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Successful developers

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How to support the developers of your API, give them skills and tools to be successful. …

How to support the developers of your API, give them skills and tools to be successful.

Webex of my presentation at https://cisco.webex.com/ciscosales/lsr.php?AT=pb&SP=MC&rID=62417452&rKey=caa6309156837b7a

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  • How do they differ?Sometimes they can be used interchangeably – we’ll see an example of this later with OAuth – then the developer can chooseUsually parameters are used to refine the request, better define what’s being requested, and headers are used for metadataFormat or metadata about the request
  • Secure/not securePretty/not prettyWireshark is nice but ugly (X11)
  • Transcript

    • 1. Kirsten Jones, Technical Leader, Cisco Systems @synedra http://www.princesspolymath.com
    • 2.  API Developers  Application Developers  Architects / Designers Focus: Successful Developers
    • 3.  Good Documentation Common Pain Points HTTP Sniffing Understanding Error Codes Debugging Strategies
    • 4.  What can I do? Walk-throughs and tutorials Lots of working code Small chunks with frequent successes Example applications Examples:  LinkedIn Javascript Tutorials  LinkedIn Getting Started
    • 5.  Lack of understanding of HTTP structure Libraries “masking” responses Error code confusion Authentication
    • 6.  Many developers don’t understand HTTP basics Libraries allow them to interact with the API but not understand issues REST feels like a “black box”
    • 7.  Clear and complete tutorials, with and without libraries Pointers to HTTP basics  My OSCON presentation has good info Developer tools demonstrating successful calls (OAuth Test Console, IODocs)
    • 8.  3rd Party (or company-supported) libraries are great but… Frequently error codes or other responses are masked Can get out of sync Supporting the API is different from supporting a library
    • 9.  HTTP status is very helpful  50x: we screwed up.  40x: you screwed up.  30x: ask that dude over there.  20x: cool. Consistency within the API is critical Useful error messages for broad errors (4xx errors) Document, explain, demonstrate!
    • 10.  Teach your developers to be successful Watch the traffic with a sniffer All requests should include headers, body, exact URL A great bug report:  I did X  I expected Y to happen  To my dismay, Z happened instead
    • 11.  Use existing, tested libraries Code defensively Servers aren’t that smart  In most cases a working example will help  Lots of code samples, well documented  Use case based
    • 12.  Macintosh: HTTPScoop http://tuffcode.com/ Macintosh: Charles (supports SSL) http://www.charlesproxy.com/ Windows: Fiddler http://www.fiddler2.com/fiddler2/ Unix (or Mac): Wireshark (X11) http://www.wireshark.org/
    • 13.  401 authentication errors (signatures, tokens) 403 authorization errors (throttles, permissions) 400 errors – parameters, headers Content-type errors
    • 14.  Pain points HTTP Sniffers Good questions