How to Provide a Great Developer Experience for your API?

Abdul Hannan Shaikh
Posted on

In this API-centric era, you need to provide more than just an API. Providing a great developer experience with your API is the key to bridging a connection between a developer and an API provider. 

Offering a seamless developer experience for your API means that a developer can focus on what is important without dealing with other non-technical concerns like scaling and robustness. This is where a comprehensive API portal steps in. An API Portal provides developers with everything they need to quickly make API requests: it is a one-stop shop where developers can find, access, learn about, and experiment with APIs by trying out the API and sample code.

What Developer Experience Elements Should an API Portal Contain?

Creating an API portal with a comprehensive developer experience benefits businesses that offer APIs as a product. Every great API portal contains the following developer experience components:

Consolidated Documentation

The API portal contains all the documents 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 API portal simplify the onboarding process for API users (developers). The step-by-step instructions help developers to set up their environment and guide them on how to deal with authentication tokens/keys and much more. Beyond the getting started documentation, it helps to show off workflows and use cases.

 

Language-Specific API Reference Documentation

Apart from the guides and tutorials, adding the API reference to the API portal can help users see exactly what options are available for all endpoints in the API. It can explain what the properties and methods mean, the possible input values and validation rules, and expand on errors that are likely to occur in different situations. 

Providing language-specific API documentation can enhance the developer experience, meaning that your API has higher chances of being adopted as it speaks in the developers’ language. Also, downloading SDKs is not just a download button rather every language developer gets a similar experience within the API portal.

 

Idiomatic Code Samples and Helper Libraries

Code samples perform the heavy lifting for developers and enable quick integration of your API by providing ready-to-copy code samples in popular languages like C#, Python, Ruby, Java, etc.

 

Try-it-out Live API Calls

The ability to make live API calls directly from within the API portal along with the API authentication helps developers get started faster as it reduces the time to their first Hello World with your API. It cuts out their development pain point of not having to go back to their IDEs to create requests but rather get real responses directly, showcasing how your API will add value to their applications.

 

Availability of SDKs in Multiple Languages

At the end of the day, the goal of every developer is to integrate with your API. Helping developers consume the APIs is challenging. Hence, providing SDKs not only reduces the time to integration but also saves the developers’ time. SDKs help accelerate the API consumption process, as it cuts down the time to serialize/deserialize, manually add dependencies manually and resolve issues while integrating with your API. 

Offering SDKs in multiple languages also expands your developer community outreach as developers can comfortably plug your API into their application without having to figure out the integration steps. For more information on SDKs, refer to our detailed blog on An Insight into APIMatic’s Autogenerated SDKs.

 

Represent the Brand and Values

A great API portal showcases your values as an organization. By creating an excellent developer experience, you’re inviting more engagement with your products and showing exactly why people want to do business with you.

Autogenerate a Comprehensive API Portal with APIMatic

To magnify your APIs visibility, APIMatic provides a comprehensive API portal that contains all of the aforementioned developer experience components, and more:

You only need to provide your API definition in any of the supported formats, and APIMatic handles the rest. You can generate an API Portal within minutes from the web-based dashboard, API, or CLI, depending on your environment.

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?

Conclusion

API portals are the most important factor for an API developer as it serves the key to not only a great user experience but also to show the identity of a certain brand. Hence, APIMatic provides autogenerated API portals to boost API consumption with language-specific documentation, idiomatic code samples, and much more. Try out APIMatic to generate your own API portal along with autogenerated SDKs within minutes!

Thanks to @arooj-arshad.