XD Dev Days: Kickstarting the XD Plugin Ecosystem

Ash Ryan Arnwine
Sep 5, 2018 · 5 min read
XD Dev Days helped many of our beta program developers build their first XD plugins

For Creative Cloud developers and Adobe Tech Blog readers, at this point it’s no secret that Adobe is on a mission to turn Adobe XD into an extensible platform:

The New Adobe XD Ecosystem: Supercharging Design Workflows with Third-Party Plugins

For the many teams at Adobe contributing to the launch of Adobe XD plugin APIs, starting up a new developer ecosystem is a rare privilege and a fascinating challenge to undertake. So much goes into the process that we could never cover it all in a single blog post.

However, last month we held a private event called XD Dev Days that nicely encapsulated the excitement, urgency, and investment that’s behind the preparations for the launch of the Adobe XD Platform.

While XD Dev Days was a private event for a small group of early developers, there’ll be plenty of similar opportunities to get together, build integrations, and share feedback into 2019 and beyond. We want to enable you to build your own XD plugin, and we’re working as fast as we can to get there.

In the meantime, read on to see what we did at XD Dev Days and how you can get involved when the APIs launch.

XD Dev Days

Since our first announcement in April, we’ve been working with a carefully selected and steadily growing group of developers in a private beta. Private betas are an important part of any API launch, since they allow for asynchronous interaction and feedback between the platform provider and third-party developers.

Since many of our early plugin developers are working towards a common launch deadline, we thought that, in addition to the beta, some of them might appreciate sitting in a room with Adobe staff and working on their products together.

So we dreamed up XD Dev Days: a private three-day event devoted to building distribution-ready plugins for Adobe XD.

XD Dev Days was hosted at Adobe’s San Francisco offices in early August for 50+ developers from around the world, as well as a number of remote attendees, representing over 20 companies — all excited about enhancing the future of design work through XD plugins.

A deep dive into XD plugin APIs

XD Dev Days kicked off with a few quick talks focused on orienting our developer guests. Then we got out of the way to let them build their plugins.

“It was exciting to get new beta build of XD to kick off the event,” said Irina Petrova of Astute Graphics. “That gave me three days to bounce ideas off of other developers, learn directly from Adobe staff, and get inspiration for solving certain problems.”

Over the course of the three days, Adobe teams offered on-deck support from our designers and engineers, as well as a few special sessions on debugging, open source, community, go-to-market, and more.

A few of our community developers dialed in for the sessions. “Even attending remote, I could feel the energy,” wrote Alex Tasevski, creator of UI Faces.

“Developers were eager to explore the possibilities with XD’s new API,” Alex added. “While people had their own projects to work on, everyone was willing to help each other, even days after the event was over.”

Committing to the developer experience

UXP Lead Engineer Alexandru Chiculita helping developers with the APIs

Of course, the Adobe teams present learned a ton from being in the room with developers as they built their plugins. We asked for feedback on our APIs, documentation, and basically anything else the developers had on their minds.

Product Lead Ari Fuchs leading a chat about the API feature roadmap

“Getting feedback is critical,” said Developer Advocate Kerri Shotts. “Being right there in the middle of everything ensured that we saw the the same things, and it was much easier to translate that into roadmap decisions.”

Courtney George, design lead for the developer ecosystem, joined XD Dev Days to test out plans for plugin publishing workflows. “The event was a great way to establish relationships with developers who are passionate about building on our platform,” said Courtney. “They provided feedback that we’ll be able to incorporate into the final product.”

Thanks to all of the feedback and contributions we’re getting from the early developer community, we’re in a great place to provide developers around the world with everything they need to build XD plugins.

XD plugin demos

At the end of the second day, we had some time for on-stage demos and were treated to early looks at a whole host of plugins that, when launch time comes around, we think XD users are going to love.

Feedback from developers on the APIs and XD Dev Days was positive ☆

“We’re working with some of the best creative developers in the world, and the demos we saw after just two days underscored that,” shared Drew Endick, partnerships manager for the CC developer ecosystem. “We can’t wait to see the final products that launch for designers using XD.”

Get ready to build your own XD plugin

The launch of XD plugin APIs is coming very soon. With our announcement last week unveiling our launch partners, excitement is growing for developers and users alike.

If you’re ready to exercise your JavaScript skills to enhance the future of design work, sign up to learn when the Adobe XD plugin APIs go live!

For more stories like this, subscribe to our Creative Cloud Developer Newsletter.

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