5 REST APIs With Great Developer Experience

5 REST APIs With Great Developer Experience

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An API is only as good as it is useful. Developer experience (DX) is often what determines whether or not a user adopts an API. When a developer is looking for a solution to a problem, they don’t want to spend a great deal of time learning a whole new tool. They want to plug the API into their existing workflow to quickly see if it will solve their problem. Good DX makes that possible.

A great developer experience can mean many different things, though. DX can encompass everything from API documentation to how easily an API can integrate with an API management platform and much more. With this in mind, we’ve pulled together some examples of different high-quality REST APIs. Each of these APIs excels in developer experience in a unique way, making them all great inspirations for delivering the ultimate DX.

1. Stripe API

Stripe API has been known for delivering exceptional DX with extraordinary API documentation for ages. The Stripe API documentation is a masterclass in API documentation done right. They’ve got a quickstart guide. There are no-code options. There are code snippets for installing the API as a library in popular programming languages like Python. You can be up and running with the Stripe API in less than five minutes, even with zero programming experience.

These are just a few of the reasons the Stripe API was our top choice in our review last year of APIs with excellent documentation when we called it “a work of art.” It’s just as true today… and just as inspiring.

Stripe API is an outstanding example of how API documentation can deliver best-in-class DX.

2. Slack API

The Slack API is a brilliant example of how SDKs can boost DX.

As we said at the beginning, developers aren’t looking to master a whole new language — or series of languages — to try out a new tool. They want to get it up and running with as little effort as possible to ensure it’ll be useful for their organization. A software development kit (SDK) is one of the easiest ways to make this happen for a wide variety of circumstances.

The Slack API features an array of different SDKs for a wide range of programming languages, including Python, JavaScript, and others. Even more impressively, the Slack API GitHub Repository features an even wider range of tools and SDKs. No matter what environment you’re working in, Slack is likely to have an SDK.

Slack SDK developer experience API

Stripe API is an outstanding example of how API documentation can deliver best-in-class DX.

3. Pinterest API

Check out the Pinterest API Postman Collection. At the time of this writing, there are five different versions on the site, ranging from Pinterest REST API 5.3.0 to Pinterest REST API 5.8. Each version is full, complete, and fully functional. Each version features a detailed overview of each endpoint, for one thing. Even better, each version also includes a YAML file, making it quick and easy to discern the difference between different versions with a glance.

When API versioning’s done right, you stay true to your loyal customers while still being able to fix problems or inefficiencies, helping you make the most of technological changes.

Pinterest versioning strategies

The Pinterest API illustrates the benefits of intentional versioning strategies.

4. PayPal API

DX can mean many different things. It can mean great onboarding materials, thorough documentation, or a healthy developer community. The PayPal API offers all that and much more. If you were looking for one API to model your REST APIs, the PayPal API would make an excellent choice.

Organization is one of the best things the PayPal API has going for it. You can see it in the PayPal API Documentation, which breaks everything down by functionality. For example, there are sections for authorization, accessing user info, and invoicing. Each section offers sample code that can easily be copied into your terminal so you can see the API in action. Even better, there’s an excellent Postman Collection, making it simple and easy to get started in a matter of minutes.

Paypal API developer portal

The PayPal API is a textbook example of REST APIs done right, offering outstanding DX in numerous areas.

5. Sabre API

The Sabre REST APIs provide an impressive array of services related to travel and retail. They let you look up hotel information for a particular city, flight information, and travel information by theme, letting you sort destinations by interest. With such a wide range of features and functionality, working with Sabre APIs could be like learning a whole new library.

Luckily, their sample code is incredible. Each function gets its own GitHub Repository, giving you everything you need to create your demo apps. The GitHub landing pages are clean, clear, easy to follow, and easily understandable for users coming from different backgrounds.

The Sabre API offers a stellar example of how sample code can supercharge DX. Here’s a screenshot from Sabre’s sample app for its Hotel Price Check API, found on GitHub.

Final Thoughts: Delivering An Exceptional Developer Experience for REST APIs

The API industry isn’t getting less competitive. Every day, the market is inundated with clever, useful, powerful new APIs. In this climate, developer experience dictates how quickly users can get onboarded so they can get back to the matter at hand. Failure to consider delivering a world-class DX can result in developers not using your APIs. So, spend some time and follow these examples of exceptional developer experience to stand out from the crowd.