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Introduction to API documentation: Interview with Scot Marvin

by Tom Johnson on Jun 16, 2014
categories: api-doc podcasts

Intro to API documentation, a podcast with Scot Marvin

Listen here:

In this podcast, I talk with Scot Marvin, an API technical writer based in Oregon, about some introductory topics with API documentation. Topics covered in the podcast include the following:

  • The prevalence of APIs 15 years ago compared to today
  • The definition of an API
  • What technical writers are responsible to document with APIs
  • Where technical writers get information about the requests, parameters, and other technical details with APIs
  • Whether technical writers get info from the API code or from other sources, such as specs
  • The difference between reading versus writing code
  • Documentation beyond the reference API that tech writers create
  • The difference between an SDK and API
  • Some paths people take that lead them to doing API documentation
  • Whether tech writers are at a disadvantage without a dev background when creating API doc
  • What format the response of an API usually delivered in (JSON, XML)
  • How a REST API differs from a Java API
  • How does SOAP differ from REST
  • Examples of some good sample API doc sites, and why
  • The amount of continual study and learning needed to thrive in API doc space

For more information about Scott, see his Twitter handle scotmarvin or his website

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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.