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The New Janrain Developer Portal: A Brief History and Update

By Ian Smith | Posted on February 27, 2014

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The Early Days

When we launched the industry’s first social login solution in 2008, there were scraps of product documentation scattered throughout the cloud. Documentation was accessible from within the Janrain Dashboard, but was not easily visible to developers seeking to learn more about the technology behind Janrain.

Our first dedicated documentation site was built with Google Sites. It collected everything in a central location and added an actual navigation structure.

Once the content was under control, a plan for a central Documentation Portal was born!

Developer Portal 1.0

The first generation of our Developer Portal was a cross-team effort and involved the hard work of our documentation, product, engineering, user experience, and customer success teams. Our initial list of requirements included researching and selecting a new content management system (we landed on WordPress), a unified experience across the main Janrain website and the Janrain Dashboard, and a new navigation structure that centered around the core components of our technology – APIs and user interface layers . Our launch was successful and represented a major shift in the external accessibility of our product documentation.

The first generation of our developer portal served us well and represented a big step forward, but based on feedback from some of our great customers, it became clear late last year that we could take it to another level (and who isn’t always thinking about how to improve something the second it’s been released?). Some of the UI was too dark, the code samples were too hard to read – but most importantly – we wanted to make it even easier for our customers to access the right content, when they need it.

Developer Portal 2.0

Thus, a plan was hatched for the next generation of our developer portal. We held a two-day Doc-a-thon, inviting team members from across the entire company to contribute. People in nearly every department of Janrain sat down in a room and developed a vision.

From this summit, we generated requirements for the new developer portal, and we’re happy to announce the launch of the new site. Here is an overview of what’s new:

Streamlined Navigation

We’ve made quick-start guides, documentation, API references and code samples much easier to find. Documentation is grouped by product capability, so if you are only looking for information about social login, or mobile, you will find it all in one place.

When you first navigate to the site, the Overview section should be your starting point to familiarize yourself with the capabilities of the Janrain platform. The How To section provides step-by-step instructions to implement Janrain solutions, and the Reference section is your portal for advanced customizations, code samples and more. Lastly, the RESTful API section provides comprehensive documentation for each of our APIs, including how to make calls, and the ability to view example responses.


Simplified Content

Documentation has been simplified to make it easier to get the exact information you need, when you need it. You will find how-to guides that walk you through the process of creating your Janrain application, implementing Janrain within your site or app, and modifying settings and features.

Interactive Tools

We’ve added new interactive demo consoles and tools to help you make API calls, run queries and view responses in real time. You can access the demo console directly via any API documentation page:



This launch is just the beginning. We have many additional improvements planned, so stay tuned!

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About the author

Ian Smith

Ian Smith

Technical Writer

Arranger of text, technical and otherwise, residing in Portland, OR.

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