Sendcloud ships better APIs with Optic

↗️ Improved API Design | ↗️ Faster API Development | ↘️ Fewer Breaking Changes

"To deliver a high quality API we need to be working API-first, and keeping track of the promises we have made to consumers. API-first has always been hard, Optic is the first tool we have found that makes it easy to quickly build and safety extend our APIs."

Kostas Petrakis
Lead API Engineer

This case study is based on an interview with Kostas Petrakis, lead API developer at Sendcloud.

What is Sendcloud?

Sendcloud provides some of the largest e-commerce destinations on the internet with a powerful API to manage shipping and logistics. Their success in their market is heavily dependent on the quality of its APIs. The company was founded to improve the experience of shipping products to customers and reduce time to market for merchants through better APIs.

What problems did Optic help solve?

Developing a complex API at a fast-paced company, with a growing team, poses several new challenges. New APIs were being built quickly, but lacked internal consistency and were not always built to work with the other services.

Optic helped us standardize how we develop APIs and align teams across our engineering company organization, without slowing them down with too much process/planning. We’re still working fast, and with a lot of autonomy, but the APIs we ship are more consistent and better for our customers.

What has the effect of Optic been on your engineering teams? On the business?

One of the most significant benefits that came with the adoption of optic was improved collaboration and communications among our teams. Optic helped everyone better understand the importance of API design, not only for our customers, but for our internal services.

We also are seeing a big reduction in the time required for reviewing our API changes. Optic prevents us from making backwards incompatible changes and ensures that new APIs follow our API standards. Reviewing those API changes manually created a huge bottleneck and forced us to choose between quality and velocity. With Optic, we can choose both. Optic gives developers feedback during the early stages of our development process so we always ship the best API we can. With Optic, our API ecosystem gets a little better every day.

What other solutions did Sendcloud try?

After trying various competing solutions, we found that Optic stands out because they really took the time to understand how backend teams work, and how to effectively change their behavior without slowing them down. The team at Optic is dedicated to building a great product and always listens to the customer. Working with optic to discuss API topics and solve complex problems feels like a collaborative effort rather than just a business transaction.

A lot of API Leaders are probably where you were a year ago, what advice would you give them?

Make the investment to document your most important APIs so you know where you stand and can make it easier for teams to collaborate. Then establish some guidelines for what a high-quality API looks like for your company and your customers. Know what you have, decide what good looks like. Optic can help you get a little closer to that definition of good every week — that kind of incremental improvement adds up fast.

And don’t consider the requirements of your consumers. Simply creating aesthetically pleasing API won’t necessarily ensure that they meet the needs of the customers. Talk to a few key customers monthly and make sure their needs drive a lot of your decisions.

Want to ship a better API?

Optic makes it easy to publish accurate API docs, avoid breaking changes, and improve the design of your APIs.

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