At DocuSign we are very thankful and proud of our development community. Hundreds of new developers join our developer program every month and a lot of them come up with fantastic solutions and integrations. Here is a brief Q&A session with an application developer from Bolstr – Jon Kinney Chief Technology Officer.
Can you tell us about your development experience with DocuSign? I.e – DS Platfrom/API, Dev tools, Dev Community
When we first started looking at DocuSign I noticed the API was historically SOAP based, but that a new JSON API had just been released. The Ruby community has definitely taken to JSON so I was excited to see if there were any Ruby gems that could help integrate our Rails application with the DocuSign JSON API. However, since the JSON API was so new, no gems were available yet. I didn't know if I'd need a full-on gem so I started writing an implementation in Ruby using NET::HTTP which built up a string of JSON with the necessary headers and parameters and posted it to the test servers at DocuSign. This worked for my simple test, but I knew if I didn't extract out some functionality I'd end up with a lot of repetitive and hard to maintain code. That's when I decided to create the docusign_rest gem http://github.com/j2fly/docusign_rest that wraps the JSON API and exposes some of the more common workflows as simple Ruby methods.
The DocuSign development experience was great. There is good documentation and tools to explore the API like http://iodocs.docusign.com/ and http://www.docusign.com/p/RESTAPIGuide/RESTAPIGuide.htm. When I found myself stuck, DocuSign's support staff quickly respond and happily hopped on a phone call to help.
By choosing to work with DocuSign what problems was Bolstr able to solve and how has it impacted your customers?
There is fair amount of legal documentation associated with raising capital and by leveraging DocuSign we have been able to create a quick and seamless eSignature solution without having to create it from scratch ourselves. For example, one embedded signer workflow in bolstr.com that enables entrepreneurs to engage an attorney from our affiliate network quickly and easily allows the entrepreneur to publish a fundraising campaign with minimal cost and effort. Attorneys love it because they get new clients more quickly, and entrepreneurs love it because they can evaluate several law firms' engagement letters before settling on the right one.
In your free time what would someone most likely find you doing?
In the summer, my wife and I love to hang out on our boat. We ski, tube, snack and lay back to soak up the summer in northeastern Wisconsin. In the winter I play in an adult hockey league and enjoy snowboarding.
What made you choose to work at Bolstr?
I wanted a chance to code on a meaningful product for the long haul and really enjoyed the idea of helping build a company from the ground up. After having the opportunity to work with the co-founders of Bolstr through my previous consulting firm where we built the foundation for bolstr.com, I knew the three of us could work together to help change and improve the way that small businesses are funded.
What is the best part of working for Bolstr?
We are a distributed company who largely work from home. I also worked at home for two years prior to joining Bolstr and I really couldn't imagine working in any other way. I have a daughter on the way and my ability to set my own schedule and work early or late definitely improves my overall quality of life and allows me to optimize my time with my family.
From a technical perspective, I get to work on the full life cycle of one application and I love that. I've been developing Ruby on Rails apps since 2006, but I've already gotten to dig deeper into the stack since working at Bolstr than I otherwise would be able to at a consulting firm.
Finally I think we have great team chemistry and it's what motivates me to work harder than I ever have before in my life. It's important to love what you do and like who you work with – and I'm happy to say Bolstr wins on both fronts.
We have to ask if you could have any super power what would it be?
I'd love to be able to fly, but even that would seem slow after a while… so how about the ability to teleport!