This post is from the WIP Factory Newsletter, which brings subscribers a monthly email of insight, analysis and news into the world of developer marketing and developer relations. To get more articles like this in your inbox every month, sign up for free now.
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!
We are big fans of API consoles – web-based tools that allow developers to easily put together API queries on a developer program’s portal, and examine the response the queries generate. Consoles are a great way for developers to “kick the tires” of an API and get a feel for what it does and how it works, without having to make a significant time investment. This sort of exploration and education is a crucial part of the API onboarding process.
Like many API providers, US electronics retailer Best Buy has an API console explorer, the Best Buy Query Builder. In the Query Builder, developers are able to put together API requests using drop-down menus and keywords, much like in any other console. But where it goes beyond the normal console is its “URL Breakdown” area, which shows how the anatomy of the request is translated into a complete URL for an API request.
The pieces of the URL are displayed separately, with links to documentation for each one, then the complete URL is also shown. This allows the developer to learn how the different pieces of the request URL come together, and grows their understanding of how to build request URLs in their live applications.
Another bonus of the Query Builder: the Best Buy team has made its source code available on GitHub, so you can check out how it works and how you might include it on your own portal.