In an effort to establish itself as a partner of choice for developers, the Open API Team at global payments company MasterCard has issued a Developer Declaration.
In it, MasterCard makes a number of commitments in three key areas: developers, technology and ecosystem.
To developers, MasterCard commits that it "will make its subject matter experts, platform, products, services and relationships available to developers to ensure mutual success and growth." As part of this, the company says that it will work to make developer and partner onboarding simple, provide a "seamless" user experience, offer quality support and adopt transparent terms and pricing.
In the realm of technology, the payments giant promises that its Open API Team won't just listen to developers but will act on their feedback. To that end, the company says it is committed to offering "fresh and relevant" tools, including "rigorous" analytics tools, and will work to make integration of its APIs as straightforward as possible.
Finally, MasterCard wants developers to know that it is committed to building a strong ecosystem "that fosters technological advances and innovation." Developers can use its APIs to connect with other partners in the MasterCard ecosystem, including the 40 million merchants and 22,000 banks MasterCard works with. It also vows to use its ecosystem to share its experience and knowledge with developers and support them through developer initiatives, including hackathons and other events.
According to Sebastien Taveau, MasterCard's Open API Chief Developer Evangelist, the company's Developer Declaration is intended to show developers that MasterCard is serious about including them in the company's business. "The French have a saying that illustrates this quite well: 'La parole est libre mais la plume est serve', which loosely translates to the following: 'The spoken word is free but the written word is binding'," he explained.
Of course, it's easy for companies to write about their commitments to developers, but as companies like Twitter have demonstrated, living up to those commitments over the long term often proves far more difficult because it can be hard to predict how a business will evolve. Nonetheless, MasterCard's decision to describe in writing its perspectives on issues related to developers and its ecosystem is one that other companies would be wise to consider.
Developers are being courted by lots of businesses looking to build ecosystems today and even if they're aware of the possibility that promises made to them could one day be broken, knowing where a company stands and how it's viewing its APIs and ecosystem can go a long way toward convincing developers that its APIs and ecosystem is worth getting involved with.