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Added native library API section to API doc course

by Tom Johnson on Sep 26, 2015
categories: api-doc

I added a section to my API documentation course on native library API documentation. For technical writers, this is one of the most difficult areas to excel in without a programming background.

I added a section to my API documentation course on native library APIs. Check it out and let me know what you think.

By the way, I’m never quite sure what to call these kinds of APIs, but it seems that “native libraries” is better than either platform APIs, library APIs, or class-based APIs for the following reason:

“Platform APIs” gets confused with API platforms that actually have APIs for managing your content on the platform. “Library APIs” gets confused with APIs focused literally on libraries and library sciences. And “class-based APIs” is too narrowly focused on the C programming language family.

Admittedly, I have the least experience with native library API documentation, so writing out this course material is in some ways helpful to me.

At my current job, there was a lot of documentation debt when I arrived. My focus on the native library APIs has been mainly on how to deploy, configure, and call the API instead of the class reference documentation. There are a lot of classes in the API used by a small fraction of users who have yet to complain about the existing engineering-written doc, so it’s never been a huge priority to dig into.

Additionally, the lead engineer is surprisingly articulate and precise with words (despite his grumpy demeanor). Still, this doc is on my to-do list, and someday I’m going to overhaul it all.

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.

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