Jorgos Tsovilis
INNOPAY Jorgod Tsovilis
Jorgos Tsovilis
Thorben Peter
Thorben Peter
Thorben Peter

Key takeaways from the API The Docs conference: 4 ways to enhance the API journey

API the Docs

On 6 and 7 June, the ‘API The Docs’ conference took place at the headquarters of major Dutch bank ABN AMRO in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The two-day event brought together a couple of hundred developers, technical writers, product owners, consultants, bankers and other API enthusiasts. Among them were INNOPAY’s Jorgos Tsovilis and Thorben Peter who, due to their experience in the domain of Open Banking and Payments, were keen to hear more about the industry’s current challenges as well as the latest innovations and developments. Here, they highlight four key takeaways that can help to enhance the API journey.

Inspired by the Write the Docs movement, the ‘API The Docs’ event is organised by Pronovix: a company dedicated to the research and delivery of open-source developer portals and centred around ‘all things API’. This year, the first day of the conference was focused on ‘Developer success: looking beyond developer experience’. The ‘unconference’ on the second, participative day was a self-organising open-space event during which the attendees decided the agenda. Among the speakers were experts from companies such as ABN AMRO, Deutsche Bank, Adyen, Cloudflare, Redocly and APIMatic, to name but a few. The topics up for discussion included fostering a developer culture, adapting the API strategy, the use of interactive documentation, and how the implementation of an internal developer portal can drive digital transformation.

4 key takeaways for the API journey

  1. Prioritise high-quality documentation

API The Docs highlighted one of the biggest challenges developers encounter on developer portals: a lack of high-quality documentation to help them understand an API. The importance of providing simple, clear and informative documentation may seem obvious, but it is still often an afterthought for companies during their API journey – meaning that they are missing out on opportunities. Put simply, if developers don’t understand it, they won’t use it. Ensuring that high-quality information is available to developers throughout the whole API lifecycle can make the difference in ensuring that they actually build products and services around the API. It’s no coincidence that API documentation is one of the four core capabilities measured in INNOPAY’s Open Banking Monitor.

  1. Measure the ‘time to first dopamine’

Developers are humans too! Like most people, they have the desire to experience a feeling of accomplishment and the resulting dopamine rush that comes from performing a task successfully. Therefore, integrating applications in the portal with which developers can interact early and often will encourage developers to browse the portal more frequently and for longer. This can be a small but impactful differentiator in delivering the best customer experience.

  1. Opt for long-term quality over short-term gains

Attendees were reminded that companies often still prioritise costs and sales over long-term strategic decisions, especially in terms of technical depth. This can result in a painful experience down the road, and the short-term gains often fail to offset the long-term complications associated with having to make adjustments. That’s why it is crucial to always keep the long-term API vision and strategy in mind when making decisions. Additionally, developers should be included in the decision-making processes early on to avoid friction further down the line or, in the worst-case scenario, having to abandon months of onboarding efforts.

  1. Assign ownership & maintain overview

Another key issue is knowing whom to ask in the case of questions or problems, especially in larger and more complex organisations. In such environments, employee turnover is common, which means that the developer who initially constructed a specific API or framework may no longer be a part of the company. This makes it difficult to identify and navigate through solutions which may or may not already exist. Ways to prevent this include assigning a dedicated product owner who is responsible for a certain API product, as well as defining clear guidelines or governance for maintaining API products. This can significantly reduce coordination costs and prevent organisations from continuously reinventing the wheel. Ultimately, APIs become better with reuse, was the message at API The Docs.

Are you interested in learning more about how you are performing in your API journey and which potential capability improvements you could still make? Reach out to and to learn more about INNOPAY’s new API maturity model!

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