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Learning how developers think, and other API doc insights: Podcast with Joe Malin

Dec 22, 2014 • api-doc, podcasts

Length: 45 min.

Download MP3 (right-click and select Save As)

In this podcast, I talk with Joe Malin about a variety of topics within API documentation, including how developers think, best practices, and more. Joe is a former software engineer who turned to technical writing many years ago. He has worked at a variety of companies in API documentation roles, including 7 years at Google.

Here are a few of the topics we cover in the podcast:

  • Why Joe turned from software programming to writing
  • What kind of API documentation he is currently working on
  • Best practices for API documentation
  • The brilliance of REST APIs as a means of interchanging information
  • Whether REST API doc is easier than platform-API doc
  • How much programming a person needs to know to do API documentation, particularly Javadoc
  • How developers think, and other insights gained from learning programming
  • Benefits of using Github and other source control repositories to share documentation
  • His response to someone who says, "Well if I could write code, I would be a programmer instead of a technical writer."
  • Contributions tech writers can make with code samples, including style guides for code
  • Applications for visual communication with code

You can learn more about Joe Malin by visiting his Linkedin profile. To ask questions about API documentation, see the API Documentation group on Linkedin.

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About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical communication — Swagger, agile, trends, learning, plain language, quick reference guides, tech comm careers, academics, and more. I'm interested in simplifying complexity, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture and findability, and more. If you're a technical writer of any kind (progressional, transitioning, student), be sure to subscribe to email updates using the form above. You can learn more about me here. You can also contact me with questions.