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

by Tom Johnson on Dec 22, 2014 •
categories: api-doc podcasts

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 / API doc specialist based in the Seattle area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.