GIVE SOME SATISFACTION!
“First developer experience.” I’ve been thinking about it lots lately, in my day-and-night-job at Apigee and alter-life as a brownie-eating code princess in a trice-weekly knife-fight with Ruby. This post is about 5 developer frameworks/APIs/tools/platforms that give great FUE, my fav 5 inspirations of the now.
They all do something awesome: They get you to request/response, action/reaction, bell/salivation, to their own personal Hello World as fast as possible. They constrain TTFHW (Time To First Hello World), if only in a test environment, to get you to the I TOLD YOU TO DO SOMETHING AND YOU DID IT moment, that moment of I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE. If we subscribe to Matz-ism, “We are the masters. They are the slaves,” then we shall call this “accelerating the master/slave moment.”
These 5 examples recognize the innate pleasure of machine responsiveness to human touch, the weight of speed in net pleasure, and the value of that pleasure as a conversion catalyst. And they are getting biblical delivering some seriously fast Hello World satisfaction.
1. PUSHER API
The Pusher API. Realtime events for mobile and web apps. Right on the FRONT PAGE of this sucker they have this big beautiful button that says “Test It Out” and when you do, it gives you this code to paste into your terminal, so you do, because you’re a conformist, and you press enter and voila. A notification pops up in the browser. TIME TO SATISFACTION: SECONDS. (Thanks to hot-shot designer @itchymutt for sending this one my way).
First let me say I’ve had a beautiful experience withSinatra. Actually it’s the only thing I’ve loved so far about Ruby. Sinatra is to Ruby what skinny boys who play guitar are to high school. Even being super Explain this Clarissa with Ruby frameworks, I was able to Hello World real fast… in part because their ENTIRE FRONT PAGE is about getting you there. TTFHW. Get sum.
Just let me say that if you are trying to build a great first developer experience, the first time you check out Paper.js might be emotional for you - it was for me and my team. It’s “an open source vector graphics scripting framework that runs on top of the HTML5 Canvas.” And it is beautiful. When you first load the page, your mouse can manipulate the graphics. And when you click “Source” you can NOT ONLY SEE, BUT ALSO EDIT the code, then run it. And there are tons of fun examples, including ones that involve rainbows. #winning. Paper.js uses CodeMirror to make the magic happen.
Riak (open source scalable data store) is a slightly different flavor from the rest, but I picked it as an example of addressing complexity and varying knowledge in FUE , while still getting users to “Hello World”. The “Riak Fast Track” is a 45-minute course to get started and on step 2 they’ve already got your sweet n00b ass building a cluster. They also have an information scheme for getting around to the parts and complexity levels that are relevant to more knowledgable users. Despite all the Paper.js rainbow-fanciness that is emerging in the world, good solid text/video documentation that focuses on getting to a first moment of triumph is still super important… and sometimes more appropriate.
5. JS Bin
It’s a few years old now, but JS Bin is still a shining example of the value and addictive quality of play, touch, responsiveness and rapid prototyping in developer tools. JS Bin is a pastebin with the added sex of YOU CAN RUN THE CODE. A super slick collaborative debugging/sandbox tool that is still much beloved today. I love how when you load the page THERE’S CODE THERE ALREADY BRO, which makes it super easy to figure out what-exactly- is-going-on-here. I think that at some point we’ll see code you run, prototype/preview, and edit in the browser become more and more expected by first users but in the meantime, JS Bin offers a simple, shining view of a better future.