Developer Programs and APIs in the News – Volume 2, Number 5

In today’s interconnected world, companies in all industries need to publish APIs and cultivate a developer community to access and use them. To be competitive today, attracting and supporting developers is essential. The key to cultivating a vibrant developer community that uses your APIs and supports your platform is a good developer relations program. “Developer Programs and APIs in the News” is a series of news items from developer programs around the world.

Developer Programs and APIs in the News

Twilio – May 25, 2017 – Twilio Announces Proxy — Next Generation API for Building Private and Moderated Conversations with Customers – “Twilio, the leading cloud communications platform for developers, today announced Twilio Proxy, a new API to power private text and voice conversations between a customer and a mobile worker. Any business with a mobile workforce can now enable workers to connect with customers using their own device, while providing a layer of privacy and security to both the worker and the customer.”
Microsoft – May 24, 2017 – Microsoft R Open: The Enhanced R Distribution v3.4.0 is now available – “Microsoft R Open, formerly known as Revolution R Open (RRO), is the enhanced distribution of R from Microsoft Corporation. The current release, Microsoft R Open 3.4.0, is based the statistical language R-3.4.0 and includes additional capabilities for improved performance, reproducibility and platform support. Just like R, Microsoft R Open 3.4.0 is open source and free to download, use, and share.”
Google, IBM, Lyft – May 24 2017 – Introducing Istio: A robust service mesh for microservices – “Google, IBM, and Lyft are proud to announce the first public release of Istio: an open source project that provides a uniform way to connect, secure, manage and monitor microservices. Our current release is targeted at the Kubernetes environment; we intend to add support for other environments such as virtual machines and Cloud Foundry in the coming months.”
Amazon AWS – May 22, 2017 – New AWS Training and Certification Portal – “The new AWS Training and Certification Portal allows you to access and manage your training and certification activities, progress, and benefits – all in one place. Previously, you had to rely on multiple websites to find and manage training and certification offerings. Now you have a central place where you can find and enroll in AWS Training, register for AWS Certification exams, track your learning progress, and access benefits based on the AWS Certifications you have achieved.”
Google – May 18, 2017 – What’s next for Google payment and loyalty experiences – “Yesterday, we announced the Google Payment API, which lets people pay in app or online with any verified credit or debit card saved to their Google Account, via products like Google Play, Chrome and YouTube.”
JetBrains – May 17, 2017 – Kotlin on Android. Now official – “Today, at the Google I/O keynote, the Android team announced first-class support for Kotlin. We believe this is a great step for Kotlin, and fantastic news for Android developers as well as the rest of our community. We’re thrilled with the opportunities this opens up. For Android developers, Kotlin support is a chance to use a modern and powerful language, helping solve common headaches such as runtime exceptions and source code verbosity.”
Google – May 17, 2017 – Build and train machine learning models on our new Google Cloud TPUs – “We’re excited to announce that our second-generation Tensor Processing Units (TPUs) are coming to Google Cloud to accelerate a wide range of machine learning workloads, including both training and inference. We call them Cloud TPUs, and they will initially be available via Google Compute Engine. Each of these new TPU devices delivers up to 180 teraflops of floating-point performance. As powerful as these TPUs are on their own, though, we designed them to work even better together.”
Silver Spring Networks – May 16, 2017 – Silver Spring Networks Expands IoT Developer Program – “Silver Spring Networks, Inc. announced the extension of its developer program with the introduction of a new developer portal, developer kits and a simulation tool for application development. Silver Spring aims to accelerate innovation for the Internet of Important Things. Support for the Arduino developer environment, the simplification of software tools, and the new developer portal will broaden the potential devices and applications that can integrate Silver Spring’s IoT technology into solutions for utilities, cities and industrial companies.”
