This weblog is a collaboration between lead writer Quinn Snyder, Developer Advocate, Cisco DevRel and Ravi Balakrishnan, Senior Advertising Supervisor.
Throughout the Developer Relations ecosystem, a whole lot of focus (each by way of creation, in addition to dialogue with others) is on the content material that permits individuals to discover and develop their expertise. Naturally, this tilts outreach (and blogs like these) in direction of our wonderful sandboxes and thorough studying labs. It is usually utterly comprehensible why we might bias ourselves in direction of these modalities; we’re technical individuals, and we like to be taught and educate individuals by hands-on exploration, whether or not its guided or self-paced. “See it, be taught it, code it” has served the group very nicely and it’s one thing we’re happy with.
Nonetheless, we wish to write this weblog rounding out the entire portfolio of labor that helps our infrastructure builders and automation engineers, when the sandboxes and studying labs don’t present all of the solutions to the questions they’ve.
The Developer Facilities
The Developer Facilities (or DevCenters) for brief serve a single supply touchdown web page for all issues programmability associated to a product or software. From updates to product APIs, bulletins from the enterprise entity supporting that product, webinars and how-to, and documentation pages – every little thing wanted by an infrastructure developer could be discovered right here.
As a part of our dedication to developer expertise, these Decenter are stored updated with any newest info or adjustments to the APIs to make sure that everybody has entry to the related content material they want, after they want it. We’ve got DevCenters for knowledge heart applied sciences, comparable to ACI, NX-OS, Nexus Dashboard. We even have particular DevCenters for Infrastructure as Code, together with one particularly for cloud networking, in addition to for every IaC software supported inside the DevNet ecosystem, Ansible and Terraform. There’s a ton of knowledge that may be gleaned simply from these assets – however that is just the start.
We’ve got touched on this in earlier weblog posts, however nonetheless wish to dive a bit deeper into how we’re bettering our API documentation, offering for a greater developer expertise. Each API-enabled product (and the cloud networking product traces are not any exception) has an API documentation microsite. This microsite (an instance for ACI is proven beneath) accommodates not solely the API information, however background and context concerning the APIs and their design rules, mannequin references (the place acceptable), and hyperlinks to exterior pages, comparable to IaC modules/suppliers, sandboxes that can be utilized to discover the APIs, studying labs, and developer group help boards for questions which will come up throughout API exploration. These documentation pages additionally help a number of variations of the API – which means that whatever the model you might be working – you’ll find an API reference for it on our portal.
Whereas these pages might not be as visually “flashy” as our DevCenters, they comprise a wealth of knowledge and supply plenty of exterior hyperlinks to different helpful instruments. A few of our hottest documentation pages embody:
However proceed to examine again, particularly as new services or products are launched. If it exists – you could be positive we’ve API documentation for it!
The CiscoDevNet GitHub Group
Whereas not instantly hosted on our personal web site, a lot of our hyperlinks (particularly to assets for Ansible and Terraform) redirect to our Github group for that particular repository. As a result of we wish to follow the rules that we educate to our prospects and companions, our GitHub group is the only supply for all code samples, third celebration IaC assets, and pattern initiatives inside DevRel. These public-facing repositories could be forked to your personal group, modified, or improved upon, and submitted for merge into the primary upstream department through a pull request (PR). To high it off, it’s not solely DevRel advocates and engineers inside these repositories, however members of the technical gross sales, engineering, and product administration groups – enabling you to have unfettered entry to the groups which can be creating automation and programmability options.
The opposite added benefit of utilizing our GitHub group is that it permits us to make use of the “Points” web page as a reference for the changelog of our infrastructure as code assets. Whereas TAC does help the assets, it’s attainable to interact with our builders to work by enhancements or bugs inside Ansible modules or Terraform suppliers with out opening a direct service request with TAC. These points will likely be aggregated, fastened, and talked about as a part of a given launch of the useful resource and the barrier to opening a difficulty is extremely low – showcasing how utilizing a VCS like GitHub can show invaluable to a developer’s workflow.
Our present listing of IaC assets on GitHub are:
However once more – maintain checking – as we’re always including particular actions to these assets, in addition to including new assets on a regular basis!
Code Change and Automation Change
One closing (and infrequently ignored) element inside the DevNet web site is the Code Change and Automation Change platforms. Every of those platforms assist you to seek for curated content material related to your wants and use-case, every with a special bent: Code Change (CE) focuses on easy code samples that can be utilized as a place to begin for creating a bigger answer, whereas Automation Change (AE) focuses on driving a single use-case by to its automated completion. Each CE and AE assist builders, each novice and skilled alike, get began on a challenge by utilizing different prior work as a supply of inspiration or a constructing block for additional duties. I do know that I’ve been impressed on a number of events to create one thing utilizing another person’s work as a place to begin (with correct attribution to the unique developer, after all). You will discover Code Change and Automation Change by clicking on the embedded hyperlinks of their names.
Placing It All Collectively
From the listing above, you may see that there’s greater than the spectacular studying and sandbox content material that we create inside DevRel. Every thing that we do is supposed to drive up the developer expertise, decrease the mean-time-to-API-call (MTTAC, one thing I simply made up), and be certain that our cloud networking infrastructure builders are supported at each step of their journey and in each method attainable.
We’d love to listen to about your experiences utilizing any of the DevRel assets, not simply those listed above. Good, dangerous, detached, or in any other case – we’re right here for all of it. You will discover Quinn on Twitter @qsnyder or on LinkedIn and we’d like to have a dialog about what’s working for you, what isn’t, or how we will enhance to drive one of the best developer expertise attainable.