The IRS and APIs: Can Your Tax Returns Be Accessed?

There's a fascinating article over at TechCrunch about the possibility of the IRS being mandated by Congress to expose an API. The IRS undoubtedly already has lots of internal APIs, and might even expose some of them to external users. But the mandated API would give authorized third parties access to certain details from the someone's tax returns. Why would you want to let someone access your tax returns? The answer is to prove what your income is in order to obtain a better rate on a loan or a loan at all. In fact, you can already tell the [...]

By | 2018-01-03T05:43:55+00:00 January 3rd, 2018|API Update, Opinion|0 Comments

Hot Fuzz: The Fuzzing Form of Negative Testing

The hot area du jour in testing is fuzzing. I hadn't heard of it until the other day, but the concept has been around since the days of punched cards. In those days, people would shuffle a decade and then see what it did when used as the input to a program. Two practical examples not involving 1980s technology are Donald E. Knuth's trip and trap tests for "torture" testing ports of, respectively, TeX and METAFONT.  In essence then, fuzzing is a form of negative testing. Generally, we are concerned that a system does what we want it to do. [...]

By | 2017-12-29T07:57:52+00:00 December 29th, 2017|Feature updates, Opinion|0 Comments

Testing! Testing! Testing! APImetrics for Developers and Testers

Our friends at ProgrammableWeb have posted a fascinating series of articles on API testing by the estimable Justin Rohrman. There are 11 articles in total in the series, some of which are reviews of API test products including one on APImetrics. But it's the four articles posted this week on API testing strategy that I'd like to talk about today. We've talked here before about one of the main use-cases for APImetrics. You're a software team. You've designed some software that exposes an API, coded it, tested it and shipped it. The API worked when you tested it in the development [...]

By | 2017-12-19T08:19:21+00:00 December 19th, 2017|Opinion|0 Comments

Going SLO: Service Level Agreements and Service Level Objectives

APImetrics is a tool for monitoring the performance and quality of APIs. There are lots of good reasons why you should do that, but one particularly important one is to see if an API meets its Service Level Agreement (SLA). But as a team of Google engineers point out in their O'Reilly book Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems, an SLA is actually a legal document (or, in the case of an internal API, a formal agreement between business units). So, the whole SLA places a legal wrapper around one of more Service Level Objectives (SLOs). For an API, [...]

By | 2017-12-06T06:58:23+00:00 December 6th, 2017|Opinion|0 Comments

APIStrat: The API Strategy & Practice Conference 2017 Review

APIstrat was a blast, of course. Portland is like the smaller, quieter little sibling of Seattle. It even has a Pioneer Square and a three-dimensional model of the Washington state metropolis. And the weirdness is hidden away. It would be a good place to live. One thing I hadn't come across before in the API world was mocking. But it was all over the place, albeit at a somewhat subliminal level. "Of course, mocking." It makes sense. An API isn't always going to be there yet when you need to test it, so it makes sense to simulate it. You'd [...]

By | 2017-11-03T04:06:35+00:00 November 3rd, 2017|Opinion|0 Comments

Artificial Intelligence: AGI, AI, API – and AIPI?

What do A(G)Is and APIs have in common? Well, neither of them mean quite what they used to mean. As we said in my previous post, AI originally meant AGI, which meant designing an artificial brain. But that got watered down over time. AI came to mean whatever AI researchers researched. An API makes programming easier, because it defines what you will get back if you make you make a request of the interface. Like AIs, APIs have been around for a long time. Back in the 1980s, AIs were usually an abstraction layer within a monolithic operating or software [...]

By | 2017-08-22T07:23:06+00:00 August 22nd, 2017|Opinion|0 Comments

Never Mind the Quality: The Depth and Breadth of API Management

There's an interesting article over at SDTimes called "API management: The glue holding the app economy together." Yep, they're right about that. If we think about what an app actually is, it's basically a bit of a web browser that's specially designed. So, you could access Facebook or Twitter via your browser, or you could use the app. Getting a website to work on different devices with radically different screen sizes and input modes is a PitA. It's much easier to use the iOS or Android SDK and build an app. It'll make a lot of things easier, and [...]

By | 2017-07-12T15:22:43+00:00 July 12th, 2017|Opinion|0 Comments

Leavin’ On A Jet Plane (Or Not, If You Tried To Fly British Airways)

Were you hoping to be a passenger on a British Airways flight over the weekend? So were ten of thousands of other travelers. The sheer logistic disruption (planes in the wrong place, getting luggage where it is supposed to be) is taking several days to sort out. And that's not to mention how long it might take to sort the most pressing IT issues. BA has said the problem was caused by a power surge that led to some networking hardware failing, and then the all-important messaging systems failing. But BA was already experiencing significant IT issues on Friday, with [...]

By | 2017-06-07T09:39:14+00:00 June 1st, 2017|Enterprise IT, Opinion, Sectors, Travel|0 Comments

What is a Web API? APImetrics Explains it All

"What is a web API?" At APImetrics, we actually get this question a lot. And I found someone asking this question recently on Quora as well. I answered it there, and I thought it'd be helpful to post it here, too. Happy learning! To understand what a web API is, it’s necessary to understand what makes a HTTP request to an API different from a HTTP request to any old URI (Universal Resource Indicator, which typically might be a webpage). Generally, we might expect that a HTTP server will return HTML. After all, it is the Hypertext Transfer Protocol. But [...]

API Changes: Making Sure Your Calls Work After The Switch

One of the things about APIs is that they're subject to change. API changes might be because the API endpoints and methods have been changed. In this case, a good API provider will give its users plenty of warning about API changes. There will also probably be a grace period as the deprecated and new versions of the API operate side-by-side before the switch. Even if you pay for the API, it's going to be up to you to make sure the third-party API you depend on is going to ensure continuity of service. But it's all too easy to [...]

By | 2017-06-07T09:45:23+00:00 May 23rd, 2017|Enterprise IT, Opinion, Uncategorized|0 Comments