Postman’s New Schema Validation Feature Helps Encourage API Spec Literacy

Postman, an API development platform provider, has announced that its API Builder is gaining the ability to validate API schemas in real-time via a new UI pane that is accessible in the tool’s define tab. The addition of this functionality helps to provide developers with real-time feedback and encourage API specification literacy.

At the time of the announcement Postman’s schema validation functionality is only supported for OpenAPI 3.0, although Kin Lane, Postman’s Chief Evangelist noted to ProgrammableWeb that the company intends to “support all of the leading API specifications equally when it comes to autocomplete, validation, and other design-time features.”

While editing OpenAPI definitions in Postman users will now notice a small banner across the bottom of the define panel that either states “Schema validated” or lists the number of errors that were found. This information updates in real-time and users can click on the banner to expand the UI and dive into the specifics of the errors that were found. The feature is speedy, usually updating to display errors within a few seconds and provides useful information for identifying the error made.

The most straightforward benefits of this new tool are obvious, identifying errors in real-time is certain to improve development speed and accuracy on the platform. When ProgrammableWeb asked Lane about other, less obvious benefits provided by this feature he noted that:

“OpenAPI literacy to help educate developers about the finer details of the specification, as well as helping speed up their design processes.” Lane continued by noting that there is additional value in, “Providing a feedback loop around not just the APIs, but how OpenAPI is being applied (or not), gathering data, and feeding back to the OAI to inform the road map for the specification.”

This new Schema Validation functionality is available now in Postman v7.29’s API Builder. 

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Author: <a href="">KevinSundstrom</a>


Google Announces Business Application Platform for No-Code Application Development

This week at Google’s Cloud Next virtual conference, Google Cloud Platform is outlining a new solution aimed at enabling citizen developers to automate processes and create applications in a no-code environment. The new Business Application Platform intends to leverage APIs to help enterprise customers modernize legacy apps and create new business channels. 

Google Business Application Platform will lean on existing Google products in order to support hybrid and multi-cloud implementations, AI/ML lifecycle management, and collaboration functionality. 

Amit Zavery, VP/GM and Head of Platform for Google Cloud, summarized the goal of the new product:

“Our mission is to develop a unified solution that empowers both technical developers as well as business developers with the ability to create and extend applications, build and automate business workflows, and connect and modernize legacy applications.”

This new platform will have security features that include customer-managed encryption keys and support for VPC-SC. The Business Application Platform is an ongoing project with a roadmap that hints at future functionality including a newly announced API Gateway. 

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Author: <a href="">KevinSundstrom</a>


MX Announces New APIs and Developer Portal for its Financial Services

MX, a financial data platform that operates with the expressed aim of powering modern financial experiences, has announced a new platform designed to provide partners with APIs that can be used to develop personalized digital experiences. The all-new MX Open platform comprised of three core elements: MX Portal, MX Platform API, and MX Path.

The newly introduced MX Portal is a central hub that provides developers with documentation, Financial Data Exchange FDX guidance, and best practices to help improve onboarding. The announcement highlighted a focus on security and adherence to FDX 4.1 standards.

The MX Platform APITrack this API that supports this effort is designed to provide support for integration with “customer account information and verify and authenticate identity, assets, balances, and amounts.” The idea is to provide an API that enables accurate, reliable account information at scale.

Finally, MX Path is a new API that aims to help financial institutions and fintechs simplify integration with services, apps, and systems.

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Author: <a href="">KevinSundstrom</a>


Bees360 Introduces Drone-based Underwriting Platform API

Bees360, deep learning, and drone technology company, has released an underwriting platform API. Bees360 applies its technology specifically to property underwriting and claim inspections industry, and the API is meant to streamline underwriting efforts based on a carrier’s needs.

“API is the key to streamlining the entire process,” Dr. Chaoran Yang, Bees360 CTO commented in a press release. “Our API offers around 100 attributes for residential underwriting inspections and 300 attributes for commercial ones.”

