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DX as a competitive advantage—Directual’s take on UX vs. DX

The tides are shifting. First, it was the users’ whim that decided what comes forth and what doesn’t. Now, it’s developers who get that privilege. Learn more about DX and UX in this short article.

UX used to be the big deal for grabbing market share. Now, the scene's changing. Three trends—the value chain getting split up, more API-based business, and growing protocol importance—are shaking things up. In the next decade, it's going to be all about DX.


Well, UX was all about fighting for user attention through fancy interfaces. For 20 years, it was all about making things user-friendly. DX is gearing up to be the main arena, with a focus on luring developers through APIs. Sure, DX mattered before, but it wasn't all that important. It was more about keeping your business ahead, not building it from scratch.

Now, we're looking at a new breed of companies, the developer-led platforms. They're not just using developers to add bells and whistles to existing products. These guys are making DX the cornerstone of their strategy.

DX, UX, and all that jazz

We're shifting from developer-extended platforms to developer-led ones. What's that mean? Before, developers just added to what already existed. Now, they're the ones driving the whole thing. 

Differences between UX and DX

DX, short for developer experience, is about how painless (or painful) it is for developers to work with software, especially APIs. This isn't about math (mod X) or just any digital experience. It's specific to how developers interact with software: build, test, start, and debug stages. 

Microsoft says DX is how easy or tough it is to make changes to software. NGINX focuses on the feelings developers have while using an API, highlighting infrastructure, tools, processes, and support as something you can’t really live without.

UX, or user experience, involves every aspect of an end-user’s interaction with a company and its products. It encompasses the UI, backend performance, and marketing stuff. 

So, technically speaking…

DX is a subset of UX, but with its own quirks. Developers need more reliability and have higher standards (like needing near-perfect uptime). For instance, in designing APIs, developers are your end-users. Thus, UX and DX overlap a lot.

The shift towards DX

In developer-extended platforms, winning over consumers is key. You need a solid product first, which then gets boosted by developers. Once this cycle starts, it's hard for latecomers to catch up. Take R.I.M. with their Blackberry App Store. They tried to play catch-up by paying developers, but it was too late. The top developers were already hooked on platforms like iOS and Android with massive user bases.

Developer-led platforms flip the script. They start with killer DX, pulling in developers first, who then create the stuff consumers want.

Why now? 

Everything's going digital, including business interfaces. We're living in a world where developer skills are gold, thanks to APIs exploding everywhere and protocols taking over. In the early 2000s, tech startups jumped on the cloud bandwagon, offering services that directly interacted with consumers. It was just better than anything else available, really.

App developers were in a rat race for this limited attention. The big winners were those who mastered the art of capturing and holding user attention. Developers who couldn't generate attention from scratch naturally gravitated towards platforms where attention was already concentrated.

Developer commitment is the new scarcity. 

Here’s how developer-led platforms hook them in:

  • Launch a toolset with kick-ass DX
  • Get developer interest to create value for consumers
  • As developers add new features, consumers get interested
  • …profit!

Basically, APIs are now the channels that let skills and services flow freely beyond a company's walls. This creates a massive chance to mix and match different APIs to innovate.

Take Lyft as an example. They're all about ride-hailing, but they rely on Google Maps for navigation, Stripe for payments, and Twilio for communication. This blending of specialized services is making developers even more in demand.

In another example, EasyPost is doing exactly this. They're connecting all sorts of shipping and logistics processes with eCommerce retailers and others, making one unified API hub.

Embracing DX at Directual

We’ve been going at it before it even started to surface. Not tooting our own here, honest! 

Directual has always been a community-led platform. Take our own roadmap—you can vote for features and make sure the Directual team priotizes the features other developers need first and foremost. That’s DX.

The platform, as you see it today, is a direct (hehe) result of the community voicing what it needs most at a given time. It’s a rare occasion where a company pays so much attention to what other developers would want to happen. Get more developers, get more users, get more business, everyone wins.

The same goes to developer support. In some cases, developers would beg for years to have a problem resolved, or try and get some answers to their questions, and get nothing. When that happens, they leave and go elsewhere. There are only so many times you can ask for API support or an improvement to the infrastructure before it becomes a waste of time.

Take a good stock of our case studies to see how it’s done. Let me provide some quotes:

It's great that the team is accommodating toward our needs anyway. I reached out to Pavel to talk about it, and he immediately made sure we have it. A direct line of communication with the platform architects is truly fantastic. – Adel Kadyrov, Kale Coach
Having a direct lifeline with the platform creators helps to address issues or difficult questions. I can’t stress this enough. The community is amazing, and it’s amazing when you can just ask a question and have people help you unravel a difficult situation there and then. – Mikhail Mikhailov, EVIDPO

And many more say the same. See for yourself.

One more thing that empowers developers to create more is AI, of course it is. Thanks to D-GPT, even the beginner devs can start journey with just a text prompt while Directual takes care of everything else. 
If it’s easy to create, the platform flourishes. That means more customers, more business, more complexity, more of the good stuff, really. 

What does it all mean for you?

Your skills are becoming more valuable, not because you're getting better, but because the industry is shifting towards your field. DX is becoming a key competitive edge.

In industries everywhere, a few companies will emerge as integrators, and they'll be the ones snatching up developer commitment. Since this commitment is now the real thing for both revenue and staying ahead of the competition, those working in DX will see their roles become more lucrative. That would be you!

If you're in developer experience, now's the time to look for these emerging integrators. Find the ones tackling the coordination challenges in developer experience and recognizing the importance of DX for a competitive edge.


Want to know more about Directual and how we help developers achieve more? Hop into our communities (the links are below) or send us a message at hello@directulal.com and let’s chat!


Is DX better than UX?
Is DX better than UX?

UX is all about slick interfaces, while DX makes life easy for the developers. The development scene is moving from just adding cool features to letting devs lead the way and craft the entire user experience from their perspective.

What is the difference between DX and UX?
What is the difference between DX and UX?

Imagine DX as the backstage area of a concert—it's all about how smoothly the tech crew can set up the show. Basically, it’s about the ability to use, modify, and interact with software. UX here is the front stage, the whole vibe from the audience's view—from the app's look to how fast it loads. They overlap, but DX digs deeper into the tech side.

What’s the reason for the shift to DX?
What’s the reason for the shift to DX?

With everything going online, businesses need devs to connect all the digital dots. They only go to the best ecosystems for that, however, since the demand is incredibly high. Proper tools and environment friendly to developers now decide if the product will ultimately flourish or not.

What’s Directual's take on DX?
What’s Directual's take on DX?

Directual's makes no-code developers an active part of the development roadmap. They're all about community-driven features, quick support, and keeping a direct line open for dev feedback, with AI making things simpler for even newbie devs.

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