October 31 - November 2  - Portland, OR
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Thursday, November 2 • 2:00pm - 2:20pm
How We Built a Thriving API Ecosystem at a 65-year-old Company - Rick MacConnell, Cox Automotive

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Manheim is a 65 year old company and is the largest automotive wholesaler in the world. The company has used the IBM iSeries platform since the 1970's as a core part of it's brick and mortar business. Two years ago, we set out to transform the technology foundation at Manheim with a goal of accelerating developer productivity and flexibility. We started by establishing a vision for a developer-centric API alongside a cloud vision. The first system that we built uses Apache Camel which listens to streams of changes coming from each of the individual iSeries boxes at our brick and mortar locations and turns these changes into logical business events. Camel then routes these events to a series of Java Spring processors that handle them and deliver them on to interested subscribers. This system has been a critical addition and has transformed the way we build software. It has led both to our successful ability to integrate with third parties as well as being a core part of our ongoing ERP implementation. Following this, we developed an API cookbook that prescribes rules for the structure and behavior of our REST based entity centric API. Using this cookbook, we developed a foundational API catalog that gave developers outside of Manheim the ability to interact with key services including inventory and wholesale pricing. At the same time, we committed to creating a robust developer portal with a commitment that our API should pass the 15 minute test with developers. Our goal is that they should be able to go to our portal, read through the documentation and get code up and running in 15 minutes. Finally, building on the success of both our real-time event delivery system and our API, we built a system called Eventer. Eventer is a cloud native system that lets our partners use an API to establish subscriptions to events that they're interested in receiving. Using a variety of cloud SAAS tools and Java Spring code, we've built a self-service API driven system that allows third parties to subscribe to and receive events in real-time. Combining the three concepts; an API vision, event-driven data and the developer portal, we've built a thriving ecosystem that has taken on a life of it's own. We are now having to develop new support structures in order to service the growing customer base that is adopting our API. Additionally, we've succeeded in transforming the way we build software here. One of our internal partners used our real-time events to roll out a new business model across the country in three months. This would not have even been conceivable prior to the existence of our API.


Rick MacConnell

AVP Engineering, Cox Automotive
Rick MacConnell is a software developer who has worked on large-scale enterprise applications for the last 20 years. He has been with Cox Automotive for 16 years where he started working on AutoTrader.com. Over the past 3 years, he has been focused on building an API ecosystem at... Read More →

Thursday November 2, 2017 2:00pm - 2:20pm PDT
Atrium BR