Google – May 16, 2017 – Introducing Google Cloud IoT Core: for securely connecting and managing IoT devices at scale – “Announcing a new fully-managed Google Cloud Platform (GCP) service called Google Cloud IoT Core. Cloud IoT Core makes it easy for you to securely connect your globally distributed devices to GCP, centrally manage them and build rich applications by integrating with our data analytics services. When used as part of a broader Google Cloud IoT solution, Cloud IoT Core gives you access to new operational insights that can help your business react to, and optimize for, change in real time.”
Microsoft – May 10, 2017 – Azure Cosmos DB: The industry’s first globally-distributed, multi-model database service – “Today, we’re excited to announce the general availability of Azure Cosmos DB. Azure Cosmos DB is the first globally-distributed data service that lets you to elastically scale throughput and storage across any number of geographical regions while guaranteeing low latency, high availability and consistency – backed by the most comprehensive SLAs in the industry. Azure Cosmos DB is built to power today’s IoT and mobile apps, and tomorrow’s AI-hungry future.”
Oracle – May 10, 2017 – Oracle API Platform Cloud Enables Customers to Drive Business Transformation and API-First Thinking – “Oracle today expanded Oracle Cloud Platform’s integration offerings with the availability of Oracle API Platform Cloud Service. Bringing together leading API-first design and governance capabilities from recently acquired Apiary and API management from Oracle, the new cloud service delivers end-to-end capabilities for designing, prototyping, documenting, testing, and managing the proliferation of critical APIs.”
Unsplash – May 9, 2017 – The Unsplash API is now open & free – “It’s never been easier to make something awesome with Unsplash photos. Oh boy. The moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here. Assuming you’ve been waiting for us to make an announcement about the Unsplash API… Or were you expecting something else? A .gif perhaps? Have we satisfied your .gif cravings? Good, now let’s get down to business: the Unsplash API is now 100% open and free to outside developers.”
NVIDIA – May 8, 2017 – NVIDIA Releases VRWorks Audio and 360 Video SDKs at GTC – “NVIDIA is making VR more immersive, and VR development easier, with the release of VR audio and 360-degree video stitching as part of our VRWorks software development kit. The VRWorks Audio SDK provides real-time ray tracing of audio in virtual environments, and is supported in Epic’s Unreal Engine 4. The VRWorks 360 Video SDK addresses the complex challenge of real-time video stitching.”
Google – April 27, 2017 – Introducing the Google Assistant SDK – “With this SDK you can now start building your own hardware prototypes that include the Google Assistant, like a self-built robot or a voice-enabled smart mirror. This allows you to interact with the Google Assistant from any platform.”
Shopify – April 20, 2017 – Building for Developer Success with Shopify’s Newest APIs – “In building more paths to more entrepreneurs, we hope you can use these new APIs to help pave the road for entrepreneurial success. To make marketing better for merchants, and to improve how these apps show their strength, we’re introducing the Marketing Events API. With the new Reporting API, we’re giving all developers the ability to generate customized, app-specific reports.”
Apple – April 20, 2017 – Introducing LivePhotosKit JS – “This new JavaScript-based API makes it easy to embed Live Photos on your websites. In addition to enabling Live Photos on iOS and macOS, you can now let users display their Live Photos on the web.”
Facebook – April 18, 2017 – Messenger Platform 2.0 Debuts at F8 – “Today at F8, we introduced Messenger Platform 2.0, a new suite of tools that gives you the ability to build richer experiences, get discovered, and extend the conversational, visual and social capabilities of your bots. With more than 1.2 billion monthly users and over 100,000 monthly active bots, we are focused on learning and building for our developers.”
TeleSign – April 18, 2017 – Taking on the $8B Communications Platform as a Service Market – “Today we open our premium global network, proprietary data intelligence and innovative communications and security APIs, enjoyed by 20 of the 25 largest brands in the world, to a wider developer audience for the first time via a new self-service portal at www.telesign.com/go”
Apple – April 11, 2017 – What’s New in TestFlight – “TestFlight in iTunes Connect now provides multiple build support, enhanced group capabilities, and improved tester management—making it even easier to test your apps. TestFlight now lets you distribute and test multiple builds at the same time, so testers can choose from a number of builds to test.”

