standards OAuth with the web app standards SAML so that they can give access to their users via API.”

Continuing our related theme of hosting some of the best open data experts from the Nordic countries and from around the world at our Nordic APIs series, we are lucky to have Kristin Lyng from MET Norway speaking at our Oslo event. Kristin works with the opening up of weather data via open data APIs and she will speak about some of the key standards and best practices required in providing — and consuming — open data via APIs. Weather data is one of the most valuable open data sources in the world, with use cases for everything from precision agriculture, travel planning, transport risk management and emergency response services.

Where will you be joining us for Nordic APIs?

Throughout our event series there will be ample opportunities to meet with other businesses and build a network of like-minded Nordic businesses who share your interest and challenges in using APIs. Nordic APIs has been building this sense of community over the past year, and we expect that in addition to the event presentations themselves that, more than ever before, this series of events will foster a collaborative, engaged community of API developers, startups, government agencies and businesses, all keen to share your experiences and learn from each other. We will be making sure that you all get a chance to get to know some of the other participants that attend, as much as you get to meet and learn from our industry experts who will be sharing their knowledge with you.

We look forward to meeting you for Nordic APIs in Stockholm, Copenhagen, Helsinki and Oslo!

About Mark Boyd

Mark Boyd is a freelance writer specializing in the API economy, with a particular focus on API business models, open data and civic tech.

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