In addition to the existing attributes, the entire API suite is customizable. Yang continued, “If our customers need more attributes, we are capable of adding more.” Bees360 aims to increase data exchange efficiency and reduce manual processes typically associated with underwriting. Through the API, Bees360 can deliver the data needed, to the system where it’s needed.

The API includes three APIs: the Project API, Report API, and Image API. The Project API allows developers to create a new project and retrieve project details. The Report API allows users to pull specific reports. The Image API allows users to call an image based on the image ID.

Actions available through the API include create a batch of underwriting inspections, check inspection status, ingest inspection data, and more. Bees360 currently operates in 41 states and has operates a large network of drone operators to achieve drone-based underwriting. The images include high-resolution shots of the roof, exterior, and more. To learn more, check out the API docs.

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Author: <a href="">ecarter</a>


Routing apps can deliver real-time insights into traffic emissions

Routing apps such as Google Maps or Nokia’s Here platform could offer a cost-effective way of calculating emissions hotspots in real time, say researchers at the University of Birmingham.

These apps routinely capture detailed information as motorists use the GPS technology to plan and navigate routes. This data could be invaluable for researchers and planners who need to better understand traffic flows on busy roads, according to new research published in Weather, the journal of the Royal Meteorological Society.

Current emissions data from road transport is collated from a number of different sources by the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory and this is fed into annual reports to demonstrate compliance with emissions targets. Many of these traditional air quality models rely on the assumption that traffic is freely flowing at the legal speed limit — whereas in many areas, traffic flow will vary through the day. These models also overlook finer-grained detail from individual roads or junctions that might be emissions hotspots at particular times of the day.

Although more detailed information might be available to city planners when designing new road layouts or traffic improvement schemes, it requires costly modelling by consultancies.

Making use of the crowd-sourced data from routing apps could, the researchers argue, provide a low-cost and highly effective alternative to both high level and localised modelling.

Helen Pearce, a PhD researcher at the University of Birmingham’s School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, led the study. She says: “A lot of guidelines and policy on air quality management are based on hourly time snapshots and on the average amount of traffic on a typical day of the year. The difficulty is that traffic can vary an enormous amount within that time window and along individual roads, so in order to make decisions that really work ‘on the ground’, we need to be able to access and make use of this finer-grained detail.”

The approach suggested by the team was tested on roads in Birmingham’s busy city centre. Information on the time taken to travel a series of road links was obtained via a map provider’s API (application programming interface). This is conceptually similar to the approach that an individual would take to calculate the time of a journey, but using the API the researchers were able to obtain information for multiple roads and at multiple times of the day.

Following a successful preliminary study, the team scaled up their trial to include 920 major road links across Birmingham city centre, extracting information about these roads at hourly intervals. The researchers found they were able to clearly demonstrate the changes in traffic flow between typical weekdays, weekends, and also the effects of specific social events.

Speed related emissions could then be calculated using a combination of sources including Defra’s speed-related emission function database, and traffic count data from the Department of Transport. This information also helped the researchers take into account the relative splits between petrol and diesel engines.

“Our approach could provide significant insights into real-world vehicle behaviours,” says Dr Zhaoya Gong, corresponding author on the study. “As we start to see more electric and hybrid vehicles on the road, the emissions picture starts to get more complicated because there will be less exhaust emissions, but we will still see pollution from brakes, tyres and road surface wear — all these will vary significantly according to the speed of the vehicle so this sort of data will be vital for developing accurate emissions models.”

Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Birmingham. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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Low-cost, accurate COVID-19 antibody detection platform

A robust, low-cost imaging platform utilizing lab-on-a-chip technology created by University of California, Irvine scientists may be available for rapid coronavirus diagnostic and antibody testing throughout the nation by the end of the year.

The UCI system can go a long way toward the deployment of a vaccine for COVID-19 and toward reopening the economy, as both require widespread testing for the virus and its antibodies. So far, antibody testing in the U.S. has been too inaccurate or expensive to reach the necessary numbers.

