Enhancing The Kin Developer Journey

Written by: Joshua Maddox

Father, coder, and marketer. Developer Advocacy for Kin Foundation by day and MarTech and blockchain experiments at Cinderhouse by night.

August 23, 2021

Improvements Towards an Intuitive Developer Experience

The Kin Foundation is now beginning to transform Kin’s documentation into a clear, predictable, and world-class developer experience.

Spoiler alert. This first release focuses on making our developer properties, SDKs, tutorials, starter kits, and portal easier to find and navigate via a clear on-brand one page interface. To jump right into it, here is the new landing page.

What’s driving these changes?

You sit down, excited to start developing that next-gen crypto-supported app experience everyone is going to be talking about and then … oof … you find yourself knee deep in docs’ disarray.

Too often in crypto, that’s where developer dreams stall. 

Complexity, unclear vocabulary, circular references, incomplete or outdated examples, and so much tooling that you can’t tell whether those errors laughing at you from the terminal belong to you or some issue caused by that long list of dependencies you’ve never heard of. 

It’s frustrating and causes a lot of great developers to quit. We’ve all been through it, admittedly, even in our own docs, despite us being one of the most approachable developer experiences in crypto. 

With inclusion and mass adoption in mind, we’re revamping the Kin Ecosystem’s developer experience to ensure that anyone with basic programming abilities — even if lacking blockchain or cryptocurrency competencies — will be able to pop in over a weekend and walk away having meaningfully integrated Kin into a project.  

Whilst you can absolutely do that today by using one of the community driven guides, starter kits, examples, or SDKs on kintegrate.dev or by using the supported docs on docs.kin.org, there are a sufficient number of bumps, jumps, or gotchas so as to make the total experience feel less than silky smooth.

Today, we begin the process of making regular stepped improvements under a clear set of principles that will unify the Kin developer experience, improve communication with ecosystem developers and product leads, and meet our developer team’s mandate of being the easiest path to building compelling app experiences with cryptocurrency.

Developer Advocacy Guiding Principles

First, let’s step back for a minute, and enumerate our beliefs about what’s driving these improvements.

Quality developer experiences are built on clear principles that guide Developer Advocacy teams and keep them from building haphazard piecemeal implementations based on little more than guesses as to what community members will want or need. 

Setting guiding principles aligns internal teams, makes it easier to spot problems, and provides the whole community a basis of shared language, which, in turn, makes it easier to offer clear feedback when the developer experience has problems.  

Here are the principles Kin’s Developer Relations team will be executing from.

Reduce Scope and Complexity

Focus on the critical paths, do those well, obsessively, and in as few steps as possible. 

Offer Clarity

Give terse and tested real-world examples that build off each other and lead to quick wins for developers and product owners. 

Ensure Predictability

Communicate and ship documentation and version changes on a clear cadence that leaves little room for surprises and guesses as to what the core development team is working on.

Be Transparent 

Don’t hide missteps, mistakes or flaws. We’ll make them, we have them, and only through transparency can we, as a community, work together to fix them.

Promote Community and Shared Ownership 

No community driven project can win alone. We’ll own problems and solutions together while promoting and celebrating individual and community wins and knowledge. 

Don’t Over Promise

It’s easy to make promises, it’s harder to consistently keep them. We’ll make bite-sized, calculated, and achievable promises that lead to implementations that ship on time.

What’s Next? 

Releases, if done correctly, will require community feedback, involvement, support, and testing. However, there are some clear ‘no-brainers’ that will allow us to run while we talk and plan. 

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be doing more in the area of unifying and improving the documentation. Additionally, we’ll be setting up analytics so as to better understand the Developer Experience and Journey. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, you can explore this new page, get signed up to the developer portal and discord channel, and start integrating Kin into your project.

Let us know where the bumpy patches are and any feedback you may have.The more we’re actively planning and owning improvements together, the better the entire Kin developer experience will be. 

About Kin

Kin is a decentralized cryptocurrency purposely designed to integrate easily across Mobile and Web Apps, with a built-in incentive model that rewards developers for increased usage. Apps built with Kin get paid for creating compelling cryptocurrency-based user experiences, where greater engagement results in shared economic benefits for users and developers. Today, the Kin Ecosystem boasts 60 million wallets, and has distributed over $70M in rewards across 60+ apps since its inception in 2017. Kin is an SPL token on the Solana blockchain, enabling consumer-scale apps to transact swiftly, with minimal-to-no fees. Learn more at Kin.org.

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