At New Relic, we believe it should be easy for DevOps teams to get data in and out of our platform and to integrate it within their team’s existing workflows and processes. Over the past decade, our product portfolio has expanded, and along with it, our platform has become more extensible.

During that time, we’ve seen our customers leverage New Relic to hone their measurements and DevOps workflows in new and exciting ways. For example, one of Canada’s largest retailers wanted to understand the status and efficiency of its order fulfillment process. By instrumenting its point of sale systems with our mobile SDK, and combining this data with information from the order database, the company was able to capture data—in real time—about the most important metric: revenue.

This kind of innovation enables DevOps teams to deliver faster with more confidence. It’s why we provide a rich set of APIs and SDKs that complement our products and enable our customers to extend their use of New Relic. Our customers and partners have come to rely on New Relic’s extensibility to simplify deployment, automation, incident response, and application development.

As we’ve worked with customers to understand how they extend New Relic and tailor our platform, we recognized an opportunity to simplify our APIs and tools. This year at FutureStack18, we’re recommitting ourselves to the journey to provide a fully extensible platform that simplifies access to your data, reduces the effort required to incorporate New Relic into DevOps work streams, and accelerates your ability to deliver new and innovative solutions. In short, our aim is to reduce developer toil.

Our journey is rooted in three principles—openness, simplification, and engagement, with the goal to help you customize your experience so you can overcome your unique challenges. In other words, we want you to “make New Relic your own.”

Openness for projects and standards

We recognize the value that open source projects and open standards add to modern software teams. For a long time, New Relic has leveraged open source software and has contributed to various projects.

We are excited to continue these efforts with the contribution to open source of a new APM agent for Elixir applications. We want to empower New Relic’s developer community to ensure that the agent is maintained for the latest platform releases, tools, and frameworks; in addition, we fully encourage maintainers to customize the metrics the agent collects to meet their unique needs.

Our commitment to openness extends beyond source code. Over the last year we’ve begun working with several industry initiatives, including OpenTracing, a Cloud Native Computing Foundation workgroup, and the Trace Context project from the W3C. These represent key technology areas of DevOps and working within these efforts enables us to advocate for solutions that simplify and streamline how our customers collect and report data about their applications and infrastructure.

Participating in organizations like the CNCF and W3C also gives us the ability to reflect our customers’ voices. We’ll use our thought leadership and experience—representing learnings from the thousands of DevOps teams who use our platform every day—to influence emerging standards and industry groups that help define and shape the DevOps landscape.

Simplification of our APIs

Like many companies, our APIs grew organically with our product offerings. Each team produced APIs that catered to its specific needs. We recognized that in order to foster extensibility in a more programmatic and prescriptive manner for our users, we needed to simplify and unify access to our APIs.

Understanding that we weren’t the only company managing a proliferation of APIs, we looked to the industry to see how others were solving this problem, and found growing support for GraphQL. We started experimenting with GraphQL internally, and found it be a great solution for simplifying access to New Relic data through a uniform mechanism. We’re now using GraphQL to provide simple and consistent access to our data, starting with Cloud Integrations and the New Relic Query Language (NRQL).

By exposing NRQL in our GraphQL API, we’ve given our customers and partners a single place to manage and retrieve data in New Relic. In other words, New Relic’s GraphQL API is the first, best place to query all New Relic data.

This first iteration is just the beginning of our journey with GraphQL. We plan to unify many of our APIs behind this consistent and simple standard.

Engagement with our developers

Usage of our APIs and SDKs by our customers even ourselves—has grown organically. This is a great thing: developers and operations teams have engaged with one another and used our platform to build and extend and their workflows. We love learning about how New Relic customers, such as Zillow, have extended the platform to solve real world problems. However, there’s still too much development happening in siloes.

In an effort to make our key artifacts discoverable, to receive feedback on where we should improve, and to foster communication among developers, we’re launching the New Relic developer program. Think of it as a central inventory for New Relic’s APIs and SDKs, and a directory of existing repos and resources to support developers as they adapt New Relic to meet the unique challenges of their application, infrastructure, and business needs.

Both new and existing customers will find that the New Relic developer program provides them with a forum for discovering, collaborating, and building on top of the New Relic platform. For users becoming familiar with New Relic, the developer program offers a set of common use cases to jumpstart their usage of our APIs and SDKs, helping them get more value out of the platform quicker.

Join us on our journey

We’re thrilled with the engagement that our customers have shown thus far in integrating New Relic into their daily practices and technology. We see this as an extremely positive sign that our platform is a critical component of the DevOps tool chain. As we embark on this journey, these guiding principles of our platform—openness, simplicity, and engagement—are the cornerstones for how we will grow together. We invite you to join us on this journey. It’s going to be a heck of a ride!

Mark Weitzel is the senior director of product management for the platform and ecosystem group at New Relic. View posts by .

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