CLI Vs API Twitter Chat

By certskills March 17, 2017 12:05

The Cisco SE organization and Cisco DevNet are teaming up to hold a Cisco Chat about CLI and API. It has a catchy title: “Have APIs Killed the CLI?”. This blog post gives some short background, with a survey so I can gather some informal data before the event! (Yep, I get to join in – and so can you! see inside.)


Reporter Questions

The time: 11:00AM US Eastern time, Wednesday March 22, 2017.

The how: Twitter. Search on #ciscochat, and click the “latest” title bar option. Then keep clicking refresh to see the latest posts.

What to do: Join in! reply to any of the tweets, put #ciscochat into the tweet so we all see it (all of us on the chat will also be searching and refreshing for #ciscochat).


Elaboration before Informal Unscientific Survey!

I had just enough time to get a quick post out this AM about the upcoming event, but I did want to give you a chance to comment beyond those willing to write their thoughts. The idea: what are you using today?

The polls do not leave a lot of space to elaborate, so this post lets me add some details. So, here’s the problem setup that I’m thinking:

CLI and API have specific meaning, but they can be broad. For this survey, CLI includes:

  • Console and aux port connects with a terminal emulator
  • Telnet and SSH into a device
  • Any application that hides the use of console, Telnet, SSH behind the scenes. EG:
    • Cisco Prime Infrastructure can configure devices using Telnet/SSH
    • APIC-EM can configure and extract data using Telnet/SSH

All the above are “CLI”, either directly or indirectly.

For API, same general idea, but a few to point out:

  • The use of your program that makes API calls (that’s about as direct as you get)
  • The use of orchestration software that then makes API calls
  • The use of a graphical interface of a tool, with that tool in turn making use of APIs do to the work you requested. For example:
    • Configuring ACI using the APIC controller user interface
  • NetConf with YANG. I’d put this in the API space, even though it uses SSH for transport, it’s transporting YANG models instead of CLI commands. (Check out Adam Radford’s intro post on the topic.)

In short, if the primary action to work with the networking devices is done by APIs, and the API does NOT control the devices by the exchange of commands you could have typed from the CLI, call it API. If done through commands that you could have typed at the CLI if using SSH etc, I’ll call it CLI for the purposes of this survey.

End of elaboration!


Survey: What Percentage of Your Work Today is CLI Vs. API?

Think of the work you do that fits into either CLI or API, and that’s 100%. That is, just think about the CLI and API work (elaborated above). How much of it TODAY is CLI (direct or indirect), vs API (direct or indirect)? That’s the hope of this poll. Enjoy!

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