Last week, we wrapped our API Developer Experience Meetup in San Francisco. Special thanks to Ashish Shubham from ThoughtSpot for sharing how to provide a good developer experience for SDKs, and to Joyce Lin for having us over at the new Postman office.
The meetup included two talks from Adeel Ali, co-founder of APIMatic, and Ashish, followed by snacks and drinks and an impromptu networking session.
Talk # 1: What Defines the Success Criteria of Your API?
Adeel Ali, the co-founder of APIMatic, talked about how you can gauge the success of your API once it is launched. It starts from small incremental steps like who is using the API, and how and where are they integrating it? He then shared a model of how API users are diverse, they fall under different language categories and expertise levels. How each developer interacts with your API using different developer experience components tells you where you need to focus for growth.
He then talked about how there are more than 50 million developers interacting with APIs to connect their applications. Each developer has to go through guides, authentication, code dependencies and much more before they actually reach their first Hello World. If one developer takes 1 week to fully integrate your API into their application, 1 million developers would take 1 million weeks. That is almost 19+ years! This is why providing code samples, SDKs and plug-ins in the developers’ languages are essential to minimize that integration time.
You can find the presentation slides here: What Defines the Success Criteria of Your API?
Talk # 2: Develop and Deploy API SDKs for the Enterprise
Ashish Shubham, Sr. Director of Engineering at ThoughtSpot, took the floor next, taking the audience onto a detailed journey on how to ensure a good developer experience for your SDKs. ThoughtSpot is a data visualization tool that provides SDKs to be integrated into applications to provide analytics directly.
Ashish explained what makes a good SDK developer experience, which included:
- Intuitive and structured API interface
- Easy to bootstrap or initialize, and easily authenticated
- A live developer playground
- Good documentation
- No performance overheads
- Support of most end-user platforms
However, he made the talk even more enlightening as he elaborated on what else is required if you’re looking for an enterprise-level developer experience. Apart from the aforementioned points, Ashish shared how the following factors play a huge role as well:
- Versioning and backward compatibility
- A good distribution model
- Size plays a huge role in client SDKs
- Well tested SDKs
- Providing escape hatches
Ashish dived deep into each point and how including them in your SDKs are important for your end-users’ developer experience.
You can find his presentation slides at: Develop & Deploy API SDKs for the Enterprise