- September 24, 2015

Developers using APIs at TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon

One thousand hackers sprinted for 24 hours to take home $85,000 in prizes for the best use of APIs. Some of the world’s largest companies spent all night trying to convince developers to use their API to build amazing things.  Most of the APIs were REST APIs.  We saw DHC by Restlet in use in the wild for testing.

To hack and win, API developer consumers need to quickly learn about an API in a few minutes, go back to their computer and code at top speed.  The clock is ticking and their competitors are building cool apps right next to them.


Developers reviewing APIs before deciding which ones to use

Companies are working hard at pitching their APIs to developers.


A wide range of companies are publishing APIs and promoting their APIs to developers

Some are using DHC by Restlet to test their APIs and show what the API can do.  In the screenshot below, both of the computer screens show DHC by Restlet in use for API demonstrations to eager hackers. If you have 30 seconds to actually show your API to a person in front of you, I suggest you use DHC by Restlet because if they’re having problems, which everyone had, the API documentation will not be enough.

DHC by Restlet in use by people demoing APIs

DHC by Restlet in use by people demoing APIs

Sparky had to fight it out with robots controlled by APIs. (He eventually won.)

Robot controlled by REST APIs is no match for Sparky

Robot controlled by REST APIs is no match for Sparky

The tremendous interest in API publishing by large enterprises is just the beginning of a big change in the API economy.  With cloud-based tools from Restlet, I see a huge opportunity for companies of any size to publish APIs and take part in the growing API economy.

What were some of the APIs that Sparky saw? Here’s a listing below.  It gives you some idea of what types of companies are promoting their APIs.

  • Ford Motor Company is a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. A pioneer in automotive technology, Ford launched its industry-first SYNC® technology in 2007, and there are currently more than 12 million SYNC-equipped vehicles on the road globally. The company has about 194,000 employees and 66 plants worldwide.
  • MasterCard is a technology company in the global payments industry. They operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories.
  • WalmartLabs builds and tests new ways to shop Walmart online, on mobile or in stores. From Silicon Valley and around the globe, they’ve united the best entrepreneurs, software engineers, data scientists and internet professionals. @WalmartLabs is powered by open source technology, a startup culture and a passion for customers – all with the reach and backing of the world’s largest retailer.
  • WeatherAPI powers hundreds of thousands of thinkers and creators, allowing access to our world-class  weather data. Formerly the Weather Underground API, we power more apps than anyone else, and for good reason – our data is the most accurate, most reliable and most prolific in the industry. We offer everything from unparalleled documentation to a free developer key giving you up to 500 calls/day.
  • Qualcomm is the world leader in 3G and next-generation mobile technologies. Qualcomm’s Developer Network offers tools, technologies and resources for developers at the leading edge of tech to help innovate for future technologies. Whatever you’re building, whether it’s high-performance apps, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and solutions, or immersive gaming experiences, Qualcomm Developer Network provides technology and resources to help you advance your own unique concepts and cutting-edge designs.
  • Vinli is the world’s most advanced connected car platform, backed by top-tier partners like Samsung and First Round Capital. Our universal in-car device and open SDK/APIs help you create and market cutting-edge apps for the 1 billion cars on the road right now.
  • Zalando is Europe’s leading online fashion platform, with millions of customers in 15 countries. Our innovative technologists have built most of our platform in-house, using open source and cutting-edge technologies such as Scala, Cassandra, Clojure, and React.js. We work in small, agile, autonomous teams and follow principles that enable us to produce the most delightful shopping experiences possible.