API Management Hackathon – Superheroes in Action 


It all started with a witty remark
 

The idea struck like a bolt of lightning during the Customer Advisory Board (CAB) meeting at Axway’s Imagine Summit in Orlando when a CAB member, after several rounds of good discussions turned to me and said, “Laura, you should hold a hackathon for us, the CAB members, so we can tackle some improvements together.” All CAB members were all in agreement that it would be a great idea and that they would participate.

Let’s make it so

I’ve held several hackathons for customers innovating on their own APIs, but never on the platform that produces, secures, and manages the APIs. I was very excited about the idea of joining our customer superheroes (Marvel) together with our Axway superheroes (DC Comics) to tackle innovation and improvements to our solution.


Joined by my fearless partner in crime-fighting and CAB guru, Jeff Shaffer, the planning for the hackathon began immediately after Axway’s Imagine Europe concluded.

 

 

 

LOCATION: Washington, D.C.  

The first AMPLIFY Invent Hackathon was held on June 18-20, 2019 in Washington, D.C., in honor of the CAB member who gave me the first POW! of an idea to have the hackathon. There were 14 superheros with a variety of super powers who participated in the hackathon ranging from CAB members, partners, Axway R&D, technical sales engineers, professional services and product management. We arrived armed with laptops, whiteboards, food and drink ready to join forces to fight for the better good of innovation.

 

Generating ideas for projects to collectively tackle  

The ideas for the projects to tackle were streaming in like electricity flowing to your finger when getting electric shocks from turning on a light switch. To keep track of all the ideas, we created a Google doc where everyone could contribute. You can still contribute to it here (access by request). We want to keep the electricity of ideas turned on.

 

Time to wrestle that innovation 

On the first day of the hackathon, we divided into four teams – each with its own projectThe projects focused on team development, CI/CD, and policy.

The first three projects focused on the full lifecycle of team development and deployment of a service with policies applied. The new model for breaking up the FED file not only tackled requirements around team development. It also addresses the requirements around certificate management. 

Below is a diagram that describes the new enhanced team development model:

The fourth project focused on a common requirement amongst several customers for a circuit break policy.  

Project 1: Team Development Enhancement Tools

Opportunity: The API Gateway is very monolithic for multi-developers making it difficult to do parallel policy development. A more granular approach that is compatible with source library merge tools is desired to allow seamless and frictionless concurrent development. 

Approach: Adopt the use of YAML file format organized using the Entity Store model.  Provide the tools to extract existing projects in ES YAML format and rebuild deployable FED files from the YAML repository.

Status:    

  • 1.1  FED to YAML – Complete 
  • 1.2  YAML to FED – To be completed 

Next steps / future 

  • Required:
    • Support environment settings by introducing external values (ala helm charts)
    • There is an explosion of files, should consider collapsing some into monolith file (e.g. i18n files) 
  • Nice to have:
    • Allow user-defined directories
    • Introduce mime types (xslt, js, pem (cert))   
  • If ES entitystore is to be adopted by product as default configuration:
    • Import & export
    • Key field name change of entity results in file name change etc.
    • Upgrade (current system assumes XML)

Git asset:  https://github.com/axwayhackathon/YamlES

Team:

  • Luiz Garcia, Shaw Communications
  • Dave McKenna, Axway R&D 
  • Erik Nord, Axway Professional Services 
  • Jamie Peabody, Axway R&D

Project 2: CI/CD for Enhanced Team Development 

Opportunity: Implement CI/CD Process to support YAML source library

Approach: Create a utility to convert the ES YAML format to a FED file that can be deployed to an existing API Manager server.  Monitor the repository to trigger a rebuild when a change is detected. 

Status: 

  • 2.1  FED to YAML – Complete 
  • 2.2  YAML to FED – Pending 1.2 completion

Git asset:  https://github.com/axwayhackathon/cicd 

Jenkins Deployment Pipeline 

Pipeline Code 

The code used to build the pipeline: https://github.com/axwayhackathon/cicd/blob/master/Deploy_2_Prod/Jenkinsfile 

Team:

  • Colm Monks, Axway R&D
  • Sridhar Chandrasekaran, Axway Technical Success Team 

Project 3: Validation of Projects 1 & 2

Opportunity: Validate that the decomposition of the project source into YAML format (Project 1) will allow multiple developers to edit the same project concurrently and use out-of-the-box GIT tools (DIFF/Merge) to combine the changes for deployment to a target API Gateway. 

Approach: Create an API Manager project that contains several SOAP and REST services that can be modified as YAML files for the test cases.

Status: 

  • In progress to test all components

Team:

  • Kevin Williamson, SiriusXM
  • John Hunkins, SiriusXM

Project 4: Circuit Breaker policy

Opportunity: Enable better error handling and less stress on backend systems by preempting issues. Provide better resiliency and customer experience.

Approach:   In development, a circuit breaker is a design pattern to encompasses logic to circumvent recurring failures by changing the flow when a process, external system, etc. is failing. Rather than continuously attempting to utilize the failing resource, the circuit breaker will implement a logic change or fail over to a fault handler rather than continuing down the same path until the issue is resolved or for a set period of time. This is a sample policy framework of how one might implement this within the Axway API Gateway using only OOTB filters with a minimal amount of extended logic built into the Scripting Filter.

Status:   Complete and published  ; read the blog about it HERE

Marketplace asset:  Circuit Breaker Sample for API Gateway

Team: Daniel Wille, Axway Pre-sales 

Keep the innovation going – don’t wait

 

REASSEMBLE POINT: Paris 

We will join forces again September 16-19 in Paris, France to continue our crusade of innovation with the next AMPLIFY Invent Hackathon. You can sign-up for the hackathon here. The first 5 organizations that sign up will receive a 1-year complimentary subscription to AMPLIFY Streams. 

 

Want to join us for the next hackathon in Paris?

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