But UCI investigators Weian Zhao, Per Niklas Hedde, Enrico Gratton and Philip Felgner believe that their new technology can help accelerate the testing process quickly and affordably. Their discovery appears in the journal Lab on a Chip, which is published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

“We need to test millions of people a day, and we’re very far from that,” said Hedde, a project scientist in pharmaceutical sciences and the study’s lead author. “This accurate testing platform enables public health officers to implement individualized mitigation strategies that are needed to safely reopen the country and economy.”

How it works

Using blood from a finger prick, the UCI test probes hundreds of antibody responses to 14 respiratory viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, in a mere two to four hours. Identifying responses to viral infections with symptoms similar to those of COVID-19 will keep hospitals clear of patients with standard colds and flus.

The results are printed on a low-cost imaging platform. The TinyArray imager combines a 3D-printed prototype with an off-the-shelf LED and a small 5-megapixel camera to find markers for many antibodies simultaneously. This ensures accuracy equal to that of expensive imaging systems but makes the platform portable enough to deploy anywhere — at a cost of only $200.

The same device can also process the results of commonly used nose swab tests for SARS-CoV-2 so that patients can be tested for COVID-19 and its antibodies on a single platform.

Currently, most antibody tests only check for one or two antigens, the foreign substances that cause the body to produce antibodies.

“A month or two ago, testing was kind of regarded as the Wild West,” said Zhao, a professor of pharmaceutical sciences, adding that most SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests are “just not accurate.”

Systems that test for the full range of antibodies necessary for reliable results require imaging machines that cost $10,000 to $100,000 and are too bulky for widespread use. Areas without the resources to acquire one of these machines have to send their samples to external labs for testing, meaning that results take days instead of hours.

Big impact

Large-scale testing will determine what percentage of the population had COVID-19 but never showed symptoms, which will have a big impact on public health and reopening decisions.

“What if it turns out that a larger percentage of the people in a community have already contracted the virus?” Zhao said. “This means you are closer to accomplishing herd immunity.”

And understanding what antibodies are produced and how long they last will be key in developing an effective vaccine and administering the right dosage. This may be critical for years to come if the virus mutates, requiring updates much like yearly flu vaccinations.

The UCI team has already completed 5,000 tests in Orange County, and the final goal is to test 20,000 samples per unit a day. The researchers are partnering with UCI startups Velox Biosystems Inc. and Nanommune Inc. to scale up production. They expect that the TinyArray imager will be ready to deploy across the U.S. by the end of 2020 and are working with scientists in Uruguay, Russia and Thailand to develop similar systems for their nations.

“This would be great for a low-income country,” Hedde said. “Because the device’s materials are cheap and easy to obtain, the platform is easy to manufacture and use in low-resource areas, making testing accessible on a world scale.”

Aarti Jain, Rie Nakajima, Rafael Ramiro de Assis, Trevor Pearce, Algis Jasinskas and Saahir Khan of UCI along with Timothy Abram and Melody Toosky of Velox Biosystems participated in the study, which was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grants P41 GM103540 and R01 AI117061) and a UCI CRAFT-COVID grant.

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Datadog launches Automated Error Tracking Service

Datadog, a cloud application monitoring, and security platform provider has launched Error Tracking. The new product automatically collects application errors in real-time. Then, it aggregates into action items for engineering teams to respond to.

“In modern applications, the number of errors can increase rapidly as we serve more users, make frontend code logic more complex with Single Page Applications, and increasingly rely on microservices and elastic infrastructure,” Renaud Boutet, Datadog Vice President of Product, commented in a press release. “Application engineers need a solution to prioritize issues in fast-moving situations that impact customer experience and revenues.”

Datadog Error Tracking processes data already available within its platform to provide the needed action items. This lowers the time to issue identification which keeps error fallout to a minimum. Multiple errors can be consolidated into a single issue that teams can remedy instead of tracking each error manually.

