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Bringing an API attitude to Cisco

Posted on November 5, 2015 by Adam Kalsey

One reason Cisco acquired Tropo was to bring in our expertise in building developer experiences that people love. Developer experience is more than just beautiful APIs, but extends to all the ways a developer interacts with the APIs and the company or product behind them. From documentation to billing to customer support, a good developer experience requires a conscious effort and doesn’t happen by accident.

I sat down with Beth Schultz, managing editor at No Jitter to talk about what makes for a good developer experience, why it can be hard for large enterprise software companies to create great APIs, and how Tropo is shaping Cisco’s API strategy.

If you’re evaluating a traditional communications product, you can pour over data sheets and find all sorts of information on what the product does and how to use it. You can usually even get access to it and give it a trial run. “But the APIs are often hidden behind NDAs, and you have to talk to a salesperson or somebody in support who has the magic access to give you a key to use the API. Then you might get a PDF document that is hard to read, hard to follow, and often written, created, and managed by engineers, rather than by people who have a [focus on] user experience,” Kalsey said.

When you think about the API from the entire ecosystem, you then consider questions such as: How is it going to fit in with the rest of the products? How is it going to fit in with the rest of the APIs the company develops? How are you going to support it? What is it going to look like?

“So just like you have somebody focused on user experience, you need to have somebody focused on what the developer experience is — and that’s everything from how the APIs look and feel to making sure there’s consistency between them.”

Go read the whole article, and come chat developer experience with us at one of our upcoming events.

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