 

Send me your Developer Programs News!

If you have news about your Developer Relations Program, send me an email about the news.

David I - Developer Relations Conference

David Intersimone “David I”
Vice President of Developer Communities
Evans Data Corporation
davidi@evansdata.com
Blog: https://www.devrelate.com/blog/
Skype: davidi99
Twitter: @davidi99
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidi99/

Less Than a Third of Companies Have an Overall Cyber Security Policy

With the recent WannaCry ransomeware attack on sites around the world, you might wonder whether your Developer Community site is secure. You might also consider helping your developer program members ensure that they are using security best practices as well.

Cyber security has become one of the hottest issues today, but Evans Data’s just released Global Development Survey shows that only 31% of software developers say their company has an overall formal security policy that is uniformly adhered to throughout the organization. More companies, 34%, have an informal policy that is adopted by various departments throughout the company, while another quarter either have no particular policy or one that is piecemeal and defined by the various departments themselves.

In last November’s DevRelate blog post, “Security Chops for your Developer Relations Program and Team Members“, I encouraged all developer relations team members, whether they are part of a security based company or not, to be able to speak to the security aspects of software development. DevRel advocates should also be able to assure their members that the developer community site and APIs developers use are safe from security problems.

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Less Than a Third of Companies Have an Overall Cyber Security Policy

Evans Data’s recent press release, “Less Than a Third of Companies Have an Overall Cyber Security Policy“, reports that developers within the APAC region are the most likely to cite an overall formal cyber security strategy, according to the global survey of over 1500 developers in conducted in six languages over four major geographical regions. In North America and the EMEA region companies are more likely to have an informal policy that does not extend across the whole enterprise. EMEA is also the region where more companies with no particular policy at all are found.

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In addition, only 26% of developers worldwide say they are developing their apps to run on secure and trusted systems. However an additional 19% expect to be doing this within the next 6 months.

“Recent events have highlighted the need for enhanced cyber security,” said Janel Garvin, CEO of Evans Data, “but security has been a top issue for software developers for quite some time and across many disciplines. We have consistently seen the developers themselves citing security as a chief concern so there is frustration that their companies aren’t taking an overall approach.”

 

Evans Data Global Development Survey

The Global Development Survey is conducted twice a year with broad topic focus on issues such as Platforms, Languages, Development Lifecycle and Tools, Blockchain development, Artificial Intelligence and Big data, Mobility, Cloud, High Performance Computing, Databases, Security, Game Development and more.

See the complete Table of Contents and Methodology here: Table of Contents

 

Practice Secure Computing and Help your Developers Members Do the Same

Do your developer relations team members have security chops? Do your advocates keep track of the state of the art in secure computing? Does your developer relations site have the right security features? Do you help your developer community members practice secure computing? If your answers to some of these questions are no or I’m not sure, now is the time to increase your security chops!

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David Intersimone “David I”
Vice President of Developer Communities
Evans Data Corporation
davidi@evansdata.com
Blog: https://www.devrelate.com/blog/
Skype: davidi99
Twitter: @davidi99

 

Do you provide Swagger YAML and JSON files with your APIs?

Every developer has their own swagger based on their background, education, coding style, programming language used, etc. In this blog post I am talking about a different kind/type of Swagger.

When developers are interested in using an API provided by a operating system, platform, service, cloud, or device vendor, I’ll bet that one of the first things they will search for is to see if there is an API binding for their favorite programming language. Or, maybe your developer program members are the type of developers who just need the REST/JSON calling information? Where possible, I like to use client and server language bindings, components or frameworks for my development projects. Wouldn’t it be great if all APIs included great documentation and also YAML and/or JSON files for the APIs?

Swagger to the Rescue

With the Swagger YAML and/or JSON files I could use Swagger’s CodeGen tool to create bindings for more than 20 server side languages and more than 40 client side languages. That would be awesome. With Swagger supporting a range of tools, both the API developer creator can build their APIs using their programming language of choice and the API developer consumer can use their favorite programming language.

My one simple statement is “If your API supports REST and JSON then you can Reach out to Every Developer“. The text statement on the Swagger site say it succinctly – “Swagger is the world’s largest framework of API developer tools for the OpenAPI Specification(OAS), enabling development across the entire API lifecycle, from design and documentation, to test and deployment.” While most developer program APIs support some common languages including Java, C++, C, C#, JavaScript, PHP, Ruby and Python, there are many other programming languages that also support REST and JSON web services. Why would you intentionally make it harder for developers that use other programming languages?

REST/JSON based APIs work with just about every programming language

My REST/JSON and APIs blog post on the Evans Data DevRelate community site includes links to REST/JSON supporting information for additional programming languages. It’s time for more developer program APIs to make it easier for developers,  using all programming languages, to build applications.

The statement on the Swagger CodeGen tool site says it so well – “Build APIs quicker and improve consumption of your Swagger-defined APIs in every popular language with Swagger Codegen. Swagger Codegen can simplify your build process by generating server stubs and client SDKs from your Swagger specification, so your team can focus on your API’s implementation and adoption.”

Do your Developer Program APIs include Swagger support?

Do you provide you developer program APIs with Swagger YAML and/or JSON files? Send me an email if you do and I’ll be very happy to pass along the word to developers.

