Having a well-designed API does not mean much if not adequately utilized. The marketing campaign and advertisement is critical for its adoption.
One other business reality: despite all fanciness of your API, the developers are the ones who make or break your API strategy. They are the best source of feedback. They know all the ups and downs of your API. Making your developers successful will impact your own success.
Understanding the developers is the key to giving them what they are looking for. They have lots of options and they can show you what motivates them to choose any API over another.
To be able to engage with developers, you should focus on the following:
Why developers should use your APIs? API owners need to attract developers that are offered a large ray of options. Having a well-designed API will motivate developers to move away from their current status quo.
The ease of use is just as important as having a strong API. Developers should be able to register and start working in no time. Although some APIs require a formal partnership agreement and other forms of legal contracts, you should allow room for at least some operations to bypass all that process.
Monetary expectations around SLAs and restrictions, if any, should be clearly and proactively set. This will reduce all issues with developer groups.
Clear documentations about the API could be viewed as a differentiator between your API and the competitor’s. One of the developers most common requested materials are examples of applications and actual codes that can be cut and pasted. Laying this info on your developer portal and allowing access to the developers to get up and running on your API can be another differentiator.
Once you have a great API, your focus should shift to getting the word out to as many developers as you can. Driving developers’ awareness of your API can be done by laying down your content where they can reach it or by taking it directly to them. Traditional marketing campaigns and press at API launch or during major milestones can be done. However, as developers may not follow press, they should be informed via articles in influential tech blogs and publications in order to insure increased exposure.
Making sure your API developer program has a simple and straightforward flow to use and that your API lifecycle is smooth from a developer perspective are both vital. Some ways to create a great developer experience include:
Self service capabilities
Productivity tools to speed development, such as test harnesses, API consoles, and sandboxes
Forums, blogs, or app galleries to increase levels of engagement between your teams and the developer community
Easy access to support, FAQs, and terms and conditions
Developer’s community is inspired by one another to create apps in the finest environment. Thus building a strong and healthy community is extremely important. Its importance also lay in empowering and managing a large group especially if there are few community managers.
API programs have a developer portal that acts like a resource Center for the API. Canvas Developer portal offers:
- Web Content Management
Guides and FAQs
LDAP and SSO support
Notification emails and disclaimers
Documentation – Interactive documentation
Code Samples – SDK and Sample Apps
Test Tools – Simulators and Test Platform
Support Tools – Forum, Ticketing System, Blog, Email, Notifications and Announcements
Legal – Terms and Conditions, Licensing and EULA
Developer Dashboard – Profiles, Applications, Billing History, messages, notifications, analytics and reports
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