Developer Experience

Sep 26, 2021

There's never been a better time to make your project easier to use by developers. Depending on how they integrate into the stack, companies are increasingly marketing themselves as developer-friendly or developer-focused. From an increased focus on developer tools to unbundling traditionally GUI-driven applications like e-commerce and business intelligence to "headless", or API-first approach.

But why now? Three reasons why developer experience is important.

Developer experience as productivity gain. Developers spend most of their time solving problems other than business requirements. Instead, they are fumbling with configuration, debugging, setting up programming environments, and managing generic infrastructure. Better developer experience means that developers can focus more time on what matters.

Developer experience as a moat. In an age of cloud providers that can take off-the-shelf open source software and run it for a profit, developer experience is a key differentiator between SaaS-managed service and cloud-managed service.  It may not be the most defensible moat, but it is something that is difficult for others to replicate at early stages.

Developer experience as reducing friction in go-to-market. Developers are playing more of a role in the decision-making process of software adoption. They find projects (usually on GitHub) and integrate them as proof-of-concepts. They might even purchase a small plan from the provider. Eventually, the provider can use these deployments as product qualified leads to sell an enterprise deployment to the team. Reducing friction in installing and using the software at any of these stages through good developer experience can have a material effect on the bottom line.