Research plan: API onboarding process — common elements

This small research will focus on the API onboarding process. Taking API into use is always learning experience for the application developer. It’s a process which most likely can be modelled much like customer journey. This research will not try to catch the whole API consuming process which starts from taking API into use for the first time to “abandoning” of the API. We’ll focus on the part in the beginning until the first usage of the API in own code and following steps after that. Heavy consuming of APIs and problem solving related to that is excluded from this research. Somewhat related to this APIOps post “Understand your API customer — why you should embrace early adopters

I’m looking for other researchers to join me in this effort.

Responsible researchers in this onboarding process research are:

Assisting people (spreading word and doing other practical tasks):

  • Your name here?

Research questions

  • How developers start to find APIs? What methods they use?
  • What are the paths API consumers’ take when taking APIs into use? What kind of steps they share and where they differ?
  • What kind of role API management could/should have?
  • Based on what criteria developers’ choose API over another?
  • What kind of service/support developers want after they have taken API into use for the first time?


We have initial timetable for the research. Timing of the phases might change.

  • We aim to do all interviews during Aug-Sept 2017. Length of this phase depends on the interviews.
  • Analyse results by end of Oct 2017
  • Publish first results in Nov 2017.
  • Finalise the article for academic journal by end of Dec 2017.

Data collection

  • Application developers who use APIs are interviewed. Invitation letter in here. Interview questions in here.
  • Interviews will be conducted with semistructured set of questions. In addition developers are allowed to draw their onboarding process.
  • Interviews are continued until saturation is found strong enough.
  • APIOps community is used to find participants to research. It’s a growing API tech community with hundreds of devs. Membes can be reached via group pages.

Analysis and comparison

The interviews are analysed and common elements are identified. Based on the findings a common process is modeled. Results will be anonymized to preserve participants’ privacy. The findings are compared to previous research results on customer paths.


Preliminary results will be published in this blog, presented and discussed at APIOps meetup (broadcasted to Youtube) and finally published after polishing in academic journal (not selected yet).

This time we decided to write directly to article format. We’ll use Overleaf for coauthoring. We offer public view (read only) to article

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