Superface: the AI way to generate integrations

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A robot codingIf you’re not yet using AI tools in your DevRel work then it’s probably only a matter of time before you start. Outside the big names, such as ChatGPT and GitHub Copilot, a raft of specialised tools aimed at solving DevRel and developer experience problems are appearing.

One of those is Superface. With their HQ in Prague, the Superface team aim to simplify the experience of creating integrations. The tool works by consuming the human readable documentation for an API or other service. Then, using a large language model approach, Superface creates what is effectively an SDK tailored precisely to your needs.

Martyn Davies, one of the original DevRel team at Sengrid, heads up developer relations for Superface. Here’s how Martyn describes what Superface is all about:

“Superface is about abstracting APIs into the business use cases that they serve. The idea is to let developers focus on the problem they need to solve without necessarily having to think too much about how to get that from the API they’re working with.”

Superface is spearheading a move towards self-integrating applications. But what’s it like to work with and how is relevant to DevRel teams?

Describing APIs with Comlink

Setting up a new integration centres on the Superface CLI tool and has a three step process:

  1. Ingest the docs of the API you want to use.
  2. Use plain English to tell Superface what you want to achieve (e.g. “send an email”).
  3. Superface creates a map of the use case to the API, using the tool’s Comlink abstraction language.
  4. Then Superface generates the code for you to use in your codebase.

Here’s Martyn demonstrating it in a video:

That intermediate step of generating a Comlink description makes it easier to then tune the integration to your particular needs, as Martyn says:

“The idea behind Comlink is to focus on the what rather than the how. It’s a declarative language for describing what an API integration does rather than getting into the implementation detail. Unlike an OpenAPI spec, which describe the full scope of an API, Comlink is focused on what you specifically want to do with an API.”

The idea isn’t to replace the SDKs created by developer experience engineers but, instead, to step in where:

  • there is no SDK
  • you need to hone in on a particular use case, rather than the full scope of a general SDK
  • uou need an abstraction layer between multiple providers, allowing you to switch between different vendors for the same use case whilst maintaining the same developer experience.

So far, this all sounds good from the perspective of developers who use APIs. But what about DevRel and DX teams?

Using Superface in DevRel

Having just launched, the Superface team is at the beginning of a journey exploring how their tool can support developer relations teams. And that’s why they’re sponsoring DevRelCon London 2023.

“There are a few obvious ways that we can work with DevRel and developer experience teams. For early stage companies, Superface offers a more efficient way to build and maintain SDKs. At those companies, developer experience is often a key part of helping to spread awareness and adoption, but it also takes considerable investment. Beyond that, we want to talk to DevRel teams about how they see Superface supporting their work.”

Check out Superface via their website or meet Martyn in person at DevRelCon London in September.

 

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