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How Stoplight Is Helping Companies Build Their API Program | Jason Harmon

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Organizations are focusing more on their application programming interface (API) strategy as they evolve their digital experiences. Stoplight aims to help companies by providing them a platform for designing APIs.

In this episode of TFiR Let’s Talk, Swapnil Bhartiya sits down with Jason Harmon, CTO of Stoplight, to introduce us to the company and explain how Stoplight is helping companies build their API program. He goes into depth about the role API is playing for modern companies and the challenges companies are facing. He also discusses the role of open source in Stoplight’s offerings and some of their key use cases.

Key highlights of this video interview are:

  • Stoplight helps companies who have committed to an API strategy or to some sort of digital transformation by providing a platform for them to design APIs.
  • Software is no longer reserved for software tech companies, but any modern business is running software and a modern platform is built with APIs. Harmon discusses the role APIs are playing in modern companies and how the prevalence of mobile apps and more digital experiences are driving this.
  • The majority of developers are interacting or building APIs on a daily basis, yet Harmon feels that the challenge lies with the technical implementation of designing a platform that everyone in the organization can understand. He feels that this has led to the prevalence of API product managers but there are not enough. He goes into depth about the other challenges companies are facing and how Stoplight is helping to solve them.
  • The security world is changing rapidly as we move away from network boundaries. Even though APIs are a low-level programmatic interface to the core of the system, they can still be a high-risk surface area. Harmon discusses the security aspect of APIs and what steps can be taken to mitigate these risks, such as open source projects like Spectral.
  • Harmon believes that it is not usually a technology problem when these sorts of digital transformations fail but rather culture change. He goes onto discuss the role DevOps and DevSecOps are playing with that. He believes APIs should be treated as a product and that experience should be designed with that in mind from the start.
  • Stoplight’s foundations from the onset have been based on open source. Harmon shares Stoplight’s three main open source offerings: a VS Code extension that helps the developer design the API to see errors; Prism, a reverse proxy used testing scenarios that allows you to do test-driven development; and lastly, Harmon discusses their React component-based approach to building developer portals.
  • Harmon believes the company’s most interesting use cases are not necessarily technology. He goes into detail about Schneider Electric and Dell and the challenges they are facing with APIs and what some of the commonalities are between the different use cases. He explains how important it is to get your house in order internally before externalizing things.
  • While Stoplight essentially provides tools to help organizations with their API strategy but it cannot transform their culture. Harmon remains optimistic about the DevOps movement saying he is seeing a shift happening and that executives are getting involved in ways they were not just five years ago.

Connect with Jason Harmon (LinkedIn, Twitter)
Learn more about Stoplight (Twitter)

The summary of the show is written by Emily Nicholls.

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