Survival strategies for API documentation -- slides and recording
I'm gave a webinar to the Southern Ontario STC on Monday, Feb 2. This post contains the slides and recording.
Survival strategies for API documentation
If you're documenting an API for the first time, you may be in survival mode just trying to decipher the code, unravel developer speak, and publish a coherent set of documentation. API documentation is a new landscape for most technical writers.
Traditional platform APIs are often published through a document generator such as Javadoc or Doxygen, while REST or web APIs are published using everything from document generators that parse Swagger and RAML specs to custom toolsets to manually-formatted web pages either from static site generators (such as Nanoc) or homegrown sites.
The reference documentation is actually the easy part. The real difficulty, and most likely the one you'll be tasked with, is showing developers how to use the API, the way the various endpoints or classes work together, and how you can piece it all together with the right parameters to achieve an actual business goal.
In this presentation, I'll give you an introduction to API documentation, try to answer your questions, and give you tips for getting started in the right direction.
For more details, see the STC Ontario site.
Download MP3 (right-click and select Save As)
The presentation is similar to the one I gave at TC Camp, which I recorded and made available here. However, this presentation is more compressed, lasting just one hour instead of two.
About 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.