University API Conference Notes

Recently I had the opportunity to attend the University API hosted by BYU. This conference is focused on technology used in universities but also has talks about various other related topics. The namesake of the conference, the UAPI, is an open specification used at BYU to keep the APIs here in compliance with a standard interface. Like speaking a language, these standards make it much easier to speak.

A teammate and I built a fun CTF gamification for this conference and the UAPI specification. Through a series of API calls that conform to the standard, you find flags to complete the capture the flag game and accumulate points. It is hosted online and available here https://uapi.ctfd.io/ 

This conference itself was run as an Un-Conference. It’s an interesting format where there is no real set agenda at the beginning of the day. I was a bit skeptical at first but I found it to be quite engaging. Each morning people interested in hosting a session or interested in requesting a session/discussion would create the day’s agenda. It was then up to participants to decide where they would get the most worth and contribute the most.

I enjoyed some of the sessions on emerging technologies addressing identity systems, API deployment automation, and digital wallets. Of course, the one I had the most fun at was working with A-Frame, a web framework for VR. It is surprisingly performant and easy to interact with. We managed to build and experiment with a simple app in about half an hour. Here is the link to check out the project and interact with it by clicking “show Live”. https://glitch.com/edit/#!/deserted-objective

Overall it was a really cool experience and definitely widened my perspective. Also while historically universities might have appeared tech-wary there are tons of opportunities for cutting edge technologies to change the educational landscape and improve the lives of students and non-students alike.

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