At HelloSign we have a tradition of showcasing the improvements we made to our API over the past twelve months. It’s a great way to recognize the collective value that’s been delivered to our partners and developers. We also use this as a time to reflect on the new platforms and use-cases that we’re now able to help power, as well as talk about the places where we may still be able to improve. It gives us a great opportunity to look for new trends that may be surfacing and ensure our overall product strategy continues to be in alignment with what the marketplace is looking for.
While we made investments in a number of different areas, two themes seemed to emerge: “flexibility” and improved support for “advanced workflows.”
More and more developers want to leverage our workflow tools in a broader range of environments and with a wider degree of options. They want to remove restrictions that don’t seem necessary so that the API’s behavior can be as natural as possible within the confines of whatever system they happen to be working within. We spent a fair amount of time making strides in these areas to meet developers where they are. We also gave our developers the tools to save their end-users from tedious repetitive processes and avoid reinventing the wheel wherever possible.
We also made strides in areas such as our documentation, our API dashboard, scaling up our API support, and improving on our library of developer SDKs. We recognize that the initial discovery experience for an integration can be significantly improved by those four supporting pieces, and even after an integration has gone live, ongoing troubleshooting and maintenance is something that’s much improved by their presence.
It’s been a great year for our development team, and it’s an honor to share our API enhancements for you.
So without further adieu – here are the main highlights of 2017 (and early 2018) from the developers behind the award winning HelloSign API:
Remove or allow “insert everywhere” option. The option to insert a signature in every field can be convenient for the signer, but sometimes the requester prefers it if they manually enter a signature into each signature box. It can be more time consuming, but gives the requester more peace of mind that each signature section is visited and hopefully ensures the document text is read more thoroughly.
Variable Signers in Templates. We heard a lot that you don’t always know in advance how many people will need to sign a template when it’s sent out for signature. So now roles created in a template can be considered “optional” when used via the API What if you don’t pass data for a particular role? We’ll just leave those signer components off – easy.
Allow POST requests to accept JSON content-types. Depending on the platform in which your API request is originating, you may be stuck sending data as JSON in the body rather than multi-part form data. Being able to support both options goes a long way towards bringing easier eSignature integrations to a wider audience of potential platforms and developers.
Change the underlying document of a template: Prior to this change, if one little section of a PDF changed that was linked to a HelloSign template, you’d have to recreate the whole thing by laying down all of your signer components and merge fields. Now, all it takes is a simple API call to swap out the underlying PDF and maintain the components already present (which can then also be adjusted if necessary).
Mix templates and one-off documents. Now, when you send a template, we give you the ability to include a single document as well which will be included at the end of the templated pages. We’ll even look through the individual document for text-tags so you can have signer components present!
Edit the cc’s and Merge Fields of an embedded template. Now we allow you to modify the roles and merge fields of an embedded template, rather then having to create an entirely new one from scratch.
Signer Reassignment. Occasionally the person you send a signature request to isn’t the right person to actually sign the document. Now, instead of having you cancel and resend the request to a different signatory, you can allow your signers to reassign the request for you. This new ability can be enabled on a per-request basis and has the potential to save everybody time all around.
Text-tags improvements: Group Checkboxes. Our text-tags are a powerful way of generating documents with signer components dynamically and now there’s a new type of component you can include with this API workflow: Grouped checkboxes which are a way of requiring a certain subset of the checkboxes to actually be toggled by the signer.
Text-tags improvements: Pass default values. In addition to now supplying the location of text fields with text-tags, you can also include the value that should go along with those fields when the signer signs. This makes these tags just as powerful as our merge fields in templates, but even more flexible because they can be added programmatically from a separate document generation system.
eSign disclosures. For our API customers who are sending documents to consumers they now have the ability to offer “consumer eSign disclosures.” This feature fulfills all the standard requirements of the eSign act of 2000 by notifying the consumer of their rights and responsibility regarding doing business electronically.
Developer Experience Improvements
List Signature Requests by the originating Template. Our query list endpoint is very powerful and allows you to search by a variety of fields. But we never had the ability to simply list the signature requests which all originated from a certain template GUID –until now! This very common use case of our customers is a prime example of how feedback we received directly led to a tangible improvement in our API.
File Downloadable Callback. This callback lets you build your workflows in a more seamless and time-sensitive way. The moment the file is ready to be downloaded and used for the next stage in your processing pipeline, you’ll know as soon as possible.
White labeling the audit trail. For our customers using us for white labeling, we’re happy to say that the experience can be made even more complete now. In addition to having the signer page be fully white labeled with custom colors and branding, the audit trail which accompanies every signature request can now also support being white-labeled. It only requires a small configuration added to your account. Please contact your account rep for details.
New languages supported: Portuguese and German. We added two new signer page supported languages for our friends in far-off countries – Brazilian Portuguese and German.
Our End Goal: Constant Improvement
2017 was a great year, but we think we can be even better when we look out into 2018. Our goal continues to be to provide an API which is the fastest to integrate, most flexible, and most powerful on the market – not to mention maintaining our stellar record on performance, reliability, and security. It’s a tough challenge but we’re up to the task. Stay tuned for more great things yet to come from HelloSign!