Automation within the Developer Experience Team
Elmer Thomas | 24 October 2017
Many companies that provide an API also include SDKs. At SendGrid, such SDKs send several billions of emails monthly through SendGrid’s Web API. Recently, SendGrid re-built their seven open source SDKs (Python, PHP, C#, Ruby, Node.js, Java, and Go) to support 233 API endpoints, a process which I’ll describe in my upcoming talk at APIStrat in Portland.
Fortunately, when we started this undertaking, Matt Bernier had just launched our Developer Experience team, covering our open source documentation and libraries. I joined the team as the first Developer Experience Engineer, with a charter to manage the open source libraries in order to ensure a fast and painless integration with every API SendGrid produces.
Our first task on the Developer Engineering side was to update all of the core SendGrid SDKs, across all seven programming languages, to support the newly released third version of the SendGrid Web API and its hundreds of endpoints. At the time, our SDKs only supported the email sending endpoint for version 2 of the API, so this was a major task for one person. Based on our velocity, we calculated that it would take about 8 years to hand code every single endpoint into each library.
This effort involved automated integration test creation and execution with a Swagger/OAI powered mock API server, documentation, code, examples, CLAs, backlogs, and sending out swag. Along the way, we also gained some insights on what should not be automated — like HTTP clients.
In my talk at APIStrat, I am going to share some tricks, automations, shortcuts, and key lessons that I learned on our journey to creating a Developer Experience team:
- We will walk through what we automated and why, including how we leveraged OpenAPI and StopLight.io to automate SDK documentation, code, examples, and tests.
- Then we’ll dive into how we used CLA-Assistant.io to automate CLA signing and management along with Kotis’ API to automate sending and managing swag for our contributors.
- We’ll explore how these changes were received by our community, how we adapted to their feedback and prioritized with the RICE framework.
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