In June 2009, I started working for FreshBooks — an online billing service based here in Toronto. My official job title is Team Lead, API & Integrations, but in FreshBooks tradition I'll probably come up with something more clever sounding eventually. When I started, I was mostly doing bug fixes and enhancements> to the API, but my role has become a little higher level now and my focus has shifted to building the platform in general, as well as the community of developers who are using it to add value for our customers.
So the way I see it, there are two facets to my job: platform development (coding) and community development (evangelism, support). On the technical side, this involves building things like our recently announced webhooks implementation, and helping make decisions about the direction of our API. Because we don't want to waste our time inventing Beautiful Fucking Snowflakes, it also involves keeping an eye on developments in various open web communities, and deciding what standards, specifications and ideas can be usefully implemented at FreshBooks. On the community side, things are decidedly less clear to me. I have some thoughts (open source example projects, better library support, more forums for developers to talk, etc) but I'm mostly interested in hearing from others. What do you look for from service providers that have an API? What do you wish that companies would do to help and encourage developers working with their products? What companies do this particularly well, and why? I have some ideas of my own, but I'm really interested in what other people think. You can comment here or hit me up at paul at freshbooks dot com.