Best Practices in Action: Twilio’s New Code Tutorials

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In this section, we highlight the tools, events and other activities the WIP Factory team has come across that have really impressed us. These are best practices in action: the top developer marketing and relations activities from the community!

Twilio has long provided a good example for other API providers with its developer site and documentation. It recently released a new set of code examples/tutorials that continue that trend. Let’s take a look!

The tutorials cover a wide range of common applications of Twilio’s APIs and services, providing illustrative examples of how they can be used. One thing that immediately leaps out is the multiple language support for most of the tutorials, which gives developers the option to see code in a range of languages and for a number of different platforms.

When you click through to your language of choice, you’re presented with a view of code, and accompanying notes for each step. The relevant bit of code for the step is highlighted, and links to other relevant parts of the Twilio API docs are provided too.

Once a developer has clicked through the tutorial, they can also download all of the code for the tutorial from GitHub and explore it further. 

The Twilio team explains some of their motivations and goals behind the new tutorials in a blog post. Its portal already had a good set of Quickstarts, which the team says it had good feedback about, but created the tutorials to go a step further and give developers a quick and easy way to get code into production apps and services.

These tutorials are great, and provide a good model for other API providers to follow, for a number of reasons, but two stand out:

  • They’re based on developer feedback and needs – they are written in the languages and for the platforms Twilio developers use most. The Twilio team knows its community, and acts on that knowledge.
  • They fill a gap that is often left between getting started materials and raw documentation. As the team noted in its post, it gets good feedback from its Quickstarts, but what does the developer do next? Whether by providing tutorials like these, or regular blog posts and demo projects to show how to build the API into an application, there’s a need for deeper, quality examples that are more “alive” than just the technical documentation.