What's your API's "Time To 200"?

by @edent | , | 3 comments | Read ~11,172 times.

M'colleague Charles has introduced me to the most spectacular phrase - "Time To 200". That's a measurement of the length of time it takes a new user to go from signing up to your API to getting their first HTTP 200 response.

Think about the last time you started using a new API...

  • Fill in a tediously long registration form
  • Set up billing in case you go over the free trial limits
  • Wait for a confirmation email
  • Unsubscribe from all the marketing emails
  • Find the quickstart documentation
  • Realise it is outdated and consider raising an issue on the GitHub issues graveyard
  • Generate an API key and configure all its scopes
  • Install a 3rd party NPM library and a gigabyte of required packages
  • Work out how to authenticate the request - hard given the tutorial uses V1.3.4 and you're on V1.
  • Send the first request, and realise that you had to manually add your IP address to the allow-list
  • Try again, but realise you need to sign the request with a unique timestamp
  • Receive an HTTP 429 error for sending too many requests
  • Have a pint
  • Try again, get an HTTP 200! Success! You're a real developer now!

The above is only a minor exaggeration. Every time I sign up to play with a new API, I'm grimly aware of my own mortality. Every minute I waste doing battle with your incomplete documentation and dreadful attitude to new users, is a minute I could spend doing something more fun instead.

Please, I beg of you, optimise your Time To 200!

3 thoughts on “What's your API's "Time To 200"?

  1. Time to 200 is the API product equivalent of the “aha moment”.

    Every now and then it’s good to revisit how many hoops you’re making users jump through to get there.


  2. shkspr.mobi/blog/2021/05/w…

    This should be required reading for anyone working at a company that involves APIs.

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