Platform engineering can deliver a host of benefits, from greater engineering efficiency to a superior developer experience. We’re diving into the developer experience element of platform engineering today, so if you want happier devs, read on!
How can platform engineering impact developer experience?
We’re assuming you have a basic knowledge of platform engineering and how it works (head over here first, if not). Essentially, it involves creating an internal developer platform that serves as a centralised, self-service resource for toolchains, processes, versioned and containerised artefacts, workflows and the like.
Certain vital elements enable such a platform to optimise the developer experience. The first is that platform engineering is a consultative and collaborative process. The platform team isn’t there to impose a new working regime on already overloaded developers—quite the opposite. The idea is to consult with developers to understand their tools and technologies and then build the platform around the very best of these.
The self-service element of platform engineering is also important. Building golden paths that developers can access whenever they need to – well-defined, opinionated, task-specific and supported paths to creating applications – means putting greater efficiency into their hands. Self-service means that it does so while delivering the independence to innovate.
Standardisation and automation can also impact the developer experience positively regarding platform engineering. This approach doesn’t mean there’s no room for innovation. Instead, it means that specific processes and procedures are taken care of by default, allowing developers to focus their headspace more attentively on the product or task they are trying to build or complete.
These elements – consultation, collaboration, self-service, standardisation and automation – significantly impact the developer experience. They can lead to increased productivity, reduced friction and improved satisfaction while underpinning a culture of creativity and innovation. What business wouldn’t want that?
Best practices for creating developer-centric platforms
If you’re ready to empower your software teams by creating a developer-centric platform that wins hearts and minds, there are some critical best practices to incorporate into your approach.
Essential to a successful platform strategy is treating your platform as a product. The platform engineering team’s role is to create and evolve this product centred around customers’ needs – the customers being the developers who will be using the platform.
As mentioned above, a consultative and collaborative approach is non-negotiable if an optimised developer experience is your goal.
Taking a long-term view of your internal developer platform is also essential. It’s not a question of setting up the platform and forgetting about it. At least, not if you want to deliver a truly optimised experience for your devs. Doing so involves the continual evolution of the platform. Just as you would evolve and refine products for external customers, it’s essential to do the same for your developers. Building the initial platform is only the first step of your journey.
Delivering a good user experience is another element of maximising your platform’s value to developers. An intuitive, easy-to-use platform should make it easy for developers to discover and provision their needs and crack on with implementing them. This supports agile and flexible working across development teams, enabling different internal teams to collaborate and deliver solutions quickly.
How Tyk helps deliver your platform strategy
APIs can serve as the glue that holds a platform’s different elements together, enabling the provisioning of resources elastically. With Tyk underpinning your API experiences, you have mission control with centralised operations. Installation is effortless, with Tyk reducing complexity and supporting reliable ongoing performance as you add new services.
If you’re serious about optimising your developer experience with platform engineering, it’s time to learn more about how Tyk can operationalise your platform strategy.