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Developer portals

Driving API adoption with developer portals

A great developer portal is a critical part of your API developer experience and is instrumental in driving adoption and building trust. An API without proper documentation is no better than no API at all.

A developer portal ensures that you provide the best possible experience for API developers and other stakeholders.

To be successful, your API service needs to be accompanied by high-quality documentation. A great developer portal is instrumental in driving adoption, building trust and providing the best possible experience for API developers and other stakeholders.

What is a developer portal?

A developer portal is a self-contained support hub for your API customers that provides all the information they require to understand and use your API service.

Many development teams publish Swagger documentation and think they have a developer portal. Although Swagger produces the reference documentation, that is only a part of a fully-functional developer portal.

As well as comprehensive API reference documentation, a developer portal should also address the needs of decision makers and product owners, making clear the benefits that your API service can provide. It is the shop window of your developer program and supports acquisition of new customers.

Success factors for a developer portal

A developer portal needs to bridge the gap between the people who understand what the API does and those who don’t, both inside and outside your organisation. Developers may see the usefulness of the API from the reference documentation, but the portal also needs to present the capabilities and benefits of your service in a way that less technical decision makers and product owners can understand.

Here are some areas to focus on to ensure your developer portal succeeds:

  • Provide a self-service hub for your APIs
  • Provide guides to specific problems, including use cases and tutorials
  • Provide conceptual information that explains complex topics and interactions
  • Provide an interactive console to enable quick testing and validation without having to wait for access keys
  • Keep the portal up-to-date including release notes and known issues
  • Provide the portal in the language of the market

How 3di can help

A challenge that many organisations face is knowing what to include in a developer portal. It isn’t enough for the development team to publish Swagger documentation and assume they have created a developer portal – you need more than that to address the needs of your customers.

3di can set up the processes and tool chains that you need to create a compelling development portal, and, crucially, to ensure that it stays up-to-date. If you’re serious about your API, it’s time to get serious about your developer portal as well.

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