 

David I

David Intersimone “David I”
Vice President of Developer Communities
Evans Data Corporation
davidi@evansdata.com
Blog: https://devnet.evansdata.org/
Skype: davidi99
Twitter: @davidi99

 

Tracking Industry Dashboards to Align your DevRel Outreach

As part of keeping developers up to date on your company’s products and services, your developer relations program staff should keep track of what is happening with the operating systems that developers use for desktop, server, and mobile platforms. A great way to keep up to date is to bookmark some of the following dashboards that report version usage patterns for users, developers, devices, desktops and platforms.

Evans Data Developer Surveys – tracking host/target OS

Evans Data Corporation was created to fill the demand for market research, market intelligence, and strategic planning in the software development industry. Since then we have become the industry leader in market intelligence focused on all areas of development from software to hardware to mobility.

At EDC we have in-depth and focused experience working with high-tech professionals, and we specialize in conducting market research in the IT and development community. We are experts in analyzing technology trends and attitudes. We know how to speak the language and ask the right questions and more importantly, we can understand the answers.

You will find host and target operating system developer usage and plans for the future in the bi-annual Global Development Survey. Evans Data’s other developer surveys can also help you target your products and services for versions of databases, cloud systems, IoT devices, AI and more. Click on the image below to see the list of EDC research and how it can help you in your developer relations outreach efforts.

EDC How-can-we-help-you

Most developers will use a Windows based PC for their development even though they may be targeting Windows and other operating systems and devices. Developers target a variety of operating systems running on desktop/laptop PCs, Smartphones, Tablets, Cloud, and Embedded devices. The top two target areas are desktop/laptop PCs and Smartphones.

You will find additional research results for these host and target systems in the EDC bi-annual survey reports.

Development Related Industry/Platform Dashboards

In addition to the Evans Data developer research, as a developer myself, I also keep track of additional dashboards covering desktop/laptop PC use, mobile OS version use and programming language trends.

There are several operating system, platforms and device based version dashboards that you can also use to track adoption and impact on developers. Most notable are the Google/Android and Apple mobile operating system adoption dashboards.

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Are there other Dashboards that you Use?

If you use additional, publicly available dashboards to track developer, platform, smartphone, device, etc. trends, send me an email and I will update this blog post.
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David Intersimone “David I”
Vice President of Developer Communities
Evans Data Corporation
davidi@evansdata.com
Blog: https://www.devrelate.com/blog/
Skype: davidi99
Twitter: @davidi99
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidi99/

 

Developer Personas I Have Known

In the forty-seven years since I wrote my first program, I can honestly say that I’ve never met a developer that I didn’t like. In all those years I have created many different types of applications and met tens of thousands of programmers in buildings, in cities and at conferences across the planet Earth. While source code and hardware are two of the things that most developers have in common, there are many other tangible differences that uniquely identify each of the more than twenty-one million professional developers building cool systems and apps. Beyond programming professionals, there is a greater number of humans (and bots) that are also creating solutions using automation – sometimes called citizen programmers, solution developers, occupational programmers, and other non-traditional software engineering designations.

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Of course, there are popular platforms and programming languages that bring developers together. And, the Internet has helped bring us even closer together. Yet, the global developer population is very diverse in many ways. One of the key aspects of building a robust developer community is to identify your developers.

When I’m asked about developer sizes, I usually smile and reply with something like “small, medium, large, extra-large, and massive”. When I was focused on building developer tools, my elevator pitch was “I work for a company that makes the software that developers use to make the software that humans use.”

We can use demographics, psychographics and firmographics to place some developers into manageable buckets. Yet, there are so many other ways to categorize, quantize, and organize developers based on who they are, what they do, and what they create. Some developer qualities can be defined by the types of apps they create, the computer languages they use, the type of devices they target, the social media they are active in, and so on.

A developer program is only as strong as its community. No matter the industry, to have a thriving business you need to reach out to developers who can benefit your product, platform, service, device, etc. Drawing developers into your community with world class resources, tools and activities will create a win-win environment that benefits their careers and your business. A good way to focus your efforts on a target developer audience is by categorizing developers into several, quantifiable “personas” or groups based on social characteristics, tech adoption, industry, and other characteristics.

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Developer Personas I have Known – a top 10 list

Here is my top ten list of developer personas for people I have worked with over my career (names have been removed to protect the tech fanatics – you know who you are):

  • Machine Language Developer – will only use assembly language and machine code to create fast running reusable functions.
  • Just Give Me the Spec Architect – can take any product design concept (detailed on the back of a napkin or in a complete requirements specification) and create an elegant app solution.
  • Tool Chain Engineer – lives to integrate disparate development tools into a cohesive build environment.
  • Compiler Jockey – loves to create new programming languages and work with the back end code optimizer to make target processors smile (and computer fans turn on).
  • Extreme Hacker – able to dig deep into any device, bios or application code to find a problem and create a patch to fix it.
  • Weekend Maker – in under 40 hours with no sleep can create  a truly wondrous child’s toy using an Arduino or RaspberryPi board and some tiny-C code.
  • Old School Coder – creates multi-device reusable libraries using C and inline assembler that can be consumed by any programming language.
  • Service Modernization Engineer – can quickly create a new REST/JSON based service API based on any older distributed computing APIs (RPC, DCE, CORBA, SOAP, etc.)
  • Cloud Seeder – can quickly migrate an internal application to a public/private/hybrid cloud based infrastructure for every available, industry leading cloud service.
  • Hyper Productive Software Engineer – able to produce thousands of lines of production C++ code each week for multi-year projects.

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Does the Software Development Industry have a “Library of Developer Personas”?

I have found many sources of developer personas but have yet to find a complete library, compendium, database, list, etc. Maybe this is because there are so many identifiable and not so definable developers. Developer personas can often be specific for an industry, company, architecture, platform, device, service, and other characteristics that align with a company’s offerings. Just as our industry has “body of knowledge” collections like the SWEBOK, wouldn’t it be great to have a Developer Persona Body of Knowledge (DPBOK)? Who wants to help create one?

 

Discovering Developer Personas Specific to Your Technology – Evans Data Can Help

The value of segmenting your target audience is well known to marketers across industries. Populations don’t exist as a homogenous group but always have variations that color their perceptions and their adoption of product offerings. The same is true for developers.

Software developers can be divided in segments based on many factors. These might be how they make their money, who their users are, which technologies they use, or what their motivations are for selecting a particular technology. They may be discovered as they naturally occur through cluster analysis, or they may be pre-defined to fit categories.

Once developer segments are defined, the value in any persona study comes from profiling those segments. Profiling allows you to recognize distinct personas so you can make targeted appeals to each group. Understanding the personas of your targeted developer segments allows you to:

  • Communicate more clearly with each persona
  • Provide the tools and technologies each persona uses
  • Provide the level and type of support each expects
  • Find developers that match the personas for effective outreach
  • Understand where each persona can be reached

Today, marketing is becoming a science and setting personas is the first step to applying modern marketing techniques in a world that is more and more individualized. Don’t try to lump all your developers together in a group when there are many differences that can be seen and addressed through identifying personas. Evans Data can help deliver the insights you need to really target each of the segments you need.

What are some of your Developer Personas?

I’m continually putting together a growing list of developer personas across multiple industries, technologies, products and services. If you’d like to share some of our target developer personas, send me an email.

 

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David Intersimone “David I”
Vice President of Developer Communities
Evans Data Corporation
davidi@evansdata.com
Blog: https://www.devrelate.com/blog/
Skype: davidi99
Twitter: @davidi99
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidi99/

FinTech in the Payments Spotlight at Transact 2017 in Las Vegas this week

Transact 2017 takes place this week in Las Vegas, Tuesday to Friday, May 9-12. Transact “is the one show focused solely on the business of payments. Powered by Electronic Transactions Association (ETA), the world’s largest payments industry trade group, it’s the place where innovators gather to make the deals that shape the industry”. The who’s who of FinTech companies will be on hand participating in keynote presentations, technical sessions, committee meetings, the exhibit hall and other special events.

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FinTech companies at Transact 2017 along with links to their developer programs

Here is a partial list of companies participating at Transact 2017. The conference site has a complete list of exhibitors and presenters.

 

ETA Star Awards – Wednesday, May 10

On Wednesday night, the ETA Start Awards, sponsored by Visa, will showcase individuals and companies that impacted the payments industry in the past year. You can see the list of 2017 Star Award finalists and Innovation showcase awards.

Payments Pitch-Off & E-Pay Innovation Award – Thursday, May 11

Payments startups will demonstrate their products in front of a panel of judges. Sponsored by Vantiv, The selected startups will try to impress the judges with their new electronic payments technology product or service. The presentations will take place in front of an audience that will include the judging panel, FinTech media, investors and possible industry partners. The best new technology, product and/or service will be awarded the E-Pay Innovation Award of $25,000.