TreeHacks event to feature lesson in virtual APIs

At California’s Stanford University this weekend, 500 of the best and brightest young technologists will gather for an event called TreeHacks, where they will build the coolest software they can in 1 1/2 days.

Tall order, right?

Well, to help them along, CA Technologies will ensure the university and high school students get a lesson in something called virtual application programming interfaces, or virtual APIs for short.

A virtual API simulates the behavior of components and functions behind the API interface to ease integration and accelerate development against dependent systems. Among other things, the power of virtualization allows developers to prototype without code, sandbox without hardware, access virtual third parties, and support specific test conditions.

CA Technologies, a sponsor of this site, is also a headline sponsor of TreeHacks. Among the cool technology that the TreeHacks students will have access to will be virtual API software from CA.

“With a 36-hour deadline, there is no time to do things twice,” said Ian Kelly, the Plano, Texas-based Senior Director, Product Management, for CA. “We are excited to provide this technology to help these students deliver more of their vision in the time allotted.”

In the context of a hackathon, virtual APIs have two useful features, Kelly said.

On the one hand, they are an easy way to prototype a new API before creation, where changes and updates do not interfere with code.

Second, he said, a sandbox-like API environment helps ensure that responses and data may be well controlled.

Both of these capabilities are enabled within a virtual API, Kelly said. “We build virtual APIs from common specifications, such as Swagger 2.0, RAML, and instance samples.”

Virtual APIs “are for developers, for innovators, and make hackathons more productive,” he added.

Driven by Code

CA’s innovative API mocking and stubbing framework virtual API technology will allow the student coders to create mocks for testing, troubleshooting, sharing and moving faster to delivery than they might have thought possible, Kelly said.

CA engineers will be on hand to support the student coders. Decked out in t-shirts that say, “<we came to code>,” the CA crew will seek to help the youngsters build their code quickly, clearly and with quality, Kelly said.

For their part, the students will need to make good choices up-front, Kelly said. “They will need to keep their code clean, understandable, testable and clear,” he said. “We want them to communicate with each other, respect each other, and have fun. That’s what it means to be driven by code.”

Kelly’s crew will also come armed with “survival kits,” complete with everything from hoodies to toiletries, all emblazoned with the “driven by code” tagline.