What Will You Learn on this Page?
On this page, you will learn a lot about Developer Experience, from A to Z.
First, we will cover the importance of Developer Experience and its impact on a business's success, because yes, it's extremely important for companies trying to scale up their businesses. Which threats and benefits this lead to, both internal and external.
We will define the Developer Experience, through real data, to better understand the key points of this concept.
Next, we will search for ways to improve it, thanks to insights on how to create a good DevEx, including factors such as best practices, and tools.
Why not open the end of this concept explanation with another concept; how to improve software developer efficiency and measure developer velocity?
Are you ready?
Table of Content
What Is the Developer Experience?
Developer Experience or "DX", DevEx, is all about ease—it’s the ease with which developers implement changes to code and push projects forward. Fostering a positive environment in which developers can concentrate and work to the best of their capabilities is the name of the game.
For developers, obstacles can arise just about anywhere, including not only the software development kits (SDKs) and application programming interfaces (APIs) that they use, but also the environment they work in and the processes they have to adhere to regularly.
The Developer Experience is a sociotechnical system, first and foremost. Company culture is also key to the Developer Experience as well, and your DX strategy should mesh with a holistic perspective on underlying values within your organization.
In this article, we are defining what is the Developer Experience and its four common essential development tasks you need to consider when understanding the Developer Experience, focus on them to succeed.
From Developer Journey to Developer Experience
Before the emergence of Developer Experience, the developer journey was often challenging and frustrating. Developers had to contend with difficult-to-use tools, poorly documented APIs, and limited community support. This led to low productivity, high turnover rates, and a lack of innovation in software development.
However, with the increasing focus on DX, the developer journey has become much more streamlined and efficient. Developers now have access to a range of powerful and user-friendly tools, well-documented APIs, and vibrant developer communities that provide support and collaboration opportunities. This has led to increased productivity, higher job satisfaction, and more innovative solutions to complex problems.
Overall, the emergence of Developer Experience has transformed the developer journey, making it a more rewarding and enjoyable experience for developers, but not only for your developers. Indeed, also for developer users of your product.
also key to the Developer Experience.
The Developer Experience, the One for your Own Team and the One for your Users.
We already talked about how it was important for developers' teams to have a great Developer Experience. But we don’t talk about how it was important for users, and by users I mean, developer users of using a product Developer Experience-oriented.
Indeed, it could result in better adoption of your tool by them by fitting with their skills, and needs, through compatible products making them more confident, and efficient.
Why Is Developer Experience so Important?
The Developer Experience is a crucial aspect of the development process that can significantly impact productivity, collaboration, and innovation. Who really wants to work with a litany of poorly integrated systems and processes with no rhyme or reason?
A great Developer Experience stems from quality tooling, sensible policies, and simplified collaboration between team members. Making it easier for developers to get more done in less time, with minimal frustration along the way.
Choosing and using the right tools, providing the right policies, and encouraging collaboration can result in reduced errors, improved development speed, and better onboarding for new developers.
It can also automate tedious parts of the development process, create a culture of continuous productivity, and minimize distractions for developers, ultimately resulting in better code quality and increased business growth.
With this information in hand, creating a compelling a good Developer Experience for your team should be reasonably simple, and aligning everything from tools to your physical workspace and culture to match your objectives should be fairly straightforward to accomplish. However, if you need more information, check out our article to know in details why the Developer Experience is important!
What Makes a Good Developer Experience?
You should have a great Developer Experience internally, for your developers. As way said above, this will make them more efficient, productive. But on which factors you should rely to know if you are in or out a ood Developer Experience?
First, make your developers feel considered: Incentives, multifaceted recruiting programs, ongoing learning opportunities, defined engineering career paths, and active measurement of team health.
Do regular check in on team health through surveys, whiteboard notes, and visual dashboards to address issues and improve processes quickly. Annual or biannual employee surveys provide an opportunity to delve deeper into topics such as shared vision, leadership, motivation, and incentives.
Having good documentation, indeed, with a clear, comprehensive, and up-to-date documentation that provides guidance on how to use the tools and resources is essential. This should include not only technical details but also best practices, examples, and troubleshooting tips in your organization.
Introduce them to a positive work culture. Developers should be able to rely on consistent behavior across different tools, platforms, and versions. This makes it easier for them to understand and work with the software, reducing confusion and errors. But they also should be able to fail, to have the possibility to learn from their errors and scale.
Having a great Developer Experience externally, for developers who use your product is also really important. 90% of the time we consider Developer Experience something exclusively internal, like being sure your developer team is happy, so they ship faster, but it's not the only Developer Experience!
You also need to take care of developers who are using your product (if your product is destined for developers of course)
First thing is to have good documentation. It's crucial and should include README files, FAQs, use cases, and code annotations.
Communicate often about changes you made to developers through proper versioning and a regularly updated changelog.
Having consistency in both platform and internal libraries, reduces friction and improves adoption.
Speak several languages! Accommodating multiple languages and styles can attract a wider range of developers
How can I improve my Developer Experience?
Improving your Developer Experience is important because it directly affects your productivity and satisfaction as a developer who is building and maintaining software. A better one can lead to faster development cycles, fewer bugs, and a better end-user experience. If you are a company and you are looking to have a better Developer Experience for your engineers, It can also help attract and retain top talent in the industry.
We decided to create a list of the best tools which can help you to improve your Developer Experience.
Developer Experience Best Tools:
Netlify is a development tool that enables collaboration among developers, providing an innovative and quick approach to using APIs and chosen tools. This platform has a smooth setup process that allows developers to easily move between environments when required, reducing tedious upkeep and improving the overall Developer Experience.
Neovim is a refactor, and sometimes redactor, in the tradition of Vim (which itself derives from Stevie). It is not a rewrite but a continuation and extension of Vim. Many clones and derivatives exist, some very clever—but none are Vim. Neovim is built for users who want the good parts of Vim, and more.
Retool is a platform that allows you to build internal web apps quickly and read data from almost any database. It features a drag-and-drop system to create no-code web apps in minutes, which can improve Developer Experience. This tool can help developers develop internal tools easily, providing the data or tools necessary for a particular part of their workflow, which contributes positively to their experience.
GitLens supercharges Git inside VS Code and unlocks untapped knowledge within each repository. It helps you to visualize code authorship at a glance via Git blame annotations and CodeLens, seamlessly navigate and explore Git repositories, gain valuable insights via rich visualizations and powerful comparison commands, and so much more.
Auth0 is a Developer Experience tool that allows developers to create feature-rich authentication without risking customer data. This platform provides more options, such as built-in bot detection, SSO logins, and role-based access control, to give all teams the same functionality, regardless of whether they use no code, low code, or pro code methods.
Mergify is a CI/CD Pipeline Optimizer, managing your pull requests that helps you to streamline your development process by automating tasks such as merging pull requests. It's merge queue automates the merging of pull requests, enabling developers to automatically merge changes once they have been approved and meet certain criteria. Fully integrated into GitHub, and coordinated with any CI.
Flightcontrol is a platform that gives complete control and ownership over AWS, providing flexibility with GUI- or code-based configuration for deployment services and environments. This tool automates tedious tasks between GitHub and AWS, freeing up more time for developers to push code and potentially enhancing their experience.
PlanetScale is an advanced serverless MySQL platform that simplifies tedious work for developers, allowing them to concentrate on application development instead of putting in administrative or operational effort to maintain app-dependent MySQL databases. PlanetScale improves productivity by reducing the tedious work that developers have to do, substantially improving the Developer Experience.
Developer Experience Best Practices
Provide Clear Documentation
Good documentation is essential for developers to quickly understand how to use your product or service. Make sure your documentation is comprehensive, up-to-date, and easy to navigate.
The usability of your tools or services plays a critical role in the overall Developer Experience. Make sure your products are easy to use and understand, and invest in user testing to identify and resolve any usability issues.
Foster a Culture of Collaboration
Developers work better when they have opportunities to collaborate with each other. Encourage collaboration by providing a platform for developers to share knowledge, ideas, and feedback.
Empower Developers with Automation and Tooling
Automating repetitive tasks and providing tools that make development easier can significantly improve developer productivity and satisfaction. Consider providing developers with automated testing frameworks, continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) pipelines, and other tools that streamline their workflow.
Listen to Feedback
The best way to improve Developer Experience is to listen to feedback from your developers. Encourage them to provide feedback regularly, and use this feedback to inform improvements to your products and services. This can help you build a product that truly meets the needs of your developers.
Increase your Developer Efficiency
There isn’t a universal formula for software developer efficiency. If there were, sprint cycles wouldn’t be so chaotic with the next deadline always looming like a dark cloud.
There are, however, tried and proven strategies for maximizing efficiency in software development as you can find in our full article. Consider these implementations for your next sprint planning meeting:
- Establish a timeframe for each stage of the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC)
- End each SDLC with a review
- Prioritize minimum viable product (MVP) development
- Establish the metrics for gauging efficiency
- Automate as much as possible for software developer efficiency
By implementing these strategies, teams can improve their efficiency in software development, from planning and designing to testing and releasing the product. It is also important to prioritize the customer's needs and feedback, and continuously improve the development process through after-action reviews and metrics tracking. Additionally, automating repetitive tasks and using tools like Mergify can save time and reduce errors.
Retain your Talents Thanks to a Good Developer Experience
A study found that factors such as incentives, multifaceted recruiting programs, ongoing learning opportunities, well-defined engineering career paths, and active measurement of team health are all correlated with high rates of developer velocity.
Leading companies are known for their ability to keep software talent happy and motivated. One such company, a leading telecom company, offers a wide range of skills certifications for developers, covering everything from beginner-level mobile development to machine learning. Additionally, the company has created a Developer University to provide developers with fresh learning opportunities and the chance to apply these skills in their workplace.
Best-in-class companies understand the importance of team health in terms of productivity and retention. They regularly check in on the well-being of their developer teams, for example after every one or two sprints. This can be done through surveys, whiteboard notes, and visual dashboards, which provide instant feedback that teams can use to address issues and improve processes quickly.
Additionally, comprehensive annual or biannual employee surveys provide an opportunity to delve deeper into topics such as shared vision, leadership, motivation, and incentives. This holistic approach helps to ensure that teams are healthy, motivated and productive.
Overall, if your developers are happy, they will produce better work and be more involved in their mission as the company will be involved in their development and attentive to their needs. A happy developer is a productive developer.
Developer Velocity, Synonym or Complementary Concept?
Developer velocity is a new term that companies are starting to employ, especially when they need to do more with less. Some actions are more impactful than others, and, lucky you, we made an article named ''I lost 15% of my engineering team. How to make more with less? Tips & tools to maintain your productivity'' where we talked about this, check it out! This concept and the Developer Experience are complementary because they both contribute to the overall efficiency and effectiveness of software development.
Developer velocity refers to the speed at which a development team can produce high-quality code and deliver software products. It's a measure of how quickly developers can write, test, and release software features. Teams with high developer velocity are often able to deliver software products more quickly, which can give them a competitive advantage in the market.
Developer Experience, on the other hand, refers to the overall experience that developers have while working on a software development project. It encompasses factors such as the tools and processes used, the quality of the codebase, and the support and resources available to developers. Teams that prioritize Developer Experience often have happier and more engaged developers, which can lead to increased productivity, higher quality code, and better overall outcomes.
When developer velocity and Developer Experience are both prioritized, they work together to create an environment that fosters high-quality software development. Developers are able to work more quickly and efficiently, without sacrificing the quality of their work or their overall satisfaction with the development process. This, in turn, can lead to better software products that meet the needs of customers and stakeholders, and ultimately drive business success.