Key features of the new service include:

  • Automatic error extraction: automatically extracts errors for Datadog RUM users with no additional code
  • Errors view: visualization tool that uses tags and facets to group errors into related issues
  • Unminified stack traces: provides access to unminified source code to help pinpoint error causes
  • Seamless developer experience: works with existing CI/CD workflows with the Datadog CLI. Allows developers to track release and link source code to error events
  • Correlation across RUM sessions: includes data such as session ID, view ID, URL, browser, location, and OS to correlate error with data for triage purposes

To learn more, visit Datadog’s blog post announcement.

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Author: <a href="">ecarter</a>


Cloudflare Introduces Cloudflare Workers Unbound

Cloudflare has announced Cloudflare Workers Unbound. Workers Unbound is a serverless platform for developers with a specific focus on flexibility, performance, security, ease of use, and pricing. With Workers Unbound, users can run complicated workloads across the Cloudflare network and pay only for what’s used.

“I challenged our team to build a platform that didn’t just compete with niche edge computing solutions, but would provide developers the fastest, most secure, most flexible, and most cost-effective general-purpose serverless offering — period,” Matthew Prince, Cloudflare co-founder, and CEO, commented in a press release. “I’m incredibly proud of Cloudflare Workers Unbound and can’t wait to see what developers will build with it.”

Cloudflare Workers Unbound is the next progression beyond Cloudflare Workers, which came out in 2017. The company pitches Workers Unbound as a platform that serves more use cases with more flexibility and better cost. Specific benefits the company points to include:

  • Limitless: Limited CPU restraints and only pay for what you use.
  • Cost-Effective: Very competitive pricing when compared to the industry
  • No Hidden Fees
  • No Cold Starts: Out of the box support for 0 nanosecond cold start times.
  • Unthrottled CPU:  Isolated architecture lets Cloudflare run CPUs unthrottled so users can get more done per second of compute time.
  • Fast Globally: Workloads run across the Cloudflare network, spanning more than 200 cities in more than 100 countries, reducing average network latency for users everywhere in the world.
  • Instant Updates: Developers can update their code and have it live globally in 15 seconds.
  • Broad Language Support: JavaScript, C, C++, Python, Go, Rust, Scala, Kotlin, and even COBOL.
  • Automatic Scaling: Cloudflare Workers Unbound automatically scale to meet demand without developers needing to spinning up new instances.
  • Robust Debugging Tools: Simplified debugging and diagnosing problems.
  • Secure By Design: Built to withstand the latest security threats, including sophisticated timing attacks, and was reviewed by the team that discovered the Spectre class of vulnerabilities.

Cloudflare Workers will now be known as Cloudflare Workers Bundled. Cloudflare Workers Unbound is currently in private beta. Those interested can learn more here.

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Author: <a href="">ecarter</a>

ProgrammableWeb Launches Application Framework for its Workplace Management Platform, a provider of a team management platform that aims to help companies scale while keeping employees “engaged, productive, and happy”, has announced the release of an application framework. The company is hoping that this release will lead to a network of applications that serve both private and public workflows.

The application framework, which is designed to provide a low-code environment, has been optimized for speedy development. The announcement of the new framework notes that this efficiency has already provided benefits:

“’s internal R&D team created the first 20 Apps on the Framework in just two days, in response to user feedback, and to enhance the Work OS with Apps that would better support working from home. Apps that were built by the internal team include Collaborative Whiteboard, a shared ideation space, and Performance Insights,  a new way to understand your workflow performance, easily see where tasks are “Stuck” and how to improve.”

The announcement of the framework is just the beginning, with the company planning on launching a public marketplace to showcase applications built later this year. To help facilitate development is also providing builders workshops, webinars, and an online community.

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Author: <a href="">KevinSundstrom</a>

3D Printing Industry

Nanyang University researchers use 3D printing robots to accelerate concrete production 

Scientists at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have developed a single-robot industrial platform that uses additive manufacturing (AM) to create concrete structures.  Adopting a print-while-moving approach, the team’s robotic arm is capable of 3D printing different sized single-piece structures, and completing large-scale construction printing, all by itself. The bot’s development could lead to the more […]

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Author: Paul Hanaphy