Reflections as I begin my third time on jury duty

Diagram of an API as a gear with connection points

Today I met with my co-jurors who’ll be judging this year’s DevPortal awards nominees with me in the coming weeks. The entrants in this year’s showcase represent an impressive effort on the part of the nominees, so we have our work cut out for us. This is my third year on the jury and I’m looking forward to this year’s entries.

What struck me as we kicked off this year’s evaluation today was the 15 different award categories this year–up from last year’s eight categories–and how the presentation of APIs to the world has changed over the years. What impresses me every year is the innovation applied to make this presentation effective and engaging.

Pronovix hosts this event and they’ve modeled this year’s 15 categories around the Maturity model for devportals, which describes these three dimensions of developer portal maturity.

  • Developer experience
  • Business alignment
  • Operational maturity

When I judged the entries last year, I approached it from a usability perspective–how easily could the customer do what they needed to do? From that perspective, the maturity model dimensions represent the usability of the site from the perspectives of different stakeholders involved with an API developer’s portal.

From the perspective of ease of use, developer experience represents how easy the site makes it for the reader to get value from the product. Operational maturity represents how easy it is for contributors to add value to the developer portal. Business alignment represents how well the site makes it easy for the organization to access value.

To be successful in today’s crowded API marketplace, a developer portal must serve all three of the stakeholders these dimensions represent. The maturity model dimensions reflect how APIs must do more than just provide access to a service.

Each year, the entrants in this competition get better and the competition gets even more difficult to judge. It’s clear that the entrants are taking notes and applying what they learn.

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