How to Provide a Great Developer Experience for Your API?
Abdul Hannan Shaikh
Whenever you’re dealing with APIs, you need to provide more than just an API itself. Delivering a great developer experience for the API through a comprehensive developer portal is the key to bridging the connection between a developer and an API provider.
Defining Developer Experience
Developer experience tells us how developers interact with the API throughout the API lifecycle. Offering a seamless developer experience lets the developer focus on what is important without dealing with other non-technical concerns like scaling and robustness.
Since APIs do not provide a user interface, the biggest challenge to provide a good developer experience is documenting an API. API documentation is a vital way to communicate with developers on how to use the API and make sure that the API is fully adopted. Therefore, the need for complete and comprehensive documentation minimizes the developer’s struggle with consuming the API.
What Elements Should a Developer Portal Contain?
API documentation requires more than just an API reference. It requires having a developer portal that gives developers everything they need to quickly integrate your API into their application stack. A good developer portal is a one-stop shop where developers can find, access, learn, and experiment with APIs by trying out the API and defined sample codes.
Creating an interactive developer portal benefits businesses that offer APIs as a product, or are API-first. Every great developer portal should contain these elements:
The portal should contain all the documentation in one place to enable developers to find and utilize the APIs more efficiently and conveniently.
Getting Started Guides, Training, and Tutorials
Comprehensive getting started guides in the developer portal simplify the onboarding process for API developers. The step-by-step instructions help developers set up the environment in their favorite IDE and guide them on dealing with authentication tokens/keys to make their first API call.
Language-Specific API Reference Documentation
Apart from the guides and tutorials, adding language-specific API reference documentation to the portal can help developers see the exact options available for all endpoints in the API. It helps explain the meaning of properties and methods, the possible input values and validation rules, and expands on errors that are likely to occur in different situations.
By offering language-specific documentation, you can speak to your developers in their language; ultimately enhancing the API adoption rate. Also, downloading SDKs is not just a download button rather every language gives developers a similar experience within the portal.
Idiomatic Code Samples and Helper Libraries
Code samples perform the heavy lifting for developers, enable quicker integration of the API, and demonstrate the SDK usage for each API endpoint by providing ready-to-copy code in popular languages including .NET, Python, Ruby, PHP, Java, and TypeScript.
To learn more about how the developer interacts with your API from discovery to integration, and how the API portal can aid them in each phase, watch the webinar: Low API Adoption: Have you Blamed your portal Yet?
Developer portals are the most essential factor for a developer as they serve as a key to a great developer experience and show the identity of your brand. APIMatic provides all-in-one API developer portals with all the critical elements to boost API consumption. Try out APIMatic to generate your own API portal along with autogenerated SDKs within minutes!
Thanks to @arooj-arshad.