If you are a Developer and use APIs, you certainly have used some API Portals. An API Portal is a website that provides you with all the API definitions (Swagger format for instance), the API documentation, a description of each API method.
Most of these also provide you with self-service to generate API access and authentication, like API keys and access tokens.
Some portals let you test APIs directly on sandbox environments. These portals allow organizations to provide and promote their external APIs.
While the Axway Amplify API Management solution provides all these services out-of-the-box with its API Portal component, it’s also key to its success that it can be customized in the provider organization context.
Let’s see how this can be done using only these important ideas:
Four ideas for an easy API Developer experience
1. Style and content customization
The Axway API Portal uses Joomla technology, which provides a style capability to apply on all or selected pages.
Combining this capability with contextual updates of the language file (where all text labels are stored), makes it quite easy to change text content, colors, font size, logos, and background images.
Several specific API Portal modules are also even easier to customize, as the banner content and tiles of the home page.
Use your brand image and brand message to personalize the style and content as much as possible. Your API Portal should be unique and recognizable.
You can change from this to this in less than one hour:
If you don’t know with our open documentation on customizing the look and feel of your API Portal.
If you want to create more disruptive changes, it’s always possible thanks to more customizations like the following ones.
2. Chat plugin
As a developer, I always appreciate finding solutions quickly and never being stuck all by myself trying a new thing.
Having an instant messaging system on your API Portal is a great way to give the developer the feeling he or she is not alone when trying your API.
An API provider team can be directly notified when a developer needs support and engage in a live chat.
You can even maximize the Developer Experience, by setting up the chatbot capability and intelligent behaviors. The developer would be able to get immediate answers to the most common questions or to provide his or her contact information for a specific request.
You can usually automatically trigger scenarios. A simple scenario is when a user lands on a certain page, you expand the chat window to welcome him/her and propose support for the specific page.
A more complex scenario could combine previous pages seen, whether support agents are online or not, forms to be completed, etc.
Several Chat systems can be easily integrated with API Portal. For instance, I used Chatra, and the integration was done in minutes, via the API Portal admin UI (using option two, described here.)
Chatra has an intuitive user experience allowing you to start quickly and then customize it step by step.
Intercom or Zendesk are probably the two most popular options you might consider.
3. API documentation
Each API has a description written in Markdown format. The Markdown format is easy for the API provider to create and update, but its standard web rendering is quite boring for the consumer to read.
So, it’s a good idea to create a style that would apply to the API description so it’s more enjoyable for the API Developer to read.
4. API reviews
What if you allow all your API Developers to not only discuss your API in a forum but to review it by providing a rating and a comment?
These reviews would be visible to other API Developers and help contribute to the success (or the failure) of each API.
To do so, you would need to integrate either an out-of-the-box review plugin, such as POWR Reviews or create your own Review micro-service and expose it internally for the API Portal to consume it every time the API details are displayed like this example:
Bonus: what is an API platform that best serves the developer experience?
By taking advantage of these ideas, you create a perfect experience for API Developers who use your API Portal.
You also get more tractions as more developers would be willing to register and use your APIs more. This should enhance the overall success of your APIs and help you grow your partner community and business profits.
Learn more about the Amplify API Platform.