Speaking at the first day of API World in San Francisco, Richard Mendis, from mobile back-end-as-a-service provider AnyPresence, suggested that it is possible to create an API developer support environment that encourages “exponential API adoption.”
At the core of this will be a user interface scaffold, says Mendis, who is chief product officer.
“There is a convergence of tools that are becoming necessary to enable an API developer ecosystem,” said Mendis, presenting to a packed room at DataWeek/API World, being held at Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco this week.
Mendis lists three essential components of support that must be created in order to gain the confidence of developers in integrating APIs into their products and solutions:
- API management
- App and back-end services
- “Some sort of UI scaffold” or a fully functioning app with source code.
API management includes elements such as setting up REST HTTP endpoints, the traditional idea of the API developer portal, and analytics components such as rate limiting and throttling of excessive API calls. App and back-end services are something AnyPresence sees as essential for mobile app developers: cross-platform SDKs, mobile services like push notifications and mobile-specific business logic. The newest element Mendis is describing is a “user interface starter kit” that might include a fully functioning app with all of its source code made available so developers can see what is going on.
“It is a combination of these three things that will make it successful to adopt your APIs,” Mendis said.
Mendis argues that the speed of mobile app development in the enterprise now requires these three elements to work together.
In the current environment, third-party and enterprise developers need to do more with less, requiring rapid prototyping and more complex system workflows and integrations, he said.
This has meant that developers need documentation, but would prefer code snippets and sandboxes. Mendis argues that while these are all part of best practices in API developer experience, they will at best bring incremental growth of an API provider’s developer community.
It is only when a live, demonstrable app with source code and an SDK are made available that developers can really see how to make the most use of an API, argues Mendis, who calls this “Opportunity Delta.”
Mendis points to AnyPresence client MasterCard. MasterCard, which covers credit financing, fraud prevention and a suite of other financial products, is making use of the extended developer ecosystem approach to quickly onboard and maintain a community of developers, all of whom are creating innovative MasterCard products and applications as a result.