API Providers & Consumers Keeping In Touch Is How You Can Set The Right Tone For An API Community
26 Apr 2016
One of the side effects of the recent bot craze, is that I'm getting to showcase the often very healthy API practices of Slack, as they grow, scale, and manage their developer ecosystem. Slack is beginning to renew my faith that there are API providers out there who give a shit, and aren't just looking to exploit their ecosystems. There are two Slack blog posts that have triggered these thoughts, one on the Slack platform road map, and a little thing about release notes, both of which reflect what I would love to see other API providers emulate in their platform operations.
Slack is going the extra mile to set the right tone in their community, with what I consider to be some of the essential communication building blocks of API operations, but they simply call "keep in touch":
- Recent updates - We improve the Slack platform every day by releasing new features, squashing bugs, and delivering fresh documentation. Here's an account of what's recently happened.
- Support and Discussion - Whether you're working on an app for our App Directory or a custom integration for your team, you'll find yourself in good company, from all of us here at Slack and the wide community of developers working with the platform.
- @SlackAPI - Slack tweets, news, features and tips can be found at @SlackHQ but this? This is all API, all the time.
- Platform Blog - A Medium blog dedicated to the Slack API platform.
- Slack Engineering Blog - A Medium blog dedicated to the Slack engineering team.
- Platform Roadmap - Come, transform teams, and build the future of work with us--About our road map, Explore our roadmap, Review recent platform updates, and Discover what teams want.
- Register As a Developer - Working with the Slack API? Tell us a bit about yourself! We'll use the answers you supply here to notify you of updates to the Slack API, general Slack API news, and to get a better sense of the variety of developers building into Slack.
I just copied and pasted that from their developer portal. Slack does not stop there, also providing an FAQ, a Code of Conduct, and Ideaboard to further set the tone for how things can and should work in a community. What I like about the tone Slack is taking, is that it is balanced--"keep in touch"! Which really is just as much about us API consumers, as it is about Slack. Slack has done the hard work of providing most of the essential API building blocks, as well as a valuable API resource, now its up to the community to deliver--this balance is important, and we should be staying in touch.
Remember the tone Twitter took with us? Developer Rules of the Road!! Very different tone than "keep in touch". The tone really matters, as well as the investment in the common building blocks that enable "keeping in touch", both synchronous, and asynchronously. Having a road map, and change log for your API goes a long way, but telling the behind the why, how, and vision behind your road map and change log--gives me hope that this API thing might actually work.