What does it feel like for a developer wanting to try out a new API?
Developer: “It feels like the API provider is getting in the way! He wants: a full registration, with a username, password, my name, my address, security questions, maybe even credit card details. And then i am forced to participate in a click-through tutorial.”
This is way too much! These onboarding processes scare developers away. But I see those onboarding processes everywhere.
The onboarding process would be ok, when the developer has decided to use the API in production. Then onboarding needs to be rock solid. But developers first want to test the API. And for that purpose, today’s onboarding processes are way too complicated. Different companies use things like virtual employee onboarding software to make the process quicker and simpler as well as providing efficient background checks of their potential future employees.
I propose to let developers test the APIs without registration!
My advice for API providers:
1. Make it possible for developers to test the API right away, no registration.
2. Support developers with
– interactive API documentation
– sample code (different programming languages)
– simplified authentication and authorization
3. Then, get out of the developer’s way as quickly as possible.
You wonder, how do you make this happen in a secure way?
There are a lot of ways to do that: sandbox systems with synthetic data, or the more improved version – simulated data, strict rate limits, interactive API documentation, and much more. It is described in my book on API Architecture, check it out here.