Introducing the Art of Developer Experience Podcast
What the heck is “Developer Experience in 2023?” This is one of the questions we ask our guests (of course more politely) to see what they think. It’s a fairly new term and one with competing definitions depending on the group using it.
Our guests are from leading technology companies and they join me, Sid Maestre, to have authentic conversations about the challenges of creating products for a technical audience (often APIs) and discuss how DX is evolving. We dive into topics like API design, documentation, SDKs, tooling, developer relations, dashboards, metrics, and more.
We hope to spark ideas for ways you can improve the developer experience at your company.
In our first episode we ask Richard Fortune who spent the better part of a decade working on Xero’s developer platform what is developer experience.
“When I join a new organization or introduce someone to an organization, they often have a lot of questions around what developer experience is. If you Google it, you’ll find it defined as UX for developers, but I think it’s a bit blurrier than that in the real world.
For me, developer experience is all about the journeys that people take when trying to connect to systems. As someone who has worked on the platform side repeatedly, I think it’s important to make that journey as easy as possible to help developers achieve success quickly. It’s important to consider what role they are playing when they’re building with you on that particular day, and that’s a really important first step. If you do that well enough on the first cut, it’s important to do it repeatedly on all the other stages of the journey. This really works well when you have additional offerings later on as well.“
In episode two, Brian Rinaldi from Launch Darkly shares his thoughts on the term developer experience.
I completely agree that developer experience is a broad and vague term and it varies from company to company. At LaunchDarkly, my focus as a developer experience engineer is to make it easier for developers to onboard and use our product. This includes providing resources and tools to help streamline the process and improve the learning curve. Documentation is a significant aspect of developer experience, and I contribute to our docs even though we have a dedicated docs team. While some companies may focus more on developing tools to ease the onboarding process, my role is more content-focused.
We chatted with Luke Kilpatrick in episode three and addressed the elephant in the room with two diverging definitions of the term developer experience.
The concept of developer experience has evolved into two different flavors. The first is external-facing, focused on helping external adopters of a company’s API, tool or ecosystem through developer marketing and relations. The second flavor, focused internally, has emerged from companies like Netflix and is aimed at improving the developer’s experience in writing code and getting it into the CI/CD pipeline. This includes onboarding and platform engineering. While this is a positive development, it has caused some confusion about what developer experience is and what directors of developer experience do.