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Good APIs start with the docs: Telstra’s 2021 Developer Experience uplift

BY Michelle Telstra 17 December 2021

Have you ever looked at an API’s specs and thought, “but what can you REALLY do?” Apparently, lots of developers do. That’s why TelstraDev has re-imagined the way we present our API product and reference documentation. 

TL;DR

With our new API docs layout, it’s now easier than ever to understand Telstra’s API products and get building.

What’s the fuss about?

Telstra is on a mission to create a better developer experience. We appreciate that developers are building the world we live in and have reworked our new API and IoT offerings to suit their unique needs.

So, we’ve started at the core: uplifting the docs experience.

The main reasons that devs get frustrated with us or abandon APIs is if documentation has missing info and is difficult to follow. It’s a big blocker when you have to reach out for help with simple things decoding a cryptic error response code, or validating a use case. And what’s the point of a community maintaining brilliant SDKs and Postman Collections if they can’t easily be found?

Our new experience has a clearly articulated product overview that makes it easy to pick the perfect APIs to fit your use case. Plus, the tutorials and reference documentation now have code examples in multiple languages to help you get to the first Hello World and beyond.

Telstra Messaging API docs

The Telstra Messaging API documentation is the first to be released in this new overview format. Read all about the API benefits and take advantage of extended tutorials for must-have features such as how to automate two-way SMS conversations. Our refreshed API documentation is designed to be easy to use and follow, with detailed guidance on how to use the API over REST, as well as directly from code via our Software Development Kits (SDKs). 

Improved error messaging

We’ve also learnt from our customers’ pain points and extended the error response instructions for all API endpoints. This has already helped developers power through late night coding sessions without having to wait for us (although the community forums are always there if needed). Our support team is also taking note of these common errors and putting in longer term fixes in the coming Messaging API V3 release.

Give us your feedback

Did you notice the new feedback elements? Over the coming months, we’re keen to work with you to learn how the documentation and other key experiences can be improved. Use the new star ratings, thumbs up/down and comments to let us know what’s useful and what we can do better. Your suggestion might be part of our next release. You can also reach out to us at any time by emailing telstradev@team.telstra.com

What else is new in 2021?

•    Updated SDKs for Node.js and Python
•    Grew our dedicated onshore technical support team with a focus on developer specific needs
•    Implemented a Code of Conduct to strengthen our community 
•    Added automatic approval for our forums so devs can help each other quicker, at any time
•    Extended Messaging API Tutorials
•    Released the IoT Connectivity Manager API to monitor your Internet of Things SIM
•    Stopped selling the Arduino IoT developer kits and closed the IoT marketplace, to focus on our core APIs
•    Worked to make the world a better place at various hackathons like GovHack (IoT Insights for Sustainable Regional Agribusiness), Call for Code (Zero Hunger) and Uni Hack 
•    Launched a Discord server for the AusIoT community to collaborate between monthly meet-ups
•    Hosted AgTech, Cyber, ETSI IoT standards, Energy, Space, DevOps, Arduino and home projects themed AusIoT meetups in Adelaide, Brisbane and online! Catch the replays on our AusIoT YouTube

If you want to know more about Telstra's renewed focus on Developer Experience, check out our presentations with Q&A at the Telco Application Developer Asia Summit 2021 and API Days Australia 2021!

What have we got to look forward to?

•    Clearer pricing pages
•    Easier and more secure ways to find and manage API keys 
•    Smoother on-boarding
•    New APIs (Messaging v3, Event Detection, Connected Supply Chain and more! Have a request for Telstra's next public API? Let us know here!)
•    More detailed API usage logs
•    Dashboard and reporting improvements, to help customers better understand and improve their use of our products

What are we missing? Post your suggestion in our public developer forums, or through the anomymous feedback widgets on our site and we'll look into it.

Happy coding!

William Fettke, Telstra API and Developer Experience Product Owner,

Vinodh Seshadri, Telstra's Developer Support Lead and

Michelle Howie, Telstra's Developer Advocate
 

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