PRO TALK (API): Better API DX with a CLI


Phil Nash
Twilio, Developer evangelist

Phil is a developer evangelist for Twilio and a Google Developer Expert. He's been in the web industry for 10 years building with JavaScript and Ruby. He can be found hanging out at meetups and conferences, playing with new technologies and APIs or writing open source code online. Sometimes he makes his own beer, but he's more likely to be found discovering new ones around the world.

Phil tweets at @philnash and you can find him elsewhere online at https://philna.sh.


When you try to improve the experience for using your API you might consider a command line interface. CLIs allow developers to explore the API, automate API usage, and most importantly never leave the keyboard. If you have an OpenAPI spec you can even generate a CLI automatically. But replicating the API for the command line is the baseline, CLIs have so much more potential. In this talk we'll discuss how Twilio built a CLI for our API and the opportunities it gave us to improve the developer experience of working with the API. With the Twilio CLI we enhanced API endpoints with extra features, helped to demystify webhooks, and let the community create their own plugins to supercharge their experience. When done right, an API and a CLI are worth more than the sum of their parts.