As a developer, the tools you use play a crucial role in your ability to do your job effectively, efficiently, and with satisfaction. That’s where Developer eXperience (DevX) comes in. DevX is a measure of how usable or intuitive a tool is, and it’s an important factor in determining how successful a developer will be when using that tool.
DevX is a similar concept to user experience (UX), but it goes beyond it, considering the developer journey across all interaction points, whether we are talking about reading the documentation, using the command line, implementing SDKs, libraries, or API endpoints. Generally, a service with quality developer experience is well-documented and comes with a solid “getting started” guide and sample code for common executions.
DevX doesn’t apply just to public SaaS: it’s in a company’s best interest to ensure their internal tools provide a high-quality experience too. Investing in DevX can increase developer speed, onboarding, and satisfaction, it can reduce burnout, and improve employee retention.
Considering The Developer Journey
The developer’s journey through these tools can have positive or negative experiences in many areas.
To begin with, the process of finding the service can vary. One of the common problems is knowing whether a service exists or whether it is used within a company. This may seem absurd, but it is a common issue. Developers may hear about it through word of mouth or find it through a keyword search and command-line install. In the best-case scenario, they may discover the service through curated lists and registries, a process known as discovery.
Next, the onboarding phase, which involves using documentation and reference materials, can determine whether the experience is smooth or difficult. High-quality code tutorials and sample applications for common use cases can help with this.
Finally, the testing and production phase is when the tool is used. At this stage, the tool needs to behave as intended and be reliable. Additionally, factors such as ease of maintenance and quality of ongoing support can impact the overall developer experience.
But DevX isn’t just about the tools you use, it’s also about the platforms and systems you work with. And that’s where self-service portals come in. A self-service portal is a web-based platform that allows users to access and manage certain aspects of their accounts or services without the need for direct assistance from a company representative.
Self-service portals can provide many benefits for developers. Let’s see some of them.
Reduce repetitive tickets and tasks
Enabling developers to handle basic infra and cloud tasks on their own can reduce the number of tickets opened for repetitive tasks. By giving developers easy access to tools that allow them to handle these tasks themselves, operations and DevOps teams can focus on more important, business-transforming ideas instead of being bogged down by mundane activities. This could also save time and frustration, as developers won’t have to wait for assistance to make changes or updates to their accounts.
Foster autonomy in your teams
Developers who are autonomous, independent, and confident tend to be the most effective members of a tech team. However, it can be difficult for less experienced team members to develop these attributes if they constantly need to ask for help, permission, and clarification. Self-service platforms, incorporate permissions and limits that allow developers to confidently carry out infrastructure tasks without needing to constantly consult with experts.
The right place for documentation
Self-service portals can also improve the developer experience by providing access to FAQs, tutorials, and other resources to help developers troubleshoot problems and learn more about the tools and platforms they are using.
Overall, self-service portals can be a valuable addition to any developer’s toolkit, enhancing their developer experience. By providing a convenient and intuitive way to access and manage accounts and services, these portals can improve a developer’s productivity and job satisfaction.
Platform engineer: the enabler of DevX
Self-service platforms are internal products built, maintained, and improved by dedicated teams.
Platform engineers are the individuals responsible for creating these curated self-service portals that enhance developer experience.
The goal of a platform team is to provide a reliable and scalable foundation for the organization’s technology needs, allowing other teams to focus on their specific areas of expertise without having to worry about the underlying infrastructure.
Gartner claims that by 2026, 80% of software engineering organizations will establish platform teams as internal providers of reusable services, components, and tools for application delivery, but don’t expect to buy a turnkey platform. Most commercially available tools will require significant customization to meet your needs. Don’t expect to be able to purchase a turnkey solution from vendors who claim otherwise. A substantial amount of time and effort will be required to customize a platform to your needs.