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API Design and Building of Developer Communities

Software development tools are often the neglected stepchildren of software companies. Developers have compelling needs for these tools, so they may choose them despite poorly-designed user interfaces and functional shortcomings. But poorly-designed APIs lead to disgruntled users and can result in expensive support and documentation requirements.

Armadillo Associates believe that APIs/SDKs must be carefully designed and that documentation, outreach to the developer community and carefully-planned support for developers must be integrated into a coherent plan if an SDK/API release is to be successful. Click here for a description of our philosophy of API design.

From our early days when we wrote about developer tools that almost no one had ever heard of yet (like C++) and emerging technologies for PCWeek (now eWeek), Armadillians have been champions of cool developer tools, connoisseurs of elegant APIs, and unflinching commentators on the state of this market.

Since then, Armadillo Associates have done everything from tool design to designing/writing developer documentation through to implementing developer support programs. Most of the APIs we have worked on have been offered in both C and Java; the Internet-based ones usually involve use of XML somewhere or other.

Some of our API-related projects have included:

  • Technical project management/documentation of print server API. Helped plan for release of API. Created code examples in Java and C++. (EFI)
  • Documentation/architectural design of an HTML/XML-based middleware product. (AT&T)
  • Designed sample applications to demonstrate use of eCommerce and middleware APIs and other development tools. Hand-code HTML, XML, C++, C and Java code examples for developer documentation.

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