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Lessons learned as a novice API technical writer -- Interview with Mary Linderman (podcast)

by Tom Johnson on Jun 8, 2014
categories: api-doc podcasts

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Lessons learned as a novice API technical writer, a podcast with Mary Linderman

In this podcast, I talk with Mary Linderman, a technical writer in Chicago who has been doing API documentation for the past couple of years, about her experiences in the API documentation space. Mary recently wrote an article called "Lessons learned from a novice API writer" for an upcoming issue of STC Intercom that I'm editing, and I wanted to record a podcast with her to capture some of her thoughts.

In this podcast, we cover the following:

  • How to get involved in doing API documentation
  • Background needed to do API documentation
  • The need to play with an API in order to learn it
  • Generating documentation from source code comments in Sandcastle
  • How to build rapport with engineers when writing API documentation
  • The importance of understanding programming terms and concepts
  • Getting trust from engineers to write directly in engineering source code
  • Managing and publishing other developer documentation outside of API reference material
  • Distinguishing good code samples from bad ones when engineers give you code
  • Continuing learning to keep up on programming knowledge

If you'd like to contact Mary, you can email her at linderman.mary at

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About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm an API technical writer based in the Seattle area. On this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, AI, information architecture, content strategy, writing processes, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out my API documentation course if you're looking for more info about documenting APIs. Or see my posts on AI and AI course section for more on the latest in AI and tech comm.

If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the tech comm, be sure to subscribe to email updates below. You can also learn more about me or contact me. Finally, note that the opinions I express on my blog are my own points of view, not that of my employer.