What Makes a Good Developer Portal – The Story of DocuSign DevCenter

Mike Borozdin, Director, DocuSign
May. 07 2013, 07:00AM EDT

Any company that makes an API knows that just having the API is not enough. A bare endpoint is probably worse than not having an API at all. To make your API and platform useful you need documentation, tools, examples and forums. If you are a successful API company you start developing a community of people that work with your service. The community shares ideas and helps each other out.

Years ago when we at DocuSign opened up our API we created a space for developers to get resources and share knowledge. We called it the DocuSign DevCenter – www.docusign.com/devcenter/ . Initially it was just one page with links to download the SDK and to see our API endpoints. Over time the number of features and resources grew to the point that one page was not enough. We have redesigned the site several times and always looked around at the platform companies that people liked and were excited to work with. We heard a lot about how Twilio and Box were great.

On April 30th we released our latest iteration of DevCenter. Now that our platform is really mature there was a lot of art and science to make sure that we organize all of the information and make it easy to get started.

The new site is targeted at three phases of development – getting started, deep exploration and then finally going live.

Getting started gets someone from knowing nothing about our API, through creating a sandbox and to making their first successful API call.

Exploring the service deeper we guide people through most powerful features of our platform such as templates and embedding eSignature into existing applications and organizational authentication.

Going Live section is for people who are ready to launch the completed product. Here people are guided through DocuSign certification, launching on our marketplace and obtaining things like the partner success pack.

The early feedback is good, but we are interested in knowing more. What are the things that you think we are missing? Is it easy to find what you need? Is it easy to get started and become successful? Check out the new www.docusign.com/devcenter and let us know how we can improve.

Mike Borozdin I head up Partner Products and Developer Evangelism at DocuSign

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