The importance of APIs today cannot be overstated. It seems like every company on the planet is on a digital transformation journey, with APIs as their greatest enabler. Even core technology companies like Citrix that have always been active in the space are looking at how they can get better at and drive more value through APIs. “API First” and “API as a Product” approaches are no longer aspirational and are being ingrained into the DNA of development teams. This represents a shift in mindset and culture as much as business and technology imperatives.
APIs have to provide some sort of business value through data or functionality. But that value alone is not enough for APIs to be successful. You have to take a holistic view of APIs and consider AX.
But wait, what is AX?
AX is API Experience. It’s a term I’ve coined, though it isn’t (yet) an industry-wide term. You can break AX into four components.
Consumer Experience (CX)
The more popular term in the industry is DX, or Developer Experience. A consumer of an API is the developer who uses the API in her code, and their experience is the most important factor in determining API experience. What’s important to them for a good experience? They’ll want to know how easy is it to:
- Discover the API
- Read and understand the documentation
- Try the API
- Use the API in a language of choice
- Use the API in conjunction with other APIs
- Get help with the API
Producer Experience (PX)
The producer is the developer(s) who creates the API in the first place. This is the person who transforms a business value proposition into invocable code. The PX depends on the design guidance, tooling, automation, frameworks, and example references available and has a direct impact on the quality of the APIs created.
Manager Experience (MX)
Examples of business policies that API product managers care about most include user-specific quotas, adding newer types of authentication, getting visibility into usage, monetizing, and deprecating old/less/unused APIs. The MX depends on how easily they can manage these policies.
Operator Experience (OX)
Operators are responsible for running APIs at scale, performance SLAs, alerts, common enforcement points for security, and auditing and governance. Like the MX, the OX depends on how easily operators can do these things.
For APIs to be successful in the long term, you must consider the entire picture and make a deliberate effort to improve all aspects of AX. And you always have to ask, “How is your AX?”
This is the first post in a series of blogs on Citrix’s API Platform. Click here to learn more about resources available for Citrix developers.