Kin Developer Report – March 2021

Written by: Chase Barker

Guest Post || Technical Program Director at Kik Interactive Inc.

March 23, 2021

Welcome back, developers! Let’s start with a short recap to get everyone up-to-date. It’s been quite a busy month for both Kik Engineering and the Kin Foundation as each continues to push forward on their key initiatives. Kik’s main focus is their Technical Roadmap published earlier this month. The ultimate goal here is to clean up the SDKs and improve tooling to get them in a place where they can easily be handed over and maintained by the Kin Foundation alongside the open-source developer community. The Kin Foundation is continuing their focus on growing the Kin Ecosystem and attracting developers to innovate with Kin. As mentioned in the last Kin Developer Report, one of the earlier initiatives was the “Listening Tour” which aimed to listen and understand the pain points of the past so that they can continue to iterate and improve. More on this in the following sections.

Welcome Aboard, Will!

Before we dive in I’d like to give a huge congratulations to Will Gikandi who was recently named CTO of the Kin Foundation. You can read more about that here. I’ve personally been working with Will for a couple of years, as he’s been one of our greatest technical advocates in the developer community. We’ve shared code, built together, created tutorials together and just generally had a great relationship sharing ideas. He’s passionate about the Kin Ecosystem and I have no doubt that he’ll help raise this project to new heights!

Developer Experience

One of the important features of a developer ecosystem is the “Developer Experience”. The ultimate goal is for any developer to have an entry point into onboarding, and be able to go from beginning to end without being bogged down with too many questions. It should be simple, clear, seamless and as automated as possible. This is a very high bar to reach, but it is possible. In order to do this we need to start somewhere. That “somewhere” starts with mapping out the current state “Developer Journey”. Key questions include:

  • Where did they find out about Kin?
  • How did they find out about Kin?
  • Where did they go for more information about joining?
  • Can they easily navigate to find the right resources?
  • How was their experience?
  • Was it clear?
  • Was it easy?
  • How can we can improve their experience

These are the elements we’ve been mapping out with the ultimate goal of taking us from our current state, to the optimal future state of the journey. Beyond that it’s important that those developers that join the ecosystem feel welcome, heard and hopefully become advocates for Kin, bringing even more developers into the ecosystem. In order to do this we had to start from the beginning, and start to understand the challenges so that we can improve their journey into the Kin Ecosystem. We feel like we’re making progress and over the next month we should see some great improvements to this journey via the Developers section of the website (with more improvements to come in the near future).

Bounties

As the Kin Foundation continues to listen to our developers, it’s becoming increasingly clear that there are quite a few gaps in our tooling, such as the need for an updated Unity SDK that works on Solana. Filling these gaps will result in opening up our ecosystem to a larger number of developers. This has prompted the Kin Foundation to set up a new Bounty Program that will serve as a place for anyone to recommend that specific tooling be built, and developers have the option to bid on them by requesting a grant. It’s important that we continue to grow and decentralize our developer ecosystem, similar to that of Ethereum or Solana, where the majority of the tools being built are being done so by the developer community. Soon we’ll be sending out a short survey to our Developers to ask them what tools they’d like to see built, and we’ve also created a Bounty Idea Submission Form on the website for anyone in the community to submit a bounty idea.

Tutorials

To continue further with decentralizing the developer ecosystem, there is now a call to action for all developers in the community. As mentioned in the last report, we have a group of developers actively working on written and video tutorials for our SDKs. One example is the GO SDK Tutorial. We welcome any developer who would like to participate in the creation of these tutorials to reach out to us at info@kin.org with the subject “Developer Tutorials”. 

A New Home for Swelly

As many in our community know, Swelly was the very first partner for Kin. They rose to fame as one of the top Kik bots and eventually built out their own stand-alone app. They reached millions of users, and allowed strangers across the world to connect and share their feedback with their “this or that” style app. Kin was a great addition to that, and helped increase engagement. Over the years we’ve continued our relationship, but the time for change has come. The Swelly team has decided to move on to building new user experiences for the Kin Ecosystem, and we’re here to support them! With that said, Swelly is looking for a new home. They are looking for a person (or team) to take over their app, and all their users. If that person is you, please reach out to us at info@kin.org.

But Wait, There’s More

The Kin Foundation has been working hard on enabling more building blocks that will allow the project to grow, but some of this work may not be visible yet to our community. We’re excited to share that new apps will be coming to the Kin Ecosystem… soon!

If you’re eager to contribute please don’t hesitate to join us in our Kin Developer Discord and start engaging with us!

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Cheers!