Box Focusing on the Developer Experience

Box, the enterprise content management (ECM) and collaboration platform provider, has launched a new developer Web site featuring an updated set of reference documents, quick-start guides, tutorials and sample code. Dubbed "The Box Developer Experience," the site also hosts a new developer community forum and "office hours" for hands-on support from Box experts and other developers building on the Box platform.

Box has courted developers before, but the 11-year-old company is using the new Web site to ramp up its developer community support and outreach.

"We have known for a while that we could no grow our developer community with a top-down approach," said Jeetu Patel, Box's chief strategy officer and VP of the Platform group. "We are not just serving the head of app development or the chief digital officer. We are serving the developer, and frankly, it's the developer who matters most when it comes to getting traction in the market. Just as we were kind of obsessed with providing users with a consumer-grade experience, we are similarly obsessed with making sure that the developer is getting the most amount of value from us."

In addition to the new community forum hosted on the site, Box is monitoring communities such as Stack Overflow to make sure questions about its platform get answered, Patel said. The company already provides a wide range of SDKs for everything from Java to .NET -- even Salesforce. The Box App Gallery showcases partner integrations with the platform. And the company has begun providing sample applications that address use cases common with its customer base.

The introduction of the Web site and its current content is Phase I of Box's new focus on improving the experience of developers working with its platform, Patel said. In the near future, the company expects to add interactive documentation that allows devs to make an API call from within the documentation, a new developer console, and more sample apps and SDKs.

"People are now thinking about Box, not just as a mechanism for interacting with the content of the Box platform, but the content of any app," Patel said. "We are doing everything we can to remove the friction from the customer so that developers can build an application as fast as possible, while still making sure that enterprise requirements are addressed. We want to make this a completely fluid process for the developer."

There are currently about 75,000 developers in the Box ecosystem, Patel told ADTmag, up from 50,000 in 2015. The platform gets approximately 12 billion API calls each month, he said, 50 percent of which are from third-party apps.

There's no charge to sign up for an account on the new Developer Experience site, and Box is practically begging for feedback through the forum and on Twitter (@BoxHQ).

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].