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Making Sure the Message Sticks: Our Time at GlueCon 2019

Image result for gluecon logo

Never was there a more beautiful Lyft ride than my journey from the Denver International Airport to Brookfield, Colorado, for the annual meeting of technical minds at GlueCon 2019. As we exited the airport’s roundabout, I gazed over to Blucifer, the demonic equestrian beast that stands guard over all who pass en route to their flights and thoroughly chastised myself for this being my first trip to the mountainous state.

As the light dusting of snow on the ground melted into etherial steam, we headed westward along Interstate 76 with one thing in mind: Spreading the gospel of Kloudless and our Unified APIs.

As we pulled up to the Omni Interlocken Hotel where the event would take place, we were greeted by a hectic scene of other event sponsors setting up their booths and laying out their branded swag to entice the eventual event goers. Armed with our own colorful Kloudless backdrop and a suitcase full of goodies to distribute, we too set forth to make our booth stand out from the crowd.

Once finished, we retreated to the hotel’s restaurant for much-needed sustenance, followed by an early bedtime. We had a big day coming up.

Kicking Off the Con

As the sun rose over the snow-capped peaks on the horizon, event attendees were already up and ready to consume all they could about APIs, microservices, deployment, and machine learning. Coffee and danishes were promptly devoured, small talk was made between sponsors, and the event kicked off as the keynote began.

As a note to the reader who may be unaware of the annual event, GlueCon is not like many other tech conferences. Much of the marketing spiel that surrounds so many other conferences is left at the door, making the event primarily a place where tech enthusiasts can drop the sales pitch and freely converse about their favorite tech topics of the day and the issues that plague the modern web. Speaking sessions dominate the landscape and focus heavily on technical detail and less on selling the speaker’s company or product. Talks are generally centered around issues that individual companies or engineering teams wrestled with, and the strategies and steps they took to overcome them.

It’s a refreshing take on the modern tech conference, and we were happy to imbibe all that we could from the speakers lined up to give presentations.

I’m Rubber. We’re All Glue

Photo courtesy of Joyce Lin, Postman.

I, myself, was one of those speakers and gave a 30-minute session entitled, “Unified APIs and the future of Integrations.” As it was my first speaking session at a tech conference, I was unsure of what to expect, seeing as I am currently part of our Kloudless marketing team and not a developer anymore.

Before I go into the details of how my talk was recieved, I’ll preface this with a bit about my background. For the last 2 years, I worked as an instructor at the University of California at Berkeley teaching a full stack JavaScript Bootcamp. I am no stranger to public speaking, especially in regards to covering highly technical topics, but I was still a bit ambivalent about how the talk would be received by an audience that was ravenous for engineering insight and code snippets.

Much to my delight, the session was met with a great reception. The talk centered around the engineering woes that are alleviated through the use of a unified API and how the future of API integrations can be simplified by using unified data models and endpoints, something that most web developers can easily relate to if they’ve ever spent time laboring over API integrations.

I generally try my best to inject humor into any public speaking event, with this being no exception. Lots of pizza jokes and even a photoshopped gold-toothed dentist helped to loosen up the crowd, which led to some wonderful audience participation and some great follow up questions during the Q&A period. I sincerely thank anyone in attendance for my talk, and I genuinely appreciate the kind words and interest that followed during the rest of the conference.

Glue Can Play at That Game

Following my own speaking event, I had the honor of attending some absolutely wonderful talks from other speakers in attendance. Joyce Lin of Postman gave an insightful talk entitled, “Escaping the Microservices Dependency Hell,” all about Postman’s experience in building out some of their newest features while managing their microservices dependency.

Taylor Barnett, of Stoplight, presented an enlightening and adorably hand-drawn slideshow about the benefits of OpenAPI Spec to a design-first approach to building APIs. I had recently written a piece about tooling API testing with OpenAPI Spec, and it was great to hear insight from someone as knowledgable about the testing process as Barnett is.

In the final talk I was able to attend, James Higginbotham of Launch Any sang the praises of leveraging event-based APIs and streaming when it comes to the future of API development. Higginbotham went into captivating detail on many of the tools and technologies that can help to aid in this goal. As a company that heavily utilizes an Events API in our Unified API functionality, it was a refreshing and motivating take on something we already support here at Kloudless.

Although I wish I could have seen more talks, I was so glad that I got a chance to attend these sessions in between booth duty. Please stay tuned to our Kloudless blog for some more in-depth writeups of these talks coming soon.

Off to the Glue Factory

Besides the speaking events, much of our time was spent discussing the details of our Unified APIs with event-goers and other API enthusiasts. With something as complicated as the inner-workings of a Unified API, we relish these times to get into in-depth coverage of the real benefits that our services can offer to different codebases. As the reliance on API integrations continues to grow in modern technology, developers and product managers can usually relate to the message that we strive to deliver; Make your lives easier by simplifying your integration strategy with a Unified API. Many of the engineers we spoke with connected to our simple message of “read fewer docs and do less maintenance,” because, at the end of the day, we truly know the pain of those tasks.

I had a wonderful time at GlueCon 2019 and look forward to being able to attend the event again next year. It was refreshing to go to a tech conference that really focused on just that; Tech. Without the distraction of hiring mixers, hackathons, and slick marketing speak, it really was a great place to learn from our peers and offer our own knowledge of API integrations.

I’d like to end with a special thank you to GlueCon for having us and give a warm shout-out to all the event organizers and workers that did a wonderful job at throwing such a great event.

I can’t wait to see you all next year!

Published By

David Hallinan

David Hallinan is Head of Content at Kloudless. He enjoys painting, JavaScript, vintage synths, drum machines and forcing his sports allegiances on his children.

View all posts by